Nationals' Gonzalez gets third straight win

David Driver, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez went through a stretch of four starts in a row when he allowed just six runs but came away with a no-decision each time through June 19.
But now the Nationals are starting to hit, and the outgoing lefty was the benefit of that Friday, as Washington had 10 hits in an 8-5 win over the San Diego Padres.
"I have never lost faith in these guys," said Gonzalez, who won his third start in a row.
Gonzalez (6-3) allowed three runs and was lifted with two outs and a runner on in the seventh in favor of Craig Stammen, who gave up a three-run homer to Carlos Quentin to make the score 8-5 before getting out of the inning.
Gonzalez was hit in the chest by a pitch from San Diego starter Andrew Cashner after he failed to put down a bunt in the second.
"Iron Man chest, you can't damage that," said Gonzalez, with a grin. "It was one of those things you laugh about. He didn't do it on purpose. I let the hitters do the talking, not me. It didn't look good in the beginning." It didn't look good as four of the first seven San Diego batters had hits.
Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos had RBI singles in the second and the third after he had five RBIs Thursday in his return from the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Jayson Werth had three hits and has reached base in seven of his last eight at bats after dropping to the No. 6 spot.
"I like the way the lineup is swinging the bat," said Davey Johnson, the Washington manager. "That is what I have been looking for."
About the only person not hitting is Bryce Harper, who came off the disabled list Monday. He was hitless in four at bats and is now hitting .260. Johnson said after the game he plans to give Harper Saturday and Sunday off.
Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano (23rd save) got the last six outs for the Nationals (44-42), who have not been three games over .500 since May 18. San Diego (40-47) lost its seventh straight as Cashner (5-4) took the loss. Chris Denorfia had three hits for San Diego in the No. 2 hole, with two doubles, for a team that has struggled at the plate on this road trip.
"It's a good sign," Denorfia said. "Our pitching has been keeping us in games for two weeks now when we've been losing. We can't expect that every single night. Just on the offensive side of it I think some guys kinda woke up a little bit tonight, myself included. We just need to score more than two runs a game, that's the bottom line."
Washington already led 6-2 before Adam LaRoche had an RBI single and Werth had an RBI groundout in the fourth to give the Nationals an 8-2 advantage.
Ramos had an RBI single in the third to give Washington a 6-2 lead.
The Nationals scored five runs in the second to make it 5-1 against Cashner.
Ramos had a two-run single, Denard Span smashed a two-run double, and Harper hit a long sacrifice fly.
San Diego had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Chase Headley. Headley made it 5-2 with a solo homer in the third. Cashner yielded six runs.
NOTES: SS Everth Cabrera was activated from the 15-day disabled list and was in the starting lineup as the leadoff hitter. "I am really excited to be back," said Cabrera, who leads the National League with 31 steals. To make room, RHP Burch Smith was sent to Triple-A Tucson. ... RHP Tim Stauffer, a star at the University of Richmond, will have several family members in for the weekend series. He said he plans to leave 10 tickets for the Saturday game. His grandparents live in Annapolis, Md., and he visited them before the game. ... Washington C Ramos had five RBIs, including a three-run homer, in an 8-5 win Thursday over the Brewers. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first person to get five RBIs in his first game back after seven-plus weeks on the DL since Nelson Cruz in 2007 ... RHP Ryan Mattheus threw off the mound for the first time since going on the DL on May 22 with a hand injury, according to Washington manager Johnson ... Every Washington starter but Harper got on base by the end of the fourth.

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