Nationals 14, Giants 2
Gio Gonzalez makes friends easily, and he showed why on Monday night after the Washington Nationals' blowout victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Before he discussed anything he did on the mound, Gonzalez took time to acknowledge the run support his teammates gave him.
Kurt Suzuki drove in four runs, Danny Espinosa and Roger Bernadina each knocked in three, and the Nationals routed the Giants 14-2 in a matchup of NL division leaders.
''Most importantly they came up big and gave me something to work with,'' Gonzalez said. ''My thought from the get-go was just to maintain, especially with the pitcher they had today. He's not an easy guy to go out there and get a couple of runs off of, and right off the bat these guys are swinging the bat. Can't complain with some runs.''
Gonzalez (15-6) tied a Nationals record for wins in a season, boosted by Washington's highest-scoring game of the season.
''I just tried to pound the strike zone,'' Gonzalez said. ''Last inning started wearing on me a little bit, but that's why you have a great bullpen, to clean up my mess.''
The Nationals led 14-0 in the fifth inning and won for the 11th time in 13 games. They are 7-1 on this road trip.
''The boys are in a good mood,'' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. ''Just like the skipper. It was fun to watch the offense. We beat up on a pretty good pitcher.''
NL ERA leader Ryan Vogelsong (10-6) allowed eight runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.
Pinch hitter Brandon Crawford homered and drove in both runs for the Giants, who have lost three of five. San Francisco dropped into a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead.
''There's not a whole lot to say,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''What could go wrong went wrong and they made some pretty good contact. They placed the ball well and we couldn't stop it.''
Gonzalez returned to the Bay Area for the first time since the Oakland Athletics traded him to the Nationals during the offseason. He won his second straight after going 1-3 in his five previous starts.
Gonzalez gave up two runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings.
Every Nationals position player, with the exception of late-inning replacement Cesar Izturis, either scored a run, drove in a run or got a hit. Bernadina had four of Washington's 21 hits, and Steve Lombardozzi, Ryan Zimmerman, Espinosa and Suzuki each had three. Suzuki's three-run double capped a seven-run third that made it 8-0.
''You play the game the right way and you get rewarded for it,'' Zimmerman said. ''We just got some big hits and that was it.''
The 21 hits were most by a visiting team at AT&T Park.
Vogelsong ended up with the fourth-best ERA in the NL. Of the 19 batters he faced, 11 reached base. He hadn't pitched fewer than six innings in any of his previous starts this season, and hadn't allowed more than two runs in his 11 previous home starts.
''Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way, it's part of the game,'' Vogelsong said. ''I felt like I made the pitches I wanted to make with the exception of the fastball to Suzuki. That's the only ball I left over the middle of the plate.''
Washington has won 13 of 14 road games and owns the best road winning percentage in the majors. The Nationals have scored a major-league best 170 runs since the All-Star break. The Giants are second with 153. The Nationals have outscored San Francisco 38-14 in four games, all wins, this season.
NOTES: Giants INF Pablo Sandoval (hamstring strain) was activated from the DL. IF Brett Pill was optioned to Triple-A. ... OF Jayson Werth was a late scratch for the Nationals because of an ankle injury. He will undergo an MRI on Tuesday. ... LHP Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 3.08) pitches for the Giants on Tuesday night. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-6, 2.35) goes for the Nationals. He has eight wins against the NL West and seven against the NL East. He took over the NL lead in ERA. ... Michael Morse, who left early with a swollen thumb, extended his hitting streak to 11 games for the Nationals. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy was ejected in the top of the second by first base umpire Jerry Layne. ... The Nationals were 10 of 20 with runners in scoring position.