Nationals shut down after 2 big wins over White Sox
CHICAGO (AP) The Washington Nationals' scoring surge was halted by an unlikely opponent.
Melky Cabrera doubled twice and drove in two runs, Miguel Gonzalez pitched six strong innings after securing a rotation spot and the Chicago White Sox held off the Nationals 3-1 on Thursday night to snap a five-game skid.
Gonzalez (1-1) won his first game with Chicago after losing seven straight decisions dating to last season with Baltimore. The right-hander retired the first 12 batters he faced, giving up three hits and a run.
Washington had scored 31 runs in its last three games, including 10-5 and 11-4 victories in the first two contests against sputtering Chicago. Daniel Murphy homered in the fifth, but the Natonals' three-game winning streak was snapped as they finished a road trip at 6-3.
''We hit some balls hard,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''We just didn't have much to show for it. We had good at-bats.''
The Nationals had a chance to pull even in the ninth. After Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper singled with two outs, Murphy lined a pitch off Chicago closer David Robertson to the gap in left center, but Cabrera caught up to it.
Murphy thought the ball had a chance to fall.
''I hoped it did,'' Murphy said. ''And then when I saw Melky go after it, I wanted him to fall.
''He made a really nice play on it. I didn't hit it as hard as I wanted to.''
Robertson earned hit 14th save in 16 tries.
The White Sox gave Gonzalez the No. 5 starting spot after designating Mat Latos for assignment before the game.
''They've given me the opportunity to start games and I'm happy,'' Gonzalez said.
Brett Lawrie added an RBI double in a three-run first off Gio Gonzalez (3-5), who struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings.
''The switch was turned back on and I felt good after that,'' Gio Gonzalez said. ''All three pitches felt great, arm feel amazing. I feel strong. Again, it was just too late.''
Gio Gonzalez walked two straight in the first before allowing two-out doubles on consecutive pitches to Cabrera and Lawrie. The Washington lefty then retired 11 straight. He gave up five hits in seven innings.
Filling in for injured Carlos Rodon in the rotation, Miguel Gonzalez shined on a busy day.
Looking for answers to a 6-20 stretch that saw them go from six games up in the AL Central to fourth place, the White Sox cut the struggling Latos and signed veteran lefty hitter Justin Morneau. The former AL MVP won't be ready to play until after the All-Star break due to offseason elbow surgery.
Gonzalez had great movement on his fastball early, striking out five through four innings, until Murphy's shot to right made it 3-1.
Nationals: OF Ben Revere and C Wilson Ramos had scheduled days off.
White Sox: Morneau, the 2014 NL batting champion, said his left elbow hurt every time he swung last season in Colorado. ''It feels good now,'' Morneau said. ''I think that's part of the reason I wanted to come back.'' . Rodon (neck) could start Sunday against Kansas City.
Chicago GM Rick Hahn was asked about Ventura's job status.
''I don't think you've ever see me telegraph any move or comment on any individual player, or anybody in uniform,'' Hahn said.
Ventura shook off a similar question.
''You guys have been asking that all year, so that part hasn't changed,'' he said.
Nationals: Carter Kieboom, a high school SS from Marietta, Georgia, was taken with the 28th pick and RHP Dane Dunning of Florida went 29th.
White Sox: C Zack Collins of Miami was selected with the 10th pick and RHP Zach Burdi of Louisville went 26th.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (9-0, 2.85 ERA) seeks to win his 13th straight decision Friday night to kick off a six-game homestand against Philadelphia and RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.80).
White Sox: RHP Chris Sale (9-2, 2.54), who hasn't won since May 19, faces Kansas City RHP Ian Kennedy (4-4, 3.44). The Royals bring a seven-game losing streak to Chicago.