It was more of a question of where. Paying homage to Wee Willie Keeler, who said "hit 'em where they ain't" more than 100 years ago, the Marlins bludgeoned Gonzalez and his defenseless defenders for the first six innings.
But two long blasts by the Nationals overcame those tiny Marlins hits, as Stephen Drew hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the sixth to tie the game at 2, Bryce Harper crushed a two-run shot in the seventh to make it 4-2 and Chris Heisey hit another pinch-hit homer, a solo shot in the eighth, as the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 5-3.
"I was just trying to get something to drive," Drew said of his homer off Bryan Morris. "I got into something I consider a hitter's count, at 2-1, and got the pitch I wanted and put a good swing on it."
Drew was rarely used as a reserve until he came to Washington this year. He has picked up pointers from Clint Robinson and Heisey, who has three pinch-hit homers this year and 14 in his career.
"What they are doing is incredible," Gonzalez said of the bench.
Friday was the first time the Nationals ever hit two pinch-hit homers in the same game.
"I just get feedback from them," Drew said of Heisey and Robinson. "We have a good bench. It is fun to watch. I stay loose and be ready. It is good feeling tonight. Bryce comes up and does what he does best."
The save went to Jonathan Papelbon, who got the last two outs of the ninth and is now 10th all-time in saves with 359.
"Pap is a team player," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said of Papelbon coming in with one out in the ninth.
Early on it looked like the Nationals were sleepwalking after an off day Thursday and the glow of Wednesday's historic 20-strikeout performance by Max Scherzer.
The Marlins scored two runs in the fourth on a pair of infield singles, two walks by Gonzalez and two errors by second baseman Daniel Murphy.
"I will look past that," Gonzalez said of the fielding woes.
Then in the fifth Miami loaded the bases on three straight singles to start the inning -- a solid shot by Giancarlo Stanton, a bloop over the head of the perplexed Murphy and an infield single that just eluded the reach of Gonzalez and was smothered by Murphy.
That was the end of the night for Gonzalez, whose gaze in the dugout was one of disbelief as Yusmeiro Petit came on to strike out Adeiny Hechavarria for the first out. Baker then called on left Oliver Perez to face left-handed pinch-hitter Derek Dietrich, who grounded into a double play started by Murphy to end the inning.
"We had a good chance to score," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. "The momentum changed."
That was the turning point, as the Nationals bats awoke in their last three at-bats.
Harper, who entered the game with an on-base average of .441, walked his first two times to the plate and then singled in his third trip. Losing pitcher Kyle Barraclough (2-1) got ahead of him 0-2 but Harper smashed a slider into the right field seats.
"It didn't work out," Mattingly said of the Harper homer.
It was the 11th homer of the year for Harper, who was ejected in the ninth inning on Tuesday and is waiting his appeal of a one-game suspension from Major League Baseball.
Morris took over for starter Tom Koehler, who gave up one run and six hits with five walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
"I was concerned about him going back out for the sixth," Mattingly said of Koehler.
The winning pitcher was Blake Treinen (3-1), who came on in the seventh. He gave up an RBI groundout in the eighth to Chris Johnson to make it 4-3 before retiring the side.
Felipe Rivero got the first out in the ninth and Papelbon got the last two for his 10th save.
Gonzalez allowed six hits and two unearned runs in five innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Giancarlo Stanton and J.T. Realmuto had two hits for the Marlins. Washington (22-13) improved to 11-5 at home while the Marlins (18-16) slipped to 10-6 on the road.
"I just closed my eyes," Gonzalez said of his double in the second that almost drove in the first run. But the Nationals home run bats came to life later on.
NOTES: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler entered the game having allowed six career homers in 28 at-bats to Washington RF Bryce Harper. ... LHP Gio Gonzalez started for Washington on Friday against the Marlins, who entered the game 5-0 against left-handed starters this year. ... Washington 2B Daniel Murphy, after three hits in his last game Wednesday, entered Friday with a major-league-leading batting average of .409 and 18 multi-hit games this year, also the best mark in the majors. ... OF Victor Robles, a top Nationals prospect, was hitting .345 with an OPS of .927 through Thursday for the low Class A Hagerstown (Md.) Suns of the South Atlantic League. ... With his 20-strikeout, 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, Washington RHP Max Scherzer and RHP John Lackey of the Chicago Cubs are the only active pitchers to beat all 30 teams.