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Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez records 100th victory

By
David Driver, The Sports Xchange
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47). Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47). Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- This has been a memorable year on and off the field for Gio Gonzalez, a veteran left-handed pitcher.

He became a father for the first time during spring training then began his fifth year in a row as a durable member of the starting rotation for Washington.

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Despite some uneven performances, Gonzalez gave up just two runs and four hits in six innings Friday as the Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 8-5 for the 100th win in the career of the Florida native. It was a night of milestones for the Nationals as Daniel Murphy picked up his 500th career RBI with a solo homer.

So what does the win mean to Gonzalez?

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"It means congratulations to Daniel Murphy for getting his career 500th RBI. I am glad I can share the same special night with him," Gonzalez said. "Big congratulations to (catchers) Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton. These guys have been the guys who have been steering me in the right direction and helping me get this personal milestone. I will enjoy it tonight."

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Gonzalez, who broke into the majors in 2008 with the Oakland A's, has not lost at home since July 5. He was greeted by family and friends with three balloons that spelled out "100" outside of the Washington clubhouse after the game.

"I am just glad it is done with," Gonzalez said.

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Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper each had two hits and two RBIs for the Nationals.

Gonzalez (9-9) was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the last of the sixth. The Miami-area product, now 100-75 in his career, gave up just one walk with five strikeouts and threw 85 pitches.

"You're going to get a tough outing from Gio. It's going to be tough to put together big innings against him. He knows what he's doing out there," said Walt Weiss, the Rockies manager.

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Rookie right-hander Koda Glover took over in the seventh and retired all three batters, including the first two via strikeouts.

Werth had an RBI double in the seventh to make it 5-2 as he drove in speedy Trea Turner, who had two hits to give him 12 in the last four games.

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"There is no substitute for speed," said Dusty Baker, the Washington manager.

Harper had a two-run triple later in the inning off Matt Carasiti to make it 7-2. The lead became 8-2 when Anthony Rendon scored Harper with a sacrifice fly.

The losing pitcher was Jeff Hoffman (0-2), who has now lost to the Chicago Cubs and Nationals in his first two big league starts in the past week. Hoffman yielded four runs (three earned) in six innings.

"I thought there was some positives from Hoffman," said Weiss. "He gave up some runs early and really fought to get through six. Putting down that sixth inning I think was a nice step for him. He's got a good arm. I like what I see from him the second time out here. He's got plenty of weapons. These are growth experiences here."

Nick Hundley had three hits for the Rockies, who won two of three over Washington in Denver earlier this month. His three-run homer in the ninth cut the lead to 8-5 off Shawn Kelley, and Mark Melancon got the last out.

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Murphy drove in two runs and scored twice for Washington.

Ryan Raburn had two hits for the Rockies in as many at-bats before David Dahl took over in left.

The first-place Nationals (75-53) began the day eight games ahead of the Miami Marlins in the National League East. Colorado (60-68) lost its fourth in a row.

Werth hit his second solo homer in two days as he gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the first.

The Rockies tied the game at 1 in the second as Daniel Descalso had a sacrifice fly to drive in Raburn.

Washington took a 2-1 lead in the third as Turner reached on infield single and advanced to third on a pair of errors. Murphy then had an RBI groundout to drive in Turner.

"He is kind of making us go right now," Werth of the Nationals said of Turner.

Hundley had an RBI double off Gonzalez in the fourth to tie the game at 2.

The Nationals took a 3-2 lead in the fourth as Rendon scored on a double-play grounder off the bat of Lobaton.

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Murphy hit his 25th homer of the year on a 3-2 pitch from Hoffman in the fifth. The solo homer made it 4-2 and gave Murphy 500 RBIs in his career.

Rockies first baseman Stephen Cardullo, who played in several independent leagues, flew out to center in his first MLB at-bat in the top of the first.

Lobaton, normally a backup, made his second straight start at catcher as regular Ramos got another night off. "Lobaton did a great job the last two days," said Baker. "He did a great job of calling the game."

NOTES: The Rockies called up INF/OF Stephen Cardullo from Triple-A Albuquerque to make his big league debut. They also sent INF Ben Paulsen to Triple-A and transferred RHP Scott Oberg to the 60-day disabled list. Paulsen is hitting .217 in 92 at-bats, while Oberg is 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in three stints with the Rockies this year. ... Washington RHP A.J. Cole (0-1, 5.14) will face Rockies RHP Jorge De La Rosa (8-7, 5.07) on Saturday in the second game of the series. ... Colorado RHP Jeff Hoffman, the starter on Friday, gave up seven runs on Aug. 20 to the Chicago Cubs in his first major league start. ... Nationals RHP Matt Belisle pitched for the Rockies from 2009-14 and won 10 games out of the bullpen in 74 outings in 2011 for Colorado. ... Former Washington Senators OF Frank Howard was recognized before the game as he was inducted into the Ring of Honor at Nationals Park. He hit 382 homers in his career.

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