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Gio Gonzalez solid in Washington Nationals' victory over Los Angeles Dodgers

By
Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange
Gio Gonzalez is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers. Photo courtesy Washington Nationals/Twitter
Gio Gonzalez is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers. Photo courtesy Washington Nationals/Twitter

LOS ANGELES -- Despite delivering another solid performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez had no explanation for his head-to-head success.

"Maybe it's the weather. It's beautiful here," Gonzalez said when asked why he consistently pitches so well against the Dodgers. "Most of the credit I got to give to our offense and defense. These guys do a great job for me. I can't take any credit for that."

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Anthony Rendon homered, and the Nationals earned a 4-2 victory over the Dodgers on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Matt Wieters hit a two-run single for the Nationals (36-20), who improved to 6-1 on their current nine-game road swing.

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Gonzalez (5-1) allowed two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks in six innings. Gonzalez, who threw 107 pitches, 63 strikes, is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers.

"Today, the equalizer for me was the curveball," said Gonzalez, who has held Los Angeles hitters to a .179 average in his career. "I needed to throw that pitch and landed it when I needed it, too. The changeup evolved with it. So it was a lot of attacking the strike zone and being aggressive in the strike zone and trying to minimize as (many) walks as possible."

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Washington reliever Enny Romero fanned four in two scoreless innings. Matt Albers got the first two outs in the ninth before Oliver Perez retired Yasmani Grandal for his first save of the year.

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It was only the third save in 15 major league seasons for Perez, who hasn't recorded one since July 5, 2013, when he was a member of the Seattle Mariners.

"First, Gio gave us a chance to use our bullpen," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "He threw an outstanding game. Then Enny came on and did a great job. They had all those dangerous lefties on the bench, and we tried to keep them on the bench. We weren't completely successful, but we kept (Dodgers slugger Adrian) Gonzalez on the bench.

"And then Albers came on and got two quick outs, and then Perez got Grandal. They did a great job."

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The Nationals held a 4-0 lead before the Dodgers (35-24) scored twice in the sixth inning. Chris Taylor laced an RBI double to left that brought home Logan Forsythe, and Franklin Gutierrez's groundout scored Corey Seager, who went 3-for-4. However, Gonzalez retired Enrique Hernandez and Austin Barnes to limit the damage.

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"We had guys in scoring position (but) just couldn't get the big hits," said Seager, who had a season high in hits. "Got some mistakes, put some balls in play, got one in, but we couldn't get those extra runs that kind of get you closer at the end of the game."

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-6) yielded four runs on seven hits in seven innings, the deepest he has gone in a game this season. Ryu, who threw 102 pitches (74 strikes), struck out four and walked none.

"If you look at the whole body of work, seven innings, gives up four runs, not a lot of quality contact, there were some strikeouts in there, I think start to finish this was one of the best outings he's had all year," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Rendon drove a 3-2 Ryu pitch into the seats in left for a solo blast and a 1-0 Nationals lead with two outs in the second inning. It was Rendon's 11th home run this season.

In the fourth, Wieters lined a two-run hit with two outs to score Daniel Murphy and Rendon for a 3-0 advantage.

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Bryce Harper's RBI single with two outs in the fifth plated Trea Turner to make it 4-0.

"The key to the game was we got a couple of big two-out knocks," Baker said. "Big two-out hit by Wieters. Anytime you can get those big two-out hits, that (can be) the ballgame."

NOTES: Nationals LF Jayson Werth (left foot contusion) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. Werth left Saturday's contest against the Oakland A's after fouling off a pitch off his foot. The club called up OF Ryan Raburn from Triple-A Syracuse to fill his roster spot. The Nationals also designated RHP Rafael Martin for assignment. ... Dodgers 3B Justin Turner (right hamstring strain) and CF Joc Pederson (concussion) are expected to go out on rehab assignments later this week. ... Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, 89, attended the game, less than two weeks after he had a pacemaker replaced. ... Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (6-3, 2.56 ERA) will oppose Dodgers RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 3.38) in the second game on Tuesday.

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