Bill Ladson

Struggles in seventh send Gio, Nationals to loss

Left-hander tosses six scoreless innings before allowing three of four runs in 7th

Struggles in seventh send Gio, Nationals to loss

PHILADELPHIA -- Left-hander Gio Gonzalez was cruising for six innings Friday night, but ended up taking the loss as the Phillies defeated the Nationals, 4-1, at Citizens Bank Park.

The Nationals were winning, 1-0, when Gonzalez lost it in the seventh. After getting Jeff Francoeur to fly out, Gonzalez walked the next two hitters -- Grady Sizemore and Cameron Rupp -- and then hit Andres Blanco with a pitch to load the bases before leaving the game.

"I was trying to be too perfect. I walked people, hit a guy. Just when you think you are on a fast pace, they slow you down and that's what happened," Gonzalez said. "I was nitpicking the corners. They kept fouling off pitches. They worked the count pretty well. I did a good job, but at the end of the day, they battled and they did a great job."

Said Nationals manager Matt Williams, "He just lost the command that he [had for the previous six innings]. He wasn't bad, he was just off the plate. He loaded the bases there. The last guy he hit, [Gonzalez] tried to come in and he went too far. Other than that, he threw the ball really well."

Then disaster struck. Williams brought in left-hander Xavier Cedeno, who allowed a two-run single to Cesar Hernandez. Ben Revere was the next hitter and he was hit by a pitch to re-load the bases.

Gio picks off Revere

"I couldn't execute. It didn't work out," Cedeno said. "The command wasn't there tonight. It's just one of those days in baseball. You have to work through that. I was looking for a groundball. That's why I decided to go with the cutter. I didn't get it over. That's why [Hernandez] hit it so hard."

Right-hander Craig Stammen entered the game and allowed an RBI single to Freddy Galvis to make it a three-run game. Gonzalez was charged with three of the runs.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.