NEW YORK -- Gio Gonzalez struck out nine over seven shutout innings and Michael Taylor drove in the game's lone run as the Nationals won their fourth game in five chances, blanking the Mets, 1-0, on Saturday night at Citi Field.
Taylor's RBI infield single in the second inning proved enough to down Mets starter Jon Niese, who limited the damage despite finding himself in trouble all night. Niese allowed nine hits -- all singles -- in seven innings, but just one run after stranding nine Nationals. He fell to 2-2 with the hard-luck loss, while Gonzalez improved to 2-2.
Three Nationals relievers combined to record the final six outs, with Drew Storen notching his sixth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gio is dealing: Gonzalez was the antithesis of his previous start. Against the Mets, Gonzalez pitched seven shutout innings, allowed six hits and struck out nine. The only time he was in trouble was in the first inning, when he allowed two hits, a walk and a wild pitch.
"He had really good stuff with all of his pitches," New York's Michael Cuddyer said of Gonzalez. "Good fastball, good curveball and good changeup, and he wasn't scared to throw it in any situation." More >
One is enough: Taylor's sharp grounder deflected off of the glove of a diving Daniel Murphy to score Ian Desmond. Desmond and Danny Espinosa singled to start the inning and advanced on the first of Gonzalez's three sacrifice bunts.
"I feel good. Anything I can do to help the team is always good," Taylor said. "Gio pitched a heck of a game." More >
Good glovework: Niese struck out just five but induced 13 groundouts. Some required fancy glovework, including two in the sixth that kept the score at 1-0. With runners on first and second and no outs, Murphy backhanded a tough chopper and fired to second, where Dilson Herrera kept his foot on the bag despite a hard takeout slide from Desmond. Two batters later Ruben Tejada ranged into the hole to rob Taylor of an RBI hit and end the inning.
"Defense made the plays when we needed to," Niese said. "Unfortunately, we just came up short."
Herrera gets greedy: The recently promoted Herrera recorded his first hit of the season on an infield chopper in the sixth, but he was thrown out at second trying to stretch it after the ball skipped past Espinosa. Herrera's chance proved reckless as it ended the inning. The Mets never threatened again.
"That was an error of enthusiasm," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He'll learn."
"It's New York. It's a beautiful city, has great food. The Mets have a great team. Obviously, the first inning was a little rough, but thank God, [Werth] and [Desmond] took care of that run for me. After that, I wanted to be aggressive in the strike zone." -- Gonzalez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his single in the first inning, Lagares set a Mets record by hitting in 13 straight home games to begin a season, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Ken Singleton also had a 12-game hitting streak at Shea Stadium to begin the 1970 season.
Gonzalez is 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA in nine starts at Citi Field. Overall, he is 8-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 14 career starts against the Mets.
The Nationals temporarily loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth when Murphy's throw to second pulled Herrera off the bag. Collins challenged the ruling, and the call was overturned, with the umpires determining Herrera's right leg hit the base before Desmond's slide knocked it off. The Nationals were left with runners on the corners and did not score.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: Right-hander Doug Fister hopes to do better than he did in his last against the Braves. On Monday, he allowed five runs - four earned - in 5 2/3 innings during an 8-4 loss. Fister will face the Mets for the third time in his career. He is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA against them. Outfielder Denard Span is expected to be back in the lineup. More >
Mets:Dillon Gee faces the Nationals for the 17th time in his career, his most against any team. The veteran righty has been superb of late, winning three straight starts and lasting seven or more innings in consecutive outings. First pitch for Sunday's series finale is at 1:10 p.m. ET.
Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com 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.