WASHINGTON -- Left-hander Gio Gonzalez showed Monday night that he is going to be a factor for the Nationals during the pennant stretch. He held the Dodgers scoreless over a season-high eight innings in an 8-3 Washington victory over Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
The outing was the antithesis of his previous outing, against the D-backs. In that outing last week, Gonzalez threw too many pitches -- 95 -- in five-plus innings, and the Nationals had to go to their bullpen early. On Monday, he threw a season-high 117 pitches and breezed through the Dodgers' lineup.
"I thought he was in command the whole night," Nationals manager Matt Williams said about Gonzalez. "The key for him was keeping the pitch count down early. That's what we talked about today. He pitched real well."
Gonzalez felt so strong that he felt he could finish the game. But Williams allowed Doug Fister to pitch the final inning.
"The eight innings mean a lot. I told skip, 'Thank you for giving me a chance to finally go … past the sixth and seventh inning,'" Gonzalez said. "To be in the eighth inning, it's nice. Take it with a grain of salt. I will also move on and get ready for the next start."
As always, Gonzalez gave credit to his personal catcher, Jose Lobaton, for his success on Monday.
"I felt everything Lobby was putting down was working," Gonzalez said. "I wanted to attack the strike zone. I wanted to be real aggressive with these guys. It was tough for the Dodgers, because of the late-night road trip [Sunday night]. I felt they were going to be real aggressive tonight, just try to work the pitch count. It was just me trying to find Lobby's glove."
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.