MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Mechanical issue plagues Gio in rough start

Nationals pitcher says side-to-side throwing motion led to loss

Mechanical issue plagues Gio in rough start

SAN FRANCISCO -- Entering Saturday's action, Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez was one of the hottest pitchers in the Major Leagues, sporting a 1.48 ERA dating back to June 21.

But Saturday was a different story in a 12-6 loss to the Giants. Gonzalez retired the first six hitters he faced and was given a 2-0 lead, but the bottom fell out in the third inning. The Giants scored six runs and Gonzalez left the game after getting two outs.

Gonzalez didn't have to look at film to know what he was doing wrong on the mound. He had mechanical issues.

"Instead of being over the top, I was side to side," Gonzalez said. I was flying open, rushing myself to Lobby [catcher Jose Lobaton]. It showed. It [stinks] because I didn't do anything to help out today. I basically put our team in the hole."

"I was falling behind on hitters. I wasn't making it easy, especially when your team gave you two runs. I took the momentum out of our hands and gave it back to the Giants. It's a tough pill to swallow, especially when these guys are going out there getting two runs right off the bat."

Manager Matt Williams wanted Gonzalez to pitch at least another inning, but Gonzalez threw 36 pitches in the third inning and they were forced to use the bullpen. The relievers -- Tanner Roark, Felipe Rivero, and Drew Storen -- pitched a combined 5 1/3 innings and allowed six runs.

"Gio couldn't get out of it. We had to go to the bullpen again," Williams said.

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.