MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Gio to remain in rotation amid rough stretch

Vet 0-6 in past seven starts; Baker laments two-out hits off Nats lefty

Gio to remain in rotation amid rough stretch

MILWAUKEE -- Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez continued to have problems in arguably his roughest start of the season, a 6-5 loss to the Brewers on Saturday.

Gonzalez lasted just three innings and allowed six runs on six hits. His problems started in the first when he allowed an infield single to leadoff hitter Jonathan Villar. To Gonzalez, it was deflating. It went downhill after that. Three batters later, Gonzalez allowed a three-run homer to Chris Carter that put the Nationals behind the 8-ball.

Manager Dusty Baker feels Gonzalez has allowed too many two-out hits. In Saturday's game alone, he allowed three, and two runs scored on those plays.

"He can't get that third out," Baker said. "Usually, when it happens, [runs score] after two outs. They bounced one up the middle on Gio that cause the run [to score]. Right now, he can't get that third out. Things aren't going good for us."

Gonzalez has a seven-game winless streak. During that stretch, Gonzalez is 0-6 with an 8.44 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. Gonzalez's problems seem to start in the early innings, and Saturday was no different.

"I have to do a better job of helping out our bullpen," Gonzalez said. "That's a crappy job on my part. It's unfortunate the way it's going."

For now, Baker is leaving Gonzalez in the rotation. The skipper also said he is not concerned about the lefty's health.

"You worry about his confidence and he has to get that third out," Baker said. "I've never seen more two-out hits because they are not easy to get. The opposition is getting that two-out hit with regularity. We have to stop them from getting that two-out hit."

Gio doesn't have an answer as to why he is allowing so many hits with two outs. He plans to maintain a positive attitude, though.

"I'm going to keep pitching until the ball is out of my hand," he said. "I'm going to keep fighting. I still feel that I can pitch in this game and get outs. ... A lot of balls are not going my way."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.