MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Gonzalez, Williams clear the air after Gio pulled

Gonzalez, Williams clear the air after Gio pulled

NEW YORK -- There were some tense moments between manager Matt Williams and left-hander Gio Gonzalez during the Nationals' 4-3 loss to the Mets on Friday night.

Gonzalez pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and striking out seven. But he wasn't happy when Williams took him out of the game with two outs in the seventh, and he expressed his displeasure by slamming the ball in Williams' hand.

Gonzalez wanted to face Juan Lagares, but Williams felt the better matchup was between right-hander Aaron Barrett and Lagares.

Television broadcasts showed Williams and Gonzalez engaged in a heated discussion in the dugout.

"I wanted to explain to him, it's not my objective to take him out [of] there. ... I want to leave him in and finish that inning and give him a chance to get off the hook, but it's a good matchup for Barrett, too," Williams said. "And [Gonzalez] is upset, and I understand that. I also want to do the best job I can to help us try to win a game, too. So we had a talk about it. He understands, and I understand. That's how far as it goes."

Gonzalez was calm when he spoke to the media after the game. He is a competitor, and wanted to stay in the game.

"Matt did his best to defuse as much as possible. It's part of the sport. It's high intensity, trying to keep the game close," Gonzalez said. "You want to keep pitching, you want to keep going out there. ... [Williams] has every right, and there are two sides to every story, too. He is doing his job as a manager to make sure I'm doing all right. I'm just being a player, just wanting to go out there and keep pitching. It's not bigger than it is."

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.