The Washington Nationals followed the same script they used Opening Day to defeat the Miami Marlins in consecutive games: strong starting pitching, a flawless bullpen performance, and just enough offense to start the season 2-0, becoming just the 13th team in MLB history to open a season with back-to-back shutouts in a 3-0 win over the Marlins before 26,269 chilly and wind-burned fans at Nationals Park.
Gio Gonzalez tossed six shutout innings in earning his first win of the season. He struck out five and allowed just two hits and two walks in his first appearance of the season. He also chipped in on offense, homering in his second at bat against Marlins starter Kevin Slowey, making his first start since 2011.
Gonzalez, in fact, might not have made this start at all, as he came out of the bullpen with a raging headache — to the point that manager Davey Johnson expressed concern for his lefty starter. But after some aspirin and a massage, Gonzalez was able to take the hill after all and register a quality start regardless.
Gonzalez’ fifth inning home run broke a scoreless tie, and the Nats added a run in the seventh on a fielder’s choice by Denard Span with runners at the corners and a Ryan Zimmerman RBI single in the eight, which plated Bryce Harper, who had doubled in the previous at bat.
Gonzalez gave way to Ryan Mattheus for the seventh, and the righty in his first appearance gave up a hit and struck out one in his inning of work. Drew Storen didn’t allow a runner and struck out one in the eighth, and Rafael Soriano gave up a hit and a walk, but struck out one in a scoreless ninth for his second save in as many games.
The Nats host the Marlins Thursday at 4:05 pm in the final game of the three-game set. Jordan Zimmermann faces LHP Wade LeBlanc for the Marlins.