WASHINGTON (AP) — Gio Gonzalez went from changing diapers to fooling the Marlins with his changeup once again while Ryan Zimmerman continued re-writing the Nationals record book.
Zimmerman had four run-scoring hits, including two solo home runs, drove in five runs, received two curtain calls and became the franchise’s all-time RBI leader as the Washington Nationals defeated the Miami Marlins 10-1 on Wednesday night.
Gonzalez (10-5) allowed one run over seven innings after nearly tossing a no-hitter against the Marlins in his previous start. In between, he missed a turn to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.
The left-hander gladly discussed son Gabriel and the time spent with his family – “It was a beautiful thing” — but started his postgame talk with lavish praise of Zimmerman.
The first baseman also walked, scored four runs and finished a triple shy of the cycle. He passed Tim Wallach (905), now the Marlins bench coach, for most RBIs in Expos and Nationals history with his second-inning homer. Last month Zimmerman became the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs.
“RBI, home run leader. Just put a crown on him,” Gonzalez said of Zimmerman. “He’s the best.”
That’s probably what Miami thinks of Gonzalez. In Washington’s 1-0 win on July 31, Gonzalez held Miami hitless through eight innings and finished with a one-hitter. He allowed seven hits, struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in the rematch. The left-hander has won at least 10 games in eight consecutive seasons.
“He kept us off-balance,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We got more hits out there, but we weren’t really able to get to him.”
The Marlins ended any no-hit drama early, but didn’t score until Ichiro Suzuki’s RBI hit in the fourth. Suzuki had three hits.
Major League home run leader Giancarlo Stanton went hitless for Miami after homering twice this series.
“Everyone talks about his curveball,” Zimmerman said of Gonzalez, “but I feel like he gets a lot of groundballs with the changeup.”
Washington’s offense typically doesn’t support Gonzalez — nine runs over his last seven starts — but it had five runs and 11 hits off Miami starter Adam Conley (4-5).
Bryce Harper had two hits and two RBIs for Washington. He scored from first on Zimmerman’s double in the third for a 3-0 lead after reaching with a run-scoring single.
During a two-run fifth inning, Zimmerman knocked in Harper after the slugger’s drag bunt single and Conley’s wild pitch.
Conley was 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in four starts since his recall from Triple-A New Orleans on July 18.
“They just kind of kept nicking at (Conley) in that fifth,” Mattingly said. “He looked like he had run out of steam and had trouble getting through that. . Zimmerman obviously was all over him tonight.”
Zimmerman entered Wednesday batting .076 (2 for 27) since July 31.
“It’s been a rough 10 days,” he admitted.
Washington’s first draft pick after the franchise relocated from Montreal following the 2004 season received loud roars from the crowd after both homers.
“I have a special connection with all the people here,” he said. “Kind of grown up together.”
Stanton smacked home run No. 38 in Tuesday’s 7-3 win. The right fielder had five homers and nine RBIs with a .368 (7 for 19) batting average over the opening five games of the seven-game road trip.
Marlins: OF Christian Yelich was out of the lineup for the first time since June 25 and only the third time all season. Yelich is 2 for 16 on the road trip.
Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy (hip) remained out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game, but Nationals manager Dusty Baker is hopeful for a Thursday appearance. … RHP Stephen Strasburg (elbow nerve impingement), out since July 23, expects to make a rehab appearance in the near future after throwing 57 pitches during a simulated start at Nationals Park on Wednesday.
BACK IN THE SADDLE
Howie Kendrick had three hits, including two doubles, and drove in three runs after leaving Monday’s win with back stiffness. His double was Washington’s only hit during a three-run sixth.
Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (7-8, 3.77 ERA) is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in two starts against Washington this season.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (9-7, 4.82) is 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break.
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