Houston, TX – Gio Gonzalez threw the second complete game of his career and hit his first major league home run to help the Washington Nationals take a 4-3 win against the Houston Astros in the third portion of a four-game series.
Gonzalez (14-6) gave up three runs on nine hits with two walks and seven strikeouts and hit a two-run home run in the second inning for the Nationals, who have won five straight.
"Gio couldn't have been any better. He pitched an outstanding ballgame," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of his starter.
Ryan Zimmerman added two hits and a run scored.
Armando Galarraga (0-2) allowed three runs on six hits with six walks and five strikeouts over five-plus innings. Justin Maxwell had two hits and drove in a run for the Astros, who lost for the 33rd time in their past 37 games.
"I think one of the things that got him in trouble today was some confidence issues," said Houston manager Brad Mills about Galarraga. "You know, when the other pitcher hits a homer off you, that hurts. But I think he rebounded very nicely after that and our bullpen did a fantastic job to keep us in the game."
The Nationals worked a run across in the first inning. Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper walked before Zimmerman singled, with Lombardozzi being thrown out at home. However, a balk called on Galarraga allowed Harper to score.
Houston got one back in the first as Jose Altuve doubled to start the frame and later came home on a Maxwell single.
Washington, though, saw Kurt Suzuki hit by a pitch with two outs in the second and Gonzalez made the Astros pay as he slammed a pitch over the left field wall for a 3-1 lead.
The Astros made it a one-run game again in the fourth on a sac fly off the bat of Carlos Corporan, but the Nationals added an insurance run in the seventh as Matt Downs' bad throw on a Jayson Werth grounder allowed Zimmerman to score for a 4-2 advantage.
In the ninth, Brandon Barnes singled with one out and moved to second on a Marwin Gonzalez groundout. Ben Francisco then lifted a single to left to score Barnes. Altuve then singled to center and Harper tried to get Francisco at third, but his throw went wide. Thankfully for Washington, Gonzalez was backing up the play behind third and was able to grab the ball before it went out of play. He then struck out Downs to cap the win.
Washington has won six of seven from Houston this season...Gonzalez improved to 2-0 in two games against Houston...Jordan Zimmermann will help Washington go for the sweep on Thursday while Lucas Harrell will pitch for Houston...Washington left fielder Michael Morse went 1-for-5 to extend his career-high hitting streak to 17 games.