The Washington Nationals have proved too inconsistent to stay atop the NL East and even their most reliable starter of late hasn't pitched too deep in recent outings.
Gio Gonzalez will try to last a little longer in Wednesday night's matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks while earning a fifth consecutive win.
Washington (55-50) has watched its three-game lead in the division evaporate during a 6-11 stretch and fell out of first place with its fourth consecutive loss in Monday's opener. The Nationals rebounded Tuesday to stay within a game of the New York Mets with a 5-4 victory, and Wilson Ramos provided the tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth.
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Gonzalez, 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA in his last six starts, looks to help the Nationals possibly close that gap while winning five consecutive decisions for the first time since May 2012.
Gonzalez (8-4, 3.75 ERA) is the Nationals' only pitcher with more than one win in the past 17 games, but he hasn't pitched past the fifth inning in his last two starts.
He gave up one run Friday but needed 105 pitches to get through 4 2-3 innings in a 2-1 loss in 12 innings to the Mets, the opener to a three-game road sweep.
"I put my team in a tough situation," Gonzalez told MLB's official website. "I have to go deep in the game. I kept falling behind every hitter. No excuses. This is on me. I should have gone deeper in the game and should have given us a chance."
The left-hander gave up five runs in five innings at Arizona on May 13 and did not get a decision in a 9-6 victory.
He's 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA in his last five starts in the nation's capital and 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his two home matchups against Arizona (51-54) since joining the Nationals in 2012. Washington has won nine of its last 11 home matchups and 17 of 23 overall.
Rubby De La Rosa (8-5, 4.59) tries to win three consecutive decisions for the first time since opening his career 3-0 in 2011.
The right-hander nearly had his modest streak end Friday in Houston when he gave up four runs in the fifth of his six innings, but his teammates rallied for a 6-4 victory, the last of Arizona's six in a row.
The Diamondbacks have dropped three of four since and Paul Goldschmidt struck out in all four at-bats Tuesday while dropping to 0 for 15 in four games this month.
Goldschmidt, batting an NL-best .335 with 77 RBIs, finished a home run shy of the cycle against Gonzalez in May.
"It's a long season, just keep going and hopefully come out (Wednesday) and play better," he said.
De La Rosa got a 14-6 win in his only start against Washington on May 12, allowing four runs in seven innings. Bryce Harper had a two-run homer and a double off him.