Washington, D.C. – Gio Gonzalez spun six scoreless innings and smacked a solo home run in the fifth, as the Washington Nationals blanked the Miami Marlins for the second consecutive game with a 3-0 decision on Wednesday at Nationals Park.
Gonzalez (1-0) fanned five and allowed just two hits and two walks, while Ryan Mattheus and Drew Storen each tossed a scoreless frame in relief before Rafael Soriano closed the door in the ninth to secure his second save of the season.
"It's not really hard to fathom. I look at this staff and that's what I expect," Mattheus said of his team posting back-to-back shutouts. "I think there's going to be a lot of shutouts."
Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman each added an RBI for the defending NL East champion Nationals, who have won their first two games for the second straight season.
Kevin Slowey's (0-1) only misstep came on Gonzalez's home run, as the Miami right-hander gave up just four hits and three walks over 5 1/3 frames for the Marlins, who remain in search of their first run of the season after being shut out by the Nats, 2-0, in Monday's season opener.
"We've got a couple of guys that may be pressing a little bit," Marlins rookie manager Mike Redmond admitted. "We've just got to continue to go out there and keep grinding it out and get that first run across and take a little pressure off the guys."
Miami's only extra-base hit of the contest came in the fifth when Justin Ruggiano ripped a leadoff double and Miguel Olivo followed with a walk.
Gonzalez quickly worked out of the jam however, as he induced a 1-6-3 double- play groundout from Casey Kotchman before fanning Adeiny Hechavarria to end the frame.
The lefty hurler then helped his own cause in the bottom half when he jumped on a hanging curveball from Slowey and deposited it over the wall in left field for his second career home run and a 1-0 lead.
Washington added an insurance run in the seventh when Danny Espinosa reached first on an error, moved to second on a bunt and then found third on a wild pitch.
Pinch-hitter Chad Tracy then walked to put runners on the corners before Span slapped a grounder to second that scored Espinosa to make it a 2-0 contest.
After Storen retired the Marlins in order in the eighth, Bryce Harper scorched a leadoff double off the right-field wall and quickly scored on Zimmerman's single to center to push the lead to 3-0.
Soriano served up a one-out single in the ninth before walking Giancarlo Stanton, but the Washington reliever induced back-to-back pop outs from Placido Polanco and Ruggiano to end the contest.
Kotchman left the game in the fifth inning with a left hamstring strain. He is considered day-to-day ... Gonzalez's first career home run came on Aug. 8, 2012 at Houston ... Miami went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base ... Harper and Zimmerman each finished with two hits.