WASHINGTON — Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez insisted all along he wasn’t distracted one bit by having his name connected to a clinic that reportedly gave major leaguers banned substances.
“I’ve got no worries about that,” he said the other day.
Well, Gonzalez sure played like someone without a care in the world Wednesday night, hitting his second career homer and pitching six scoreless innings, helping reigning NL East champion Washington beat the Miami Marlins 3-0.
Gonzalez (1-0), a 21-game winner in 2012 who finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting, allowed only two hits, along with five strikeouts and two walks. The Nationals, who beat Miami 2-0 on Monday, have held the Marlins without a run so far this season. Washington’s public relations staff said it’s only the 13th time a major league club has opened a season with two consecutive shutouts.
His solo shot to left field off Kevin Slowey (0-1) came with one out in the fifth. Gonzalez let a big smile crease his face as he crossed home plate then headed to the dugout for high-fives. He came back out to the steps to give a quick wave as many in the crowd of 26,269 — nearly 20,000 fewer than opening day — chanted his name, sounding like “Gee-oh! Gee-oh!”
Gonzalez also hit the previous homer by a Nationals pitcher, last season at Houston on Aug. 8.
Slowey gave up one run and four hits in 5.1 innings. When he made his major league debut on June 1, 2007, for the Minnesota Twins against Oakland, his catcher was Mike Redmond. And Redmond was present Wednesday, too: He now is Miami’s rookie manager and, at 41, the second-youngest skipper in the majors.
After hitting two homers in Game 1, Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper went 2-for-4 with a double.
Braves 9, Phillies 2: In Atlanta, Freddie Freeman had three RBIs and Justin Upton homered to back Paul Maholm’s solid start.
Jason Heyward and rookie Evan Gattis also connected for the Braves, who have hit six homers in winning the first two games of the series.
Roy Halladay (0-1) failed to make it out of the fourth inning and left with Philadelphia trailing 4-0.
Mets 8, Padres 4: In New York, Matt Harvey allowed one hit and struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings for his first win at Citi Field, Lucas Duda hit the first of the Mets’ three homers.
John Buck and Ike Davis also connected against homer-prone Clayton Richard.
Pirates 3, Cubs 0: In Pittsburgh, Wandy Rodriguez allowed just two hits over 6.2 innings for the Pirates.
Andrew McCutchen had an RBI double for the Pirates. Starling Marte and Gaby Sanchez also drove in a run, more than enough for Rodriguez on a frigid night.
Jason Grilli, promoted to the closer’s role in the offseason, worked the ninth for his first save.
Rodriguez struck out six and walked one.
Edwin Jackson gave up two runs in five innings but lost to the Pirates for the first time in seven career starts.
Reds 5, Angels 4: In Cincinnati, Brandon Phillips hit a three-run homer in his new role as the Reds’ cleanup hitter, and Joey Votto drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single.
Votto’s first hit of the season off left-hander Scott Downs (0-1) deflected off the glove of first baseman Albert Pujols, and Shin-Soo Choo scored from second base.