The Nationals held on to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5 on Tuesday in the first game of their three-game series at Nationals Park.
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez went 6 1/3 innings, allowing only two runs for his first win since May 5.
Manager Davey Johnson said the 90-degree game-time temperature might have taxed his starter a bit, but Gonzalez did a nice job fighting through.
“Gio was fine (on) a pretty hot night,” Johnson said. “He pitched good. He was still throwing pretty good when I took him out. After the rough inning before, I didn’t want to go too far with him.”
This time, the offense sent Gonzalez a 6-0 lead to work with, highlighted by Adam LaRoche’s 11th homer of the season, a three-run shot in third that made it 5-0 Nationals.
“That was great,” Johnson said. “I like the way the guys swing the bat. We needed that. That was a good one.”
Right fielder Jayson Werth played through a left groin injury suffered Sunday against Colorado. Werth left that game in the fourth inning.
But Tuesday, he was fine and went 2-for-2 with two runs, a double and two walks.
“I don’t think he was 100 percent,” Johnson said of Werth. “I think he catches that ball in the ninth if he is not a little ginger. He will be all right. I just go by what he tells me. He said he has had it before and he could play through it. So that is good enough for me.”
Johnson did notice a different approach from his hitters in a game where they needed all of their seven runs and 11 hits, as Arizona wilted a 6-0 lead down to 6-4 and 7-5.
“We were a little more aggressive, which I like,” Johnson said. “Not quite as aggressive as they are. They come out of the dugout swinging. But we will get to that point.
“The tension in the clubhouse is because guys are not doing what they are capable of doing. If guys are doing what they are capable of doing, we have a really fun clubhouse. It is going to take a few hits. We get a few hits, and we will be off and running.”