Nationals with four homers, Gonzalez pitching well (Nats win 6-4)

If every batter could work the pitcher and force them to throw the pitch he wants like Jayson Werth does, the Nationals would average 10 runs a game.

Facing a very feisty Roberto Hernandez in the series opener against the Dodgers, Werth worked him to seven pitches with two outs in the first inning. On Hernandez’s 2-2 offering, Werth crushed the 92 mph sinker over the left-center field wall, his 16th homer of the season, and the Nationals led 1-0.

But left-hander Gio Gonzalez could not hold the lead. In the bottom of the first, after Gonzalez allowed a walk to Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp launched his 17th homer over the right-center field wall, giving the Dodgers the lead.

Dodgers lead 2-1 after first inning.

Span-points-up-ellis.jpgUpdate: In the top of third, Asdrubal Cabrera took a changeup from Hernandez over the left-center field wall for his 13th homer of the season, tying the game 2-2. One batter later, Denard Span followed suit with a solo shot over the right-center field wall. It was only his third homer of the season, but it was a big one, giving the Nationals the 3-2 lead.

Update II: So I’m guessing Span is seeing Hernandez pretty well. A batter after Cabrera’s leadoff walk in the fifth, Span slammed his second homer of the game, a two-run shot and his fourth of the season that gave the Nationals a 5-2 lead. That ended Hernandez’s night. The Nationals have now hit four homers tonight and 10 homers in their last two series openers. They have outscored the Dodgers 4-0 since Kemp’s homer.

Update III: Gonzalez has really done a nice job since the early Kemp homer. How good? No hits since, a span (Span?) of 5 1/3 innings.

In the seventh, Gonzalez led off with a double over the center fielder Yasiel Puig’s head. Anthony Rendon then slapped a double to right and the Nationals lead 6-2.

Update IV: In the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers earned a couple of base hits to begin the inning. That ended Gonzalez’s night.

Against Drew Storen, the Dodgers got an RBI single from Juan Uribe. The Nationals lead 6-3.

Matt Thornton came in to strike out pinch-hitter Justin Turner, and the Nationals survived a big inning.

Gonzalez went six innings, allowing three hits, three runs, three earned runs, two walks, striking out four with one home run allowed. He twirled 74 pitches, 48 for strikes.

Update V: Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 31st save, but it was not easy. Soriano allowed a run-scoring single to Uribe. Pinch-hitter Carl Crawford singled Uribe to third.

In his first big league at-bat, pinch-hitter Joc Pederson, 22, took Soriano to a full count but struck out looking.

Nationals defeat the Dodgers 6-4.

Tonight was an outstanding way to begin three big games at Los Angeles, especially with Clayton Kershaw waiting Tuesday night. The Nationals are 20 games above .500 again, lead the Braves by seven games, and are now 3-4 on their road trip.

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