Gonzalez battles back after slow start (Nats lose to Marlins 3-1)

JUPITER, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez’s first inning of work wasn’t too pretty.

He allowed three hits, a walk and three earned runs, needing 28 pitches to get three outs.

From there, the Nationals lefty appeared to get stronger each time he trotted out to the mound.

Gonzalez didn’t allow a run over his final four innings of work, and retired seven of the last eight hitters he faced. He struck out six over his five innings, and did a nice job settling down after getting hit around in that opening inning.

Here’s Gonzalez’s final line: five innings, three runs, seven hits, one walk and six strikeouts. He threw 81 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Craig Stammen is on for Gonzalez here in the bottom of the sixth.

This was a nice bounce-back effort from Gonzalez after he got hit around his last time out, also here in Jupiter. Facing the Cardinals last Thursday, Gonzalez allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

One thing Gonzalez needs definite work on is his bunting. Trying to move over two runners in the third inning, Gonzalez attempted to lay down a bunt three times, made contact three times and sent all three bunt attempts foul.

Gonzalez has been joking lately about his power stroke and the damage he can do at the plate. He might want to master laying down a nice sacrifice before worrying about smacking extra-base hits to the opposite field.

The Nats trail the Marlins 3-1 here in the sixth, with (who else?) Roger Bernadina driving in the only Washington run.

The scorching-hot Bernadina has a bunt single and an RBI single to center today, making him 7-for-9 with two homers and seven RBI in his last three games.

Update: The winning streak has come to an end. The Nats lost to the Marlins 3-1.

Back with notes and quotes from the clubhouse in a bit.

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