Lots o’ zeros (Nats win 3-1)

Nationals starters have now thrown 22 consecutive scoreless innings.

Gio Gonzalez himself has tossed 20 straight scoreless frames.

That’s all well and good. Actually, it’s more than that; it’s pretty damn impressive.

But at some point, the Nationals are going to have to score a run or two if they want to win this ballgame.

The Nats and Padres are scoreless in the middle of the sixth, and Washington has managed just one hit off San Diego starter Clayton Richard.

They have walked four times and have gotten some chances as a result, but have gone 0-for-6 tonight with runners in scoring position.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, has been spectacular, but that’s nothing new. Coming off back-to-back outings where he’s thrown seven scoreless innings, Gonzalez has already tossed six clean innings allowing just two hits and two walks. He has six strikeouts and is at 91 pitches through his six frames.

Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he’s probably left feeling a lot like Jordan Zimmermann right now. Over the 20 scoreless frames by the lefty, the Nats have managed just three runs.

Update: Chad Tracy does it again.

Tracy’s single to center in the top of the seventh plated two runs, giving Tracy five pinch-hit RBIs this season, and giving the Nats a 2-0 lead.

Two runs? In a game like this? Seems nearly insurmountable, doesn’t it?

Update II: Thank you, Tyler Clippard for not making me look like a jinx.

Clippard got the Nats out of a big jam in the seventh, allowing one inherited run to score (although the run was unearned), but preserving the lead with some clutch pitches to Mark Kotsay and Chris Denorfia.

It’s 2-1 Nats as we go to the eighth.

Update III: Rick Ankiel provided a little breathing room for Henry Rodriguez with a two-out, broken-bat single to center, scoring Wilson Ramos, who reached on a three-base error. It’s 3-1 Washington as Rodriguez, not Brad Lidge comes in to try and close it out.

Update IV: Ballgame. The Nats have opened their road trip with yet another win - their 11th in 13 games - thanks to dominant starting pitching, some more clutch hits and a strong performance by the ‘pen.

The formula remains the same, and so does the result.

The Nationals now lead the NL East by three full games and have, yes, the best record in the National League.

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