Nats trail despite another quality start from Gonzalez (updated)

It wasn’t one of Gio Gonzalez’s finest outings, but he leaves here in the seventh with his team trailing the Yankees just 2-1.

Gonzalez battled his way through six-plus innings, leaving after throwing 109 pitches but holding the Yankees to just two runs over six.

Both of those runs came in the third inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher. Neither ball was struck all that well, but both had enough to get through the infield and plate a run.

The Nationals countered in the bottom half of the third, loading the bases with one out and getting a RBI single up the middle from Michael Morse.

That cut the Yankees lead in half and still left the bases loaded for Ian Desmond, but the shortstop ended the threat by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play on the first pitch he saw from Phil Hughes.

After that Morse single, Hughes settled into a groove, retiring the next nine Nats hitters he faced.

Gonzalez was sent out for the top of the seventh, but after allowing a leadoff single to Andruw Jones, he was pulled in favor of Brad Lidge.

The Nats’ wins leader won’t be registering his ninth victory of the season here tonight.

Update: The Yankees broke this one open after Gonzalez left the game, scoring four runs in the seventh to take a 6-1 lead.

The only out Lidge recorded came on a sacrifice bunt, and his day is now over after allowing three runs on one hit and two walks (one intentional). Lidge got a little unlucky, however, as he got Derek Jeter to send a ground ball to the left side with the bases loaded and one out. Instead of resulting in a double play, the ball got past Ryan Zimmerman at third, and Desmond’s only play was at first.

His throw evaded Adam LaRoche and went to the wall, allowing two runs to score. Desmond was given a throwing error while the Yankees were given a three-run edge. They tacked on two more when Curtis Granderson ripped a double down the line in left off Michael Gonzalez, bringing in Jeter and Robinson Cano.

Here’s Gio Gonzalez’s final line: 6-plus innings, five hits, three runs, two walks, eight strikeouts.

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