He worked eight innings, going deeper into a game than he had all season. He struck out ten, marking the third time this season that he's reached the double-digit K mark.
Still, he ended up with a loss.
Gonzalez was good tonight, Josh Johnson was just better.
"It was all Josh Johnson really," manager Davey Johnson said. "He pitched a great ball game. ... That's the best I've seen him."
Johnson was an out away from throwing a complete game. He gave up just two runs (one earned) over his 8 2/3 innings, striking out nine.
It marked quite a difference from Game 1 of the doubleheader, in which the Nats put up seven runs and five extra-base hits.
"First part was pretty good, second part, no good," said Adam LaRoche, recapping the day in a nice, tidy fashion. "We faced (Johnson) a lot and got some a few times, but when he's on, it's tough, obviously."
The Nats were frustrated by their lack of offense against Johnson, but Gonzalez was also a bit frustrated with how the Marlins were able to put up five runs with just two extra-base hits all night.
Seven of the Marlins' nine hits off Gonzalez were singles, including five in a three-run sixth inning.
"Just found some holes. That's all that happened," Gonzalez said. "Just attacking the strike zone. Trying to stay down on the ball and I got the ground balls that I wanted just, they found holes."
"I thought Gio threw the ball good," Johnson said. "He just had that one inning where ... everybody took him the other way. I thought he pitched good. Thought he pitched good enough to win."
The final run that Gonzalez allowed came in the eighth, when Jose Reyes scored from second on a ground ball to short. Reyes was running on the play, made a turn around third base and then scampered home on Danny Espinosa's throw over to first.
"I saw that coming," Johnson said. "Danny should have seen that coming. He was going full speed. He had him over there."
Coming off an outing where he allowed five runs (four earned) against the Brewers, Gonzalez was still able to pull some positives from tonight, even though he was stuck with his sixth loss of the season.
"The way I look at it as eight innings, couple of strikeouts, kept the team in the game as far as I could," he said. "The best I can do is just take it and just keep moving forward."