Gonzalez speaks after a strikeout-less outing (Nats win 6-2)

JUPITER, Fla. - While reporters were talking to Gio Gonzalez about his outing, Anthony Rendon ripped a double to center.

Rendon now has two home runs and three doubles in seven games and is batting .438.

Decent, I guess.

Nathan Karns labored a bit through a scoreless fourth inning and Ryan Perry followed with three shutout innings of his own. Drew Storen is now on to work the eighth with the Nats leading 6-2.

It’s incredibly rare, even in spring, to see a pitching line next to Gonzalez’s name that doesn’t have a strikeout in it.

How rare is it? Since Gonzalez reached the big leagues in 2008, there had only been one time entering today in which he appeared in a game and didn’t record a strikeout. That includes spring training, regular season and postseason. (The only strikeout-less appearance came during a one-inning relief appearance on Sept. 23, 2008.)

Today, Gonzalez went three innings, faced 13 hitters and didn’t notch a strikeout. But he doesn’t view the strikeout-less outing as anything abnormal.

“It’s a good thing, especially when you’re in the strike zone and they’re putting the ball in play,” Gonzalez said. “Less pitches, more innings is I think the way to take this outing. Seeing what the defense was doing, and the offense, you just wanted to get out of this weather as quick as possible.”

Gonzalez threw 52 pitches this afternoon, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk through his three innings of work. He battled a bit of a breeze blowing at Roger Dean Stadium and relied mostly on his fastball today.

“It was basically the only pitch I was throwing,” Gonzalez said. “Changeup was good. I might have had maybe four changeups. It was pretty good, in the strike zone, they were landing for strikes. A couple curveballs I snapped, but it was mostly fastballs today.”

With Gonzalez and Adam Wainwright on the hill for the Nats and Cardinals today, it provided a flashback to Game 5 of the National League Division Series, a game started by those two pitchers. The Cardinals had at least six regulars in their starting lineup today, giving Gonzalez a bit of a test.

“It’s good to see some familiar faces,” Gonzalez said. “These guys, they’re all nice guys off the field, they’re great guys. On the field, same thing. They’re competitors, just like we are. I’m pretty sure they were thinking the same way, just go out there and try and attack the strike zone and swing the bat. Same thing we’re trying to do. It’s spring training. There’s no rivalry yet.”

Update: Storen worked a scoreless eighth, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam after striking out the first two hitters he saw, and Erik Davis pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to finish off a 6-2 Nationals win.

Revenge. How sweet it is.

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