But that doesn’t bother him too much.
“A win doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be a win,” Gonzalez said. “At the end of the day, it’s just one of the things. We turn the page, move forward and hopefully tomorrow will be a different game. It’ll be something a little more smoother.”
Gonzalez might have picked up his ninth win of the season, and the box score will show that the Nationals’ left-hander allowed just one earned run in tonight’s sloppy Nats victory.
But throughout his outing, Gonzalez didn’t have his good stuff tonight. He threw 118 pitches in just 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and two wild pitches.
“I was fortunate to at least go that long, especially knowing that just feeling a little uncomfortable on the mound all game,” he said. “I mean, again, we look at it from both sides. (The) Phillies had a lot of walks, we had a little bit of walks. So it was all around just one of these weird games. ...
“It’s just trying to find my arm slot, that’s all it is. I think that it’s once I get going and building my confidence to where I want to throw it, again, these guys are being patient. And they were just swinging at what they needed to swing at. It just made it difficult to go out there and pound the strike zone, especially if you’re falling behind on everyone.”
Wilson Ramos saw that Gonzalez wasn’t locating his fastball where he needed to, so he relied more on the offspeed stuff tonight, using the changeup a good bit.
“His fastball today, that was all around the plate for balls,” Ramos said. “I had to mix it up early in the game because we had to mix it up in that situation. The pitcher, he throws the fastball and tries to throw strikes and throws balls out of the strike zone, (so) you have to use another pitch until the fastball is for strikes.”
Ramos helped his starter out early on, crushing a three-run homer to right-center in the second inning that put the Nats up 3-0. It was Ramos’ 10th homer of the season.
“During BP today, I was hitting the ball to the middle,” Ramos said. “So today, my first at-bat, I was just trying to hit the ball to the middle and see what happened.”
The Nats’ other homer tonight came off the bat of Corey Brown, the reserve outfielder who was just called up from Triple-A Syracuse today for the first time this season.
In his first big league at-bat in nearly a year, Brown crushed a 2-1 fastball into the second deck in right in the seventh inning, a shot that traveled 422 feet, according to the Phillies’ postgame notes.
“It felt great,” Brown said. “Obviously, the first time back there’s always some jitters. But I just tried to tell myself just to make sure and get a pitch. Sometimes, I can chase a few every now and then. I just wanted to see my pitch, hopefully see one up and try to get on base somewhere.
“I would say it was a lot easier today than in my first at-bat a couple years ago. I think that’s obviously the hardest. First time back, there’s still that excitement and a lot of emotions going on. But like I said, I tried to tell myself to stay relaxed and just get a good pitch to hit.”
Oh, he got a good pitch to hit, and he didn’t miss it.
“I think I hit it on the barrel,” Brown cracked.