Gonzalez, Rendon and Span discuss Nats’ win in Game 1 (with Game 2 lineups)

CHICAGO - You already heard from Matt Williams after the Nationals’ 3-0 win over the Cubs.

Now, let’s hear from the players.

Here are postgame reactions from the clubhouse:

Gio Gonzalez

On if he’s starting to feel more like himself each start after a month on the DL: “Yeah absolutely. From the last start to this start, it’s just building confidence and velocity. Today it was good to see some high numbers in velocity today. It shows it’s just building strength. Obviously coming from the DL and trying to come back, it’s just going to be a process. It’s not going to happen overnight. But it’s good to see that little by little, using the fastball and the changeup at the same time, it’s good to know that when you need them, they’ll be there.”

On stopping the three-game losing streak: “It’s good to do that. Again, the Cubs are a tough lineup. When they get going, when they get hot, they’ll get runners on and move them over, play the small game. I was saying that earlier to some of the guys on their team. They’re pesky. They’ll definitely make you earn your win. They kept it close the whole game. It was one of those games we needed to win. A tough turnaround, but we ended up pulling out a win.”

Anthony Rendon

On his approach on his eighth-inning triple: “Just trying to put the barrel on the ball. Don’t change my approach whatsoever, no matter what the situation is.”

On Denard Span’s tremendous defensive fourth inning: “I actually thought the first one was gone, to tell you the truth. We just kept going back and he slowly stopped and turned around. I don’t know what he did out there but he caught it.”

On if Gonzalez looks more like the guy the Nats are used to seeing these last couple starts: “Definitely, you could tell he was more fluid and more relaxed out there. He’s back to his comfortable self. It’s exciting to watch.”

On Gonzalez getting quick outs today: “It’s awesome. It keeps us on our toes. It’s not a long inning. We get kinda restless out there. Our feet become more static and we’re not ready for plays and balls at us jump on us.”


On the catch on Justin Ruggiano’s fourth-inning fly ball to the track: “I didn’t anticipate twisting like that. I knew the ball was hit hard and my first reaction was to open up and get back. I think the win might have blew the ball the other way, that’s why I had to take my eye off the ball and spin around and find the ball and find the wall. Once I knew where the wall, I looked up and just made a play.”

On how he always seems to avoid hard contact with the wall on those types of plays: “Comes from playing football. Coming across the middle, catching the ball and then protecting yourself. I always try to know where the wall is, especially here with that brick wall. I saw Junior Lake the other day have a bad collision with the wall so it’s about trying help my pitcher but protecting myself.”

On his throw to double off Anthony Rizzo to end the fourth: “I had my eye on the ball but kinda in my peripheral I could kinda see he had kinda got out there a little too far. Had an outfield coach in Minnesota that we used to work on that. We’d always catch a fly ball and get rid of it on the run as quick as possible and work on the transfer like that. That’s what I did. That’s all I did really.”

On the win: “We definitely needed that today. The last two days haven’t been able to get anything going offensively. And just felt good to come out here this first game and get a W and set the tone and relax a little bit. We still gotta take care of business.”

On the long road trip and doubleheader: “There’s no question we’re tired but we really don’t have time to think about being tired. We gotta strap it back on and get ready to go. Thank God we’ve got a day off tomorrow. We’ll be alright. We’re professionals. We’ll make it.”

The Nats have one more game to play tonight before returning home. Nate McLouth will get the start in center as Span gets a night off. Ian Desmond will start at shortstop, while Danny Espinosa will sit for the second consecutive game as Kevin Frandsen will start once again at second base.

For the Nationals:
3B Anthony Rendon
2B Kevin Frandsen
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
CF Nate McLouth
RHP Blake Treinen

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