Gonzalez rebounded, but slow start doomed chance for win

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez could not solve red-hot Rockies leadoff man DJ LeMahieu. And the Nationals defense let Gonzalez down at a key moment as the Rockies took the opener of a four-game series 5-1 at Nats Park.

LeMahieu is an early candidate for National League Player of the Month after going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two homers and a career-high four RBIs to lead Colorado to its fifth win on the road.

Gonzalez allowed a solo shot to LeMahieu to open the game. He then walked Chris Iannetta. After registering two outs, including a strikeout of Trevor Story, he got Ian Desmond to pop up to shallow right field in what looked like a manageable opportunity to end the rally.

But the wind was swirling and manager Davey Martinez thought second baseman Howie Kendrick broke the wrong way. Kendrick dropped the ball and Desmond was safe at second. The run scored from first and suddenly the Rockies were up 2-0.

A LeMahieu RBI double made it 3-0 in the second inning.

Gonzalez-Throws-Blue-Sidebar.jpg"They just kept fouling some good pitches off," Gonzalez said. "Worked the pitch count and spit on pitches close, pretty good pitches. They did a good job. They kept fouling off pitches, working the count and working my pitch count up."

Gonzalez shut Colorado down from there, but without the Nats hitting, the Rockies' early advantage was more than enough for the visitors to take control.

Following the second of four big hits from LeMahieu, Gonzalez managed to retire nine of the next 14 batters he faced. Afterward, Gonzalez definitely saw some positives from the start. He felt better after those first two innings were out of the way.

"I think it's a positive outing, especially when you are going up against a team that's kind of putting some hits together and working the pitch count like that," Gonzalez said. "They were just doing a good job just making me work. Just keeping the as close as possible.

"It sucks because I wish I would have got in that groove a little earlier in the game. Probably would've been a different outcome. I felt like I started up a little too late. Third inning, that's when I started feeling it a little more comfortable going after them."

Martinez thought Gonzalez wasn't as aggressive as he had seen in the past. He also lamented the Kendrick drop that would have ended the first inning.

"I really don't think he was attacking the strike zone like he typically would," Martinez said. "Falling behind a little bit. And again, he got out of some big jams and kept us fairly close in the game.

"We got one ball, fly ball, and we should've been out of the inning with just one run that inning. So that hurts a little."

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