ST. LOUIS — Gio Gonzalez went where few pitchers have ever gone Sunday night.
The Washington Nationals left-hander, who has a reputation for wildness, outdid himself in his post-season debut against the St. Louis Cardinals when he walked seven batters over five innings, hit another and threw a run-scoring wild pitch.
Gonzalez also made big pitches when he had to and somehow left the game having given up just two runs in what would turn out to be a 3-2 victory for his team.
“Well, we talked about it early and I said a couple of times he’s tested me where he threw 50 pitches the first two innings and settled down,” his manager Davey Johnson said. “This was a real test on a big stage.
“But he kept us in there and that’s what your ace does.”
An ‘ace,’ though, doesn’t usually walk seven batters and come away with a no-decision. In the post-season, nobody has.
Gonzalez was the sixth pitcher to walk seven or more batters in a post-season game and not have his team come out on the losing end.
When asked why he had so many problems with his control, Gonzalez was evasive.
“It was a little cold but you make adjustments,” Gonzalez said. “The second inning was a bunch of walks (four), that’s basically it. I had to make an adjustment and I found an adjustment and got the outs.”
How long did the inning seem?
“It felt like forever, I couldn’t get an out,” he replied. “You look at it for what it was, It could have got worse.”
Thanks to the Cardinals not coming through with any clutch hits, both Gonzalez and the Nats survived.