|BOSTON, MA - JUNE 9: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of interleague play at Fenway Park on June 9, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)|
The first year National, Gonzalez, utilized one of the best curveballs in all of baseball on the way to his eighth win of the season on Saturday. The 26 year old southpaw limited the Red Sox offense to just 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB with 5 K, bringing his ERA in '12 to a fantastic 2.35.
Sox starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, in his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago, showed encouraging signs in allowing just a run in the first three innings, but the Nationals got to him in the fourth for 3 more to take a 4-0 lead. He ended the outing with 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB and 8 K.
Ian Desmond proved to be the thorn in Boston's side in that fourth inning when he hit a 2-run single that ended up being the hit that decided the game. Adam LaRoche hit a solo HR in the second and Michael Morse got the fourth inning scoring started with a ground rule double to drive in Bryce Harper.
The Red Sox rallied in the seventh with a pair of walks and a Mike Aviles single to load the bases for pinch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia who smashed the first pitch he saw from Mike Gonzalez mid way up the green monster. Gonzalez was able to strike out Daniel Nava and get Dustin Pedroia to pop out in foul ground to end the only real chance the Red Sox had to tie the game.
Franklin Morales provided another stellar relief appearance, pitching 3 innings without allowing a hit or run with 3 strikeouts but the Sox couldn't take advantage and Tyler Clippard picked up his 7th save of the season, allowing just a hit in the ninth inning.
Boston will look to salvage one game against Washington on Sunday at Fenway Park with Jon Lester facing another tough pitcher in Jordan Zimmermann and his 2.82 ERA on the season. It doesn't get any easier for the last place Sox.
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