Bryce Harper is congratulated by Ryan Zimmerman after homering in the sixth.
Hitting highlight: Just because you're hitting second doesn't mean you have to hit like a traditional No. 2 hitter. Harper didn't quite seem to grasp that during last night's game, when he twice put down sacrifice bunts. He was back in the 2-spot again today, but this time Bryce decided to just be Bryce. He crushed an opposite-field homer in the sixth, his 12th of the season (the most by any 20-year-old in his team's first 50 games since Orlando Cepeda in 1958). Then he ignited the game-winning rally in the 10th with a double to right, ultimately racing around to score on Desmond's RBI single. It was an incredibly eventful (and often painful) road trip for Harper, but he'll feel much better on that long flight home after this performance.
Pitching highlight: Given the way the Nationals' lineup has struggled to produce, Gonzalez had to go into this game knowing his margin for error was perilously thin. So how did the left-hander respond? By putting up seven consecutive zeroes without giving the Giants an opportunity to seriously threaten at the plate. Gio's toughest inning might well have been the bottom of the first, when he put the afternoon's first two men on base and then had to try to get out of the jam against the heart of the Giants lineup. Which he did with aplomb. He got Buster Posey to pop out and then struck out both Hunter Pence and Brett Pill on curveballs to get out of the inning. Gonzalez cruised after that, closing out the seventh inning on 107 pitches. He did give up a couple of hard-hit balls in that inning, though, and so there was some question whether that should have signaled the end of his day. Davey Johnson, though, let Gio return for the eighth. He got an out but then issued a walk on his final pitch. That walk wound up scoring the tying run and spoiling an otherwise fantastic start.
Key stat: Twenty-four of Harper's 34 career home runs have come with nobody on base. The other 10 all came with only one man on base.
Up next: After this long road trip, the Nationals get to enjoy a day off Thursday before welcoming the Phillies to town for the weekend. Jordan Zimmermann faces Kyle Kendrick in Friday's 7:05 p.m. opener.