Gio Gonzalez survived a shaky first inning to earn a quality start.
Hitting highlight: Once again, just when it looked like he was going to have a nothing day, Tyler Moore suddenly made it all seem worthwhile. Yesterday, he struck out twice with the bases loaded before lofting the game-winning sacrifice fly. Today, he struck out three times before stepping to the plate in the eighth inning (just after Adam LaRoche had been intentionally walked) and clobbered a three-run homer to left to turn a 1-run lead into a 4-run cushion. It's been a struggle for Moore so far this season, but that right there is why the Nationals remain so confident in the 26-year-old outfielder/first baseman.
Pitching highlight: The way his first inning went — Starling Marte homered on his very first pitch, then three more Pirates reached in succession — few would have been surprised had Gonzalez crumbled. But the left-hander dug deep and righted his ship, turning in what turned out to be an impressive outing. Gonzalez retired 15 of 17 batters during one stretch, issuing only one walk and a single to the pitcher during that span. We've seen him struggle in the past to get himself back on track once things begin to go downhill. This might have been an important moment for Gio, proving he can not only stem the tide but completely reverse the trend and take back control of a ballgame.
Key stat: After homering today, Espinosa's career splits against left-handed pitchers is: .271/.342/.469. Against right-handers, his splits are: .224/.299/.389.
Up next: After a long trip, the Nationals will enjoy a day off Monday before opening an odd, two-game, interleague series with the Tigers. Jordan Zimmermann and Anibal Sanchez meet Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. in a matchup of red-hot right-handers.