That the left-hander proceeded to completely reverse course and not only salvage a respectable start, but thoroughly dominate for the next seven innings, speaks volumes about the progress he's made as a pitcher.
"He's a perfectionist, and he doesn't want to give up runs," catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "His job is to keep us in the ballgame. He's starting to understand that he can give up a couple runs in one inning, and make sure you bear down the rest of the game."
Gonzalez has now done this a few times, most notably on May 5 in Pittsburgh, when he gave up two quick runs in the first inning and loaded the bases with no outs, then escaped without surrendering another run all afternoon.
He was rewarded for that effort with a win, but incredibly that's the last time he's been credited with a W despite some fantastic performances since.
Over his last eight starts, Gonzalez boasts a 2.18 ERA, a sparkling 1.01 WHIP, nearly a strikeout per inning and seven quality starts. Yet his record over that span is 0-1 because the Nationals have scored only 22 total runs in those eight games (six of them coming last night)
Gonzalez said all the right things last night, insisting he doesn't fret over the lack of run support and deflecting credit to his teammates, especially Suzuki.
The praise, though, goes right back to the lefty. He may not have the won-loss record to show it, but the rest of the Nationals clubhouse appreciates how well he's pitched this season, especially how well he pitched Wednesday night after a shaky start to the evening.
"I think sometimes he pitches better like that, when he gives up a run or two early and he has to buckle down," right fielder Jayson Werth said. "He pitches pretty good from behind. I've seen it happen before. But you like Gio on the mound. He's in the game. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball when he's got his good stuff going."