Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 7/15/14
Talk about a pitcher's duel early. Between Gio Gonzalez and Cliff Lee, the pitching was stellar though the first four innings. Gonzalez and Lee went pretty much hit-for-hit while giving up no runs. Lee, who experienced some tough luck last season, definitely has his good stuff, and Gio has been on fire for the last month or so, which created a real pitcher's duel through the first four innings. In the fifth inning, the Nats bats decided to wake up a little bit. Anthony Rendon hit a home run to left with none out, and then Wilson Ramos decided to hit his own homer to right for his very own blast in the very next at-bat, giving the Nationals the 2-0 lead. With two out, Ian Desmond hit a double, which was only about five feet shy of the third home run of the inning. The inning ended, but it gave Gio a two-run cushion to work with for the bottom of the fifth and beyond. Gio did his best to negate his offense's efforts in the bottom of the same inning, though. He walked the first two batters of the inning, but then Carlos Ruiz lined out to Ryan Zimmerman for the first out.  Lee dropped a nice bunt to advance the runners, but it gave the Nats the second out of the fifth. Gio's curve was no competition for Ben Revere, though, as he struck him out to end the inning with no real damage. The Nats offense took no time adding to that lead in the sixth after Gio got out of a tough spot. For the second straight inning, the Nats hits back-to-back jacks. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth both hit solo shots with none out to give the Nats the 4-0 lead. Ben Revere made a nice diving catch on what looked like a Wilson Ramos gapper to end the inning, but the good guys left the top of the inning with a nice lead. The bats for both teams stayed quiet for a bit, but Darin Ruf hit a solo, opposite field homer to right field with two out in the seventh to make it a 4-1 game. Gio got himself in a jam after that homer but got out of the inning without any further damage. Tyler Clippard shut down the eighth inning for the Nats, and then the offense added a run in the ninth inning on a poorly played sacrifice bunt by the Phillies to take a 5-1 lead. Despite it being a non-save situation, Rafael Soriano still came in to finish this one for the Nats, with help from a nice Denard Span catch against the wall for the second out in the ninth, as they got a game closer to the Braves in the NL East. The Nats will try to split the four-game series on Thursday evening with All-Star Jordan Zimmermann on the mound facing Kyle Kendrick.
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