Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals nearly no-hit the New York Mets on Monday, adding to their offensive woes at home.
Things might not be much easier for the Mets on Tuesday night as Washington sends Jordan Zimmermann to the mound looking for his NL-leading 17th victory.
The Nationals (74-69) claimed their 16th victory in 20 tries at Citi Field and their fifth in six games overall on Monday with a 9-0 win. Gonzalez yielded only a seventh-inning single while recording his second career shutout.
It was a continuation of New York's yearlong struggles at home. The Mets' 235 runs at home are the fewest in baseball and their .224 batting average is the lowest. They've tallied 24 runs while losing seven of nine at home, which even includes an 11-3 victory over Philadelphia on Aug. 29.
"Fortunately, we put a ball in play where no one was at so we go home at least knowing we didn't get no-hit," manager Terry Collins said. "Obviously, we feel very fortunate."
New York (64-78) appears to again have its work cut out Tuesday against Zimmermann (16-8, 3.30 ERA), who is tied with Adam Wainwright for the league's most victories.
Since matching a career worst by allowing eight runs in a loss to the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 19, Zimmermann's posted a 2.82 ERA in three starts - though that includes a 3-2 defeat to the Mets on Aug. 30. The right-hander allowed three runs and six hits over 7 2-3 innings, falling to 0-3 in four starts versus New York this year despite a 3.29 ERA. He's received a total of two runs of support over 27 1-3 innings in those games.
Washington's offense appears poised to provide better support given its recent play. The Nationals have totaled 24 runs and 36 hits while winning three in a row despite being without Bryce Harper, who likely won't return until Wednesday due to a sore left hip.
"All the tests, the MRI and all that didn't reveal any structural damage," manager Davey Johnson told the team's official website. "There is just some inflammation in there. If you take care of that, he is good to go."
The Nationals opened Monday's game with back-to-back homers from Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman, with Span's extending his hitting streak to 20 games. Span also collected two more singles and is 34 for 83 (.410) during the streak whiles scoring 14 runs.
They'll face Dillon Gee (11-9, 3.53), who has foiled Nationals before. He's 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA in five starts versus Washington this year, though he has surrendered five homers over 14 2-3 innings in the last two.
The right-hander is riding a 10-start stretch overall in which he's 5-2 with a 1.94 ERA while throwing at least seven innings seven times. He's also gone at least six frames in 13 straight outings.
Washington catcher Wilson Ramos, who also homered Monday, is hitting .427 in 25 career games versus New York with 22 RBIs.
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