CLEVELAND (AP) - Gio Gonzalez was dominant again against the Cleveland Indians. It still wasn't enough to lift the Washington Nationals to a win.
The problem for the Nationals on Friday night wasn't pitching it was their struggling offense that managed just two hits and scored its only run on a wild pitch.
Despite Gonzalez pitching seven innings and giving up only one run and three hits, the Indians scored a run in the ninth for a 2-1 victory.
Jason Kipnis' RBI fielder's choice scored Drew Stubbs with the winning run against Fernando Abad (0-1), and Gonzalez's strong effort went for naught.
``You don't want them to blow it wide open,' Gonzalez said. ``The way I see it is you try to keep your team in the game as much as possible.'
``Gio pitched really well,' said shortstop Ian Desmond, whose 15-game hitting streak ended. ``He grinded, and that's what we expect from him, and he did a great job. It's unfortunate the offense couldn't come through for him.'
Stubbs' one-out single off Abad started the winning rally before the Indians executed a perfect hit-and-run play. As Stubbs broke off first, Michael Bourn punched a ground ball through the hole that opened when Steve Lombardozzi went to cover second base. Stubbs advanced to third before Bourn stole second.
Kipnis hit a hard ground ball to the right side. First baseman Adam LaRoche made a diving backhanded stop and fired a throw to catcher Kurt Suzuki, but Stubbs slid in under the tag.
``He beat the throw, it's as simple as that,' Suzuki said. ``Stubbs is probably one of the fastest guys in the league, you know, and he just beat the throw.'
Joe Smith (3-0) retired the side in order in the ninth for the Indians, who have won three straight after losing eight in a row.
Gonzalez gave up a two-out homer to Ryan Raburn in the fourth, which tied it 1-1. In his career, Raburn is 7-for-13 (.538) with three home runs against Gonzalez.
Masterson's bases-loaded wild pitch in the third inning gave the Nationals their run. Walks to Suzuki and Roger Bernadina, along with Lombardozzi's single, loaded the bases. Masterson then bounced a 1-1 pitch in the dirt, with Ryan Zimmerman batting, to score Suzuki.
Masterson escaped further trouble, striking out Zimmerman and getting LaRoche on a groundout with runners on second and third to end the inning.
``We had the right guys up with runners in scoring position with less than two outs,' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. ``Didn't put the ball in play. We've got to be better than that.'
Masterson struck out 10 and walked four. He was removed from the game after throwing 113 pitches.
``He had a pretty good sinking fastball. He moved it around,' Johnson said. ``I didn't think his breaking ball was that great, but we certainly didn't hit it. But, a tough pitcher and give him credit.'
The Indians managed only three hits off Gonzalez, who struck out eight and walked four. Three of the walks came with two outs in the sixth, but the left-hander retired Mark Reynolds on a popup to keep the game tied.
Gonzalez, who threw a season-high 127 pitches, is 5-0 with a 0.81 ERA in six career starts against the Indians. He is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA in five career starts in Cleveland.
Despite the already high pitch count and rocky sixth, Johnson still let Gonzalez go out for the seventh inning.
``When Davey does something like that, it means something to a starting pitcher. It means a lot,' Gonzalez said.
Desmond was 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his hitting streak. Jayson Werth was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
NOTES: RHP Stephen Strasburg (strained right lat) is scheduled to come off the disabled list on Sunday to start against the Indians. ... Johnson said OF Bryce Harper (left knee) might resume baseball activities next week. Harper was given a cortisone injection Monday and was told to rest the knee for a week. ... Indians manager Terry Francona said RHP Chris Perez (shoulder tendinitis) will ``more likely than not' begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday. Perez, a two-time All-Star, threw a bullpen session Friday. The Indians closer hasn't pitched in a game since May 26. Perez and his wife pleaded not guilty Monday to misdemeanor possession charges after marijuana was mailed to their home in their dog's name. ... RHP Jordan Zimmerman (9-3) will start for Washington against LHP Scott Kazmir (3-4) on Saturday night.
The Associated Press News Service
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