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Nationals' Gonzalez throws a gem, blanks Cardinals

Friday, August 31, 2012 | 9:46 p.m. CDT; updated 9:51 p.m. CDT, Friday, August 31, 2012
Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez wipes a shaving cream pie off his face after pitching a complete game shutout against the Cardinals Friday night

WASHINGTON — Gio Gonzalez earned his 17th win with his first career shutout, and the Nationals handed Adam Wainwright his shortest start this season as Washington routed the St. Louis Cardinals 10-0 on Friday night.

Adam LaRoche, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each drove in two runs and the Nationals sent 10 batters to the plate during a four-run third inning against Wainwright (13-11), who entered 5-0 in August.

Perfect through three innings, Gonzalez (17-7) held the suddenly anemic St. Louis lineup hitless through four innings. He finished with eight strikeouts and walked three during his 119-pitch outing en route to his fourth win in five starts and third career complete game.

The left-hander tied Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto and New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey for the major league lead in wins.

Zimmerman smacked a two-run homer in the eighth inning and Jayson Werth had three hits for the NL East-leading Nationals, who have won three straight, two coming against the slumping Cardinals.

St. Louis, the National League leaders in batting average and runs scored, has tallied only one run during their four-game losing streak while allowing 32. The Cardinals entered the day one-half game ahead of Pittsburgh for the final National League wild-card slot.

LaRoche's single in the first inning drove in two runs.

Harper finished 2-for-4, his third straight game with two hits, including a two-run single in the fifth. The 19-year old is batting .429 (6 of 14) with two homers and eight RBIs in his last three games.

The Nationals have won five straight against the Cardinals overall and eight of nine at home dating back to 2010.

Wainwright allowed six runs and nine hits with three walks and three strikeouts. The right-hander yielded only six earned runs in 36 2/3 innings over his previous five starts.

Gonzalez walked two straight starting the fourth. He was out of danger two batters later, getting Matt Holliday to ground into a double play and Allen Craig to fly out.

Yadier Molina ended any thoughts of a no-hitter with a leadoff double in the fifth, but the Cardinals left him stranded. Two more runners reached in the sixth, but Gonzalez escaped with another double play.

The Nationals picked on Wainwright early with two runs on four hits in the first inning as LaRoche's opposite field single to left scored Werth and Harper.

Wainwright also put consecutive runners on opening the third inning and after recording one out, he allowed three straight run-scoring hits, starting with Ian Desmond's single.

After a wild pitch advanced two runners into scoring position, Danny Espinosa and Kurt Suzuki each drove in a run with the fourth and fifth hits of the inning. Gonzalez laid down a sacrifice bunt and Werth laced an RBI single for a 6-0 lead.

Werth finished 3-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI.

Before the game the Cardinals placed All-Star shortstop Rafael Furcal on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right elbow. Shortstop Pete Kozma, promoted from Triple-A Memphis, batted eighth and finished 0-for-2 in his season debut.


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