The Washington Times - October 7, 2012, 09:40PM

ST. LOUIS — After the Nationals’ 3-2 win over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the division series, manager Davey Johnson spoke about Gio Gonzalez’s strange outing, Tyler Moore’s big hit, Ian Desmond’s contribution and much more.

On Gio Gonzalez’s control problems:
Well, we talked about it early and I said a couple of times he’s tested me where he threw 50 pitches the first two innings and settled down. This was a real test on a big stage. I resisted the temptation, I was about one hitter away from getting Stammen ready, and he got out of it and pitched pretty good until he got a little wild there at the end. But he kept us in there, and that’s what your ace does.

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On the pivotal seventh and eighth innings:
Well, actually, I’ve been second‑guessing myself there, because I should have got to Mattheus one hitter earlier, but I got him up after one hitter got on. And then he was ready for Holliday. I have a lot of confidence in Stammen. He’s also my lucky horseshoe pitcher. If I leave him in there, we usually score two the next inning. But so is Mattheus. But Holliday, I looked to him and I said, we need a couple groundballs here to get out of this, and he did it.

On the string of events leading to pinch-hitting Tyler Moore:
I actually did not think that Mike was going to get Boggs. But I told Tracy when he went up there, if he takes him out and brings in Rzepczynski or whatever his name is, I’m hitting Moore. And he didn’t, so I hit Moore. I’d rather have the veteran player in that situation than a rookie. But rookies have been having success all year. They have been doing a heck of a job, and Moore has got some big hits for us, as he did tonight.

On Moore’s contribution this season:
He’s been fabulous. Him, Harper. Moore was always a first baseman. And when Morse went down I had to play him in the outfield and actually had a problem hitting right‑handed and made it easy for me to platoon and Moore did a heck of a job. He launched some balls with his bat and played good defense, both of them did. And that was a strength with the injury to Morse and Werth and those guys, Harper. Those guys have been great.

On bunting with Danny Espinosa:
I think Danny, after he struck out three times in a row, put the go‑ahead run in scoring position. To go ahead was big. I don’t like to bunt. I’m kind of from the Earl Weaver school: just keep swinging. Don’t like to steal that much, either. I don’t like to give up outs. But that’s a situation where I felt like if I get one runner in scoring position, and Danny did a terrific job, perfect bunt. Actually I thought about running Edwin Jackson to third, but I didn’t want to put Edwin in that situation if there was a bang‑bang play at home and lose my third game starter. But he was ready. Just something that once we got him over there, somebody get a hit and we go ahead.

On what he likes about Moore’s approach at the plate:
I mean, he’s got a great stroke. He’s short through the ball. He’s got a great future. He’s done‑‑ all of my young guys have done a great job, out of position and not in a regular role. … I mean, that’s unbelievable, for young guys in different roles defensively, they have had great years.

On Ian Desmond’s three-hit game:
Ian Desmond is one heck of a player. For me, I mean, I would have to vote for Adam LaRoche to be the MVP, but it’s a toss‑up with Ian Desmond, the things he’s done. Got a lot of big hits, gifted defensively. I mean, he’s been outstanding. I can’t say enough about Ian. Kind of put him under my wing. He’s been a fun project from two or three years ago when I was a consultant. He asked me one time, who in the heck is‑‑ I forget who it was‑‑ Kevin Mitchell. Kevin Mitchell was a third baseman that ended up playing short, the outfield, had 350 at‑bats‑‑ I told him, you’re a shortstop. Don’t think like you’re another player. You guys have probably heard that story.