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Perhaps no one takes more pleasure in that act each day that Gonzalez, the oft-smiling left-hander. As the Nationals‘ trainers, Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty rushed to the mound in the seventh when Gonzalez caught a cleat and looked, for a moment, to be hurt, they arrived to find him laughing. After his seventh win in 10 tries, he had all the more reason to smile.

“I think Gio’s a No. 1 pitcher,” Harper said. “Every time we go out there I think we’re going to win with him on the bump.

“Hopefully,” he added, “he can win a Cy Young this year. That’d be great.”