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Make no mistake, Gonzalez is beloved in the Nationals’ clubhouse. His locker was decorated with $20 bills after the game, anonymous donations to commemorate his victory total. Reliever Ryan Mattheus departed the clubhouse wearing a Gonzalez No. 47 T-shirt from this summer’s All-Star Game.

The lefty from South Florida won his new teammates over almost immediately in spring training with his work ethic and outgoing nature. His work on the mound since Opening Day has only deepened the respect for him inside the clubhouse.

“He’s a great person,” said Zimmerman. “He comes ready to work every day, and every time it’s his turn to go out there, he’s ready. He obviously has a great personality. I think that’s kind of the way this whole team is, though. He fit in perfectly with all of us.”

There’s no question Gonzalez is thrilled to be a part of what’s happening in Washington. He’s well aware of what general manager Mike Rizzo gave up to bring him to town, and that knowledge has helped drive him to the best season of his life.

“This to me is like saying a thank you to Rizzo for taking a chance with me and giving me an opportunity to play in this great organization,” he said. “… And I’m not going to stop here. I’m going to continue to try to do my best every year.”