PHILADELPHIA — Gio Gonzalez pitched well enough for a victory. Unfortunately for the Nationals left-hander, his Phillies counterpart was a tad better.
Gonzalez allowed one run on four hits in 7 1-3 innings, but Phillies right-hander Roberto Hernandez pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings to lead Philadelphia to a 1-0 victory over Washington Sunday.
“It was just a good pitchers’ duel,” Gonzalez said. “I just tried to keep us in the game as long as possible.”
Hernandez (2-1) struck out three and walked three while allowing four hits. His start was moved up two days because Cole Hamels had the flu, and he retired 14 of 15 batters in the middle innings.
“Gio pitched well and their guy did too,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “It was a good, old-fashioned pitching duel.”
Chase Utley hit an RBI single in the first inning for the only run.
Philadelphia scored when Jimmy Rollins hit a one-out triple and Utley followed with a single.
“That set the tone for our game,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Ben Revere tripled with one out in the Philadelphia third, and Gonzalez didn’t give up another hit until Jayson Nix’s leadoff single in the eighth.
Gonzalez got some help from his defense during that stretch, as Nate McLouth robbed Rollins of a hit with a diving catch in left field to open the sixth.
The slumping McLouth didn’t have success with the bat, though, going 0 for 3. He has just four hits in his last 44 at-bats, and has been filling in for the injured Bryce Harper.
Denard Span opened the eighth with a single off Hernandez and the Philadelphia starter departed after Kevin Frandsen’s sacrifice bunt.
Mike Adams, who gave up the lead and took the loss in Friday night’s series-opening loss to the Nationals, got Jayson Werth to ground out. Antonio Bastardo then relieved and walked Adam LaRoche before striking out Anthony Rendon.
“We’ve had some really key hits over the course of the season,” Williams said. “It just wasn’t our day.”
Said Gonzalez, “We’re still good and the guys are working hard. I’m not worried about this team.”
The Nationals couldn’t score against Hernandez, who was supposed to start Tuesday’s home game against Toronto before being informed on Saturday that he would be moved up two days to switch with the ailing Hamels.
“Not a big deal, whatever I had to do,” Hernandez said. “I kept the ball down and tried not to overthrow. I’m happy. It was a great game for my team and for me, too.”
Sandberg likes what Hernandez has added to the Phillies’ rotation as the fifth starter.
“We like his stuff,” Sandberg said. “He’s a ground ball pitcher. He has a durable arm. He likes the ball. He’s reliable and he can throw a lot of pitches in the game.
“I like the way he’s throwing. He solidifies our rotation and is a good complement. He’s funky out there, he’s different and I like what he’s doing right now.”
Adams and Bastardo each got an out in the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances.
The Phillies unsuccessfully challenged a safe call by first-base umpire Fieldin Culbreth in the second. Culbreth ruled that Ian Desmond beat Rollins’ throw from shortstop to first baseman Ryan Howard. The delay lasted 2 minutes, 42 seconds.
NOTES: A former Phillies minor leaguer, Gonzalez dropped to 4-2 in seven career starts against Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park. Gonzalez has a 2.00 ERA in the hitter-friendly ballpark. … Howard went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Gonzalez, dropping him to 0 for 11 with six strikeouts lifetime against the Washington lefty. … The Phillies host the Blue Jays for a short, two-game series beginning on Monday night when Toronto LHP J.A. Happ (0-0, 4.15) is scheduled to face Philadelphia RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.52). Hamels is set to start Tuesday. … The Nationals begin a three-game home series against the Dodgers on Monday night when RHP Jordan Zimmerman (2-1, 3.27) is scheduled to face Los Angeles RHP Zach Greinke (5-0, 2.04).
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