Gio's Nats teammates express pride in pitcher

Gio's Nats teammates express pride in pitcher

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals were impressed with how left-hander Gio Gonzalez performed against Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday.

Gonzalez pitched five shutout innings as the Americans defeated Puerto Rico, 7-1, at Marlins Park. Gonzalez grew up in Hialeah, Fla., which is 10 miles from the ballpark.

Relievers Craig Stammen and Tyler Moore watched the Classic game together at a restaurant and noticed how dominant Gonzalez was in the game.

"It was good to see him handle the situation with a lot on the line," Stammen said. "He performed probably the best I've seen him perform in that situation. He usually throws a lot of fastballs and then, later on, mixes in his curveball. That makes him pretty unhittable. Last night, his fastball was really good. It was down and away, down and in. They couldn't hit his curveball because of that."

Said Clippard, "He looked unbelievable. He was putting his fastball wherever he wanted it. His breaking stuff, he was putting away guys. He threw a lot more changeup than I'm used to seeing him throw. It was a great outing. I was happy for him and the USA team, but it's good for us if he stays on that level."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Paul Hagen is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.