After starting strong, Gio labors in second inning

After starting strong, Gio labors in second inning

VIERA, Fla. -- It looked like Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez was going to have his best start of the spring on Monday evening against the Astros. He struck out the first five hitters he faced. Suddenly, Gonzalez had a tough time getting the third out in the second inning.

After allowing an infield single to George Springer, Carlos Corporan swung at a 1-0 pitch and hit a two-run homer to give Houston a 2-1 lead. Four batters later, the bases were loaded and Gonzalez finally was able to get that third out when Jonathan Villar flied out to center fielder Denard Span to end the threat. That turned out to be the end of Goznalez's night as the Astros won the game, 7-4. Gonzalez was scheduled to pitch one more inning.

Gonzalez felt he should have been out of the second inning when Springer's grounder tipped his glove and second baseman Zach Walters was unable to get Springer at first.

"If I jumped a little higher, we would have gotten him out. [Then I would] start the next inning off from the windup," Gonzalez said. "You kind of question it because it could have gone both ways -- Zach and myself. It's just one of those things. It's a tough break. It just stirred the pot."

Manager Matt Williams didn't seem concerned about Gonzalez's outing. The skipper went so far as to say Gonzalez was aggressive and pounded the strike zone.

"I thought he threw really well. He threw fastballs in to the right-handed hitters. He let one over [the plate to Corporan]. That happens," Williams said. "He threw curveballs for strikes. He threw fastballs from both sides of the plate. I thought he was really good."

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