|Nationals 4, Astros 3|
|Read the full box score at MLB|
Gio Gonzalez pitched a complete game and tacked on a 2-run homerun to help lift the Nationals over the Astros 4-3 in 9 Innings (117 pitches) on Wednesday night in Houston. Gio gave up 7 hits and allowed just 3 runs in the gem, striking out 6 and picking up his 14th win.
The story of the night was the Bryce Harper vs Angel Hernandez saga. Hernandez, the home plate umpire, squeezed Bryce Harper on 3 different pitches garnering 2 temper tantrum reactions from the rookie.
The offense hasn't been driving guys in as of late and the story was the same on Wednesday. The Nats left 11 runners stranded on base and were only 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. That number included an inning where the bases were loaded with 0 out and the Nats failed to plate a single run. The Nats were outhit by the Astros 9 to 7.
The thing ESPN will be talking about happened in the 4th inning Harper took ball 4 low and outside, but Angel Hernandez punched him out to end the inning. Harper responded by getting in Angel's face to complain until the Nationals coaching staff came out to get him away.
Hernandez remained calm during the Harper yellfest but he did not let it slide. On Harper's next at bat in the 6th inning, a low and outside pitch had Harper headed towards first base. However, the umpire actually called it a strike and Harper, frustrated, took his time walking back to the batters box.
The next pitch was the same one, low and outside, and Hernandez punched Harper out again to end the inning. Harper almost smashed his bat into the ground again but held back and instead opted to gave Hernandez some grief as he walked back towards the dugout screaming "NO WAY!"
The incidents ended there but Harper was clearly distraught. Harper is in the midst of a slump and he is not just getting mad at umpires. Every time Harper misses on a pitch and pops it up you can see the frustration in Harper's reaction. The rookie has a hot temper and it will be interesting to see what happens if all the anger is released during a game.
The game almost ended on another Roger Bernadina diving catch but the Shark came up a bit short and couldn't make the catch, allowing a run to score. Gio finished out the game for a Nats W despite allowing (really a bad Bryce Harper throw allowed it) the game-winning run to reach 2nd base.
The Nationals go for the sweep on Thursady night...