Gio Gonzalez impressive in rehab start for Potomac Nationals

nationals_logoThe Potomac Nationals (36-29, 19-12) scrapped out a 3-2 victory on Thursday night against the Winston-Salem Dash (28-37, 12-19) to clinch the first half Northern division title.

LHP Gio Gonzalez made his second P-Nats rehab start Thursday with a stabilizing performance to get him back on track to the majors. Gonzalez tossed four innings in a start in which he was limited to 79 pitches. He surrendered just two runs on two hits while striking out seven in his four innings.

The deciding inning was undoubtedly the eighth for both the defense and offense of the Nationals. The top of the eighth saw an appeal play at third base turn into a momentum-swinging double play. With one out in the inning, the Dash had runners at second and third with one out. C Mike Marjama lofted a fly ball to right field. 1B Grant Buckner tagged and scored easily on the play. After the throw came into the infield, 3B Khayyan Norfork called for the ball at third. He stepped on the bag, and home plate umpire Chase Eade called Buckner out for leaving the base early.

The bottom of the inning was all about DH Jeff Kobernus, who was making his third rehab start for Potomac. Kobernus walked with one out in the frame to bring up SS Stephen Perez. The designated hitter stole second base on the first pitch. Two pitches later he bolted for third. The throw from the catcher Marjama sailed into left field, and Kobernus came home on the error to give the Nats a 3-2 lead.

RHP Robert Benincasa (Sv, 11) locked up a 1-2-3 ninth to give RHP Gilberto Mendez (W, 3-3) his third win of the year.

RHP Zach Isler (L, 1-4) was handed the loss after allowing Kobernus to score in the eighth. RHP Tony Bucciferro twirled a quality start for Winston-Salem who allowed two runs in seven innings.

The early runs all came one at a time. Winston-Salem score one in the third on a RF Jason Coats RBI-single. Buckner tallied his third home run of the season in the sixth to tie the game at two.
Potomac put one up in the second on LF Oscar Tejeda’s tenth dinger of the year. Norfork’s double in the fifth put the Nats up 2-1 when RF Randolph Oduber scored.

The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network, which is accessible at www.potomacnationals.com, will broadcast the second and third of a five game series vs the Dash on Friday Monday, June 13th. Broadcast coverage will begin with the P-Nats Leadoff Show at 5:15pm in preparation for the 5:30pm first pitch of game one. The two teams will play two seven-inning games on Friday. RHP John Simms (1-3, 3.92) will start for Potomac in game one with LHP Matthew Spann (4-1, 3.38) pitching in the second game. The Dash will send Frank Montas to the mound in game one with Brad Goldberg to follow in game two.


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