(Kathy Willens/AP)

3:49, END: The Nats lose, 9-0. They’ve been shut out twice in their past three games, and today they managed four hits.

3:20, TOP 7: Just got done speaking with Gio Gonzalez, who actually called his start “a step in the right direction.” We’ll explain later. The Nats are down 9-0 now after Ross Detwiler allowed one run in the sixth. The Nationals have been slumping lately, and they have only three hits today.

2:28, BOT 4: The beating continued for Gonzalez. He allowed a two-run single to David Freese, which put the Cardinals ahead, 8-0. The he walked Molina, his fourth of the game. His totals are up to 10 hits and four walks. Ryan Mattheus warming in the bullpen.

2:22, BOT 4: This looks like one of those dead-arm spring training starts by Gio Gonzalez. He allowed a two-run homer to Tyler Greene, the eighth hit the Cardinals have pounded off his today to go with three walks, one of which immediately followed the homer. The Cards have scored six runs, and the only run Gonzalez recorded this inning came on a sacrifice bunt by Garcia. Gonzalez is likely not long for the mound.

2:07, END 3: Gio Gonzalez gave up a two-RBI single to Yadier Molina, the fifth hit he’s allowed in three innings, to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. Gonzalez has also walked two batters, and he’s had trouble throwing his curveball for strikes.

1:47, TOP 3: The Cardinals got on the board with a double steal and a little bit of a sloppy play by the Nats. Gonzalez started the inning by allowing to soft singles. He got two quick outs, and with men on corners – Shane Robinson on third, Tony Cruz on first – the Cardinals sent Cruz. Wilson Ramos made a high throw to second, which pulled Steve Lombardozzi off the bag. Robinson bolted home, and Lombardozzi didn’t try to throw him out. He fired to first baseman Chad Tracy, who dropped the ball. Lombardozzi made a heads up play to race over, pick up the ball and throw to second baseman Blanco, who made the tag to at least end the inning. It’s 1-0, Cards.

Not surprisingly, Gonzalez struck out swinging in his first plate appearance. He actually bats right-handed and wears medieval-quality armor on his right arm.

1:34, MID 2: Gonzalez got through the first with only minor trouble, stranding two after a single and a walk. He struck out David Freese and induced a grounder from Yadier Molina to escape the jam. Roger Bernadina reached on a bunt, and he scrambled to third on a pickoff throwing error by Garcia. But he couldn’t score after Brett Carroll struck out and Andres Blanco lined out. Still 0-0.

1:13, MID 1: The suddenly walking-wounded Nationals’ game just got underwent against the Cardinals in Jupiter, with Gio Gonzalez making his fourth tune-up for the season. He should be able to throw about 80 pitches in five innings against a lineup that includes Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina. Jaime Garcia is on the mound, and Rick Ankiel has the Nats’ first hit, a line drive single to right. Ankiel has looked good at the plate so far spring.