Gio Gonzalez left after facing two batters in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 5-4 walk-off win over the Angels with minor tightness in his left shoulder, according to Nationals Manager Matt Williams. Gonzalez had retired 11 straight batters before he walked Mike Trout to begin the inning and then allowed a game-tying double to Albert Pujols. At only 83 pitches, however, Williams took Gonzalez out of the game.
The cold and windy weather contributed to the “little bit of shoulder tightness,” Williams said. Gonzalez felt it after the fifth inning. He left the game the next inning with the scored tied at 1 and a runner at second base. After he walked Trout, Williams got rookie reliever Aaron Barrett up in the bullpen.
“He’s fine,” Williams said of Gonzalez. “His shoulder is a little tight. We want to make sure he’s okay. It’s not an ideal situation to take him out. Ordinarily, he’d stay in that game. We have to make sure that he’s healthy.”
Gonzalez said his shoulder felt tighter with the cool weather and hadn’t felt it before the game, only until later in Wednesday’s start. At first pitch, the temperature was 54 degrees with 12 mph winds, and it got colder as the game went on. Even in the sixth inning, Gonzalez’s fastball velocity hit 94 mph but he said he understood why Williams took him out of the game.
“After the fifth inning, just started getting a little colder,” Gonzalez said. “Felt a little tight. And Matt just started seeing that in the sixth inning. I feel fine now, did all my exercises, feel great.”
Gonzalez, who has never been on the major league disabled list, said he expects to make his next start.