July 31 was a special day for Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. It’s the birthday of pitcher Jose Fernandez, the Marlins’ All-Star who died last September in a boating accident. Gonzalez was a close friend of Fernandez. At Marlins Park on Monday, Gonzalez and Bryce Harper requested to see Fernandez’s baby daughter in Fernandez’s mom’s first visit to the ballpark since his death, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported.
Gonzalez went out and pitched a gem against the Marlins, bringing a no-hitter into the ninth inning. It was broken up when Dee Gordon it a 1-1 curve ball into center field for a single. Gonzalez was lifted at that point, receiving a standing ovation from the Miami crowd. Sean Doolittle came in and wiped out Gordon when Giancarlo Stanton hit into a 5-4-3 double play. After Christian Yelich singled, the lefty got Marcell Ozuna to pop out to end the game for his seventh save.
Over eight innings, Gonzalez gave up just the one hit and three walks with five strikeouts on 106 pitches. He’s now 9-5 with a 2.66 ERA and a 132/58 K/BB ratio in 142 1/3 innings this season. With the win, the Nationals pad their least in the NL East to 14 games.
After the game, speaking to MASN’s Dan Kolko, Gonzalez said, “Tonight was more of an emotional night, kind of like a special night. I got to see the Fernandez family. And what a night.” When asked about Fernandez specifically, Gonzalez said he received a special ball signed with Fernandez’s initials before choking up with tears.