The Washington Nationals won their third consecutive game with a 7-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves thanks to Gio Gonzalez.
Gonzalez allowed just two runs with eight strikeouts in seven innings in MLB action on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old, who improved to 15-7 with a 2.68 ERA and 179 strikeouts this season, has ditched his mercurial label to provide Washington with a bona fide three-headed pitching attack for the postseason.
Starting pitching has arguably been the Nationals' biggest downfall recently in the postseason. Ace Max Scherzer has struggled to provide his best form. Stephen Strasburg, who is also pitching like an ace this season, has not featured in a playoff game since 2014 due to an extensive injury history.
However, this year, heading into the closing stretch before what promises to be fervent postseason, the Nationals have a rotation deep enough to make some noise.
Dusty Baker will likely try to send Scherzer out on the mound as much as the reigning National League (NL) Cy Young award winner can handle. But unlike seasons past, Baker has two starters behind Scherzer pitching at an elite level.
New York Yankees 11-3 Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers 2-3 Oakland Athletics
Philadelphia Phillies 7-5 Los Angeles Dodgers
Toronto Blue Jays 5-15 Kansas City Royals
Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves 3-7 Washington Nationals
San Diego Padres 7-13 Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners 6-8 Texas Rangers
Miami Marlins 9-2 New York Mets
San Francisco Giants 4-0 Colorado Rockies
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 Milwaukee Brewers
Baltimore Orioles 0-9 Boston Red Sox
Cincinnati Reds 2-9 St Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Angels 5-6 Cleveland Indians
MOUSTAKAS SETS RECORD, SALE CELEBRATES MILESTONE
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas set a new Royals franchise record by swatting his 37th home run of the season in a win over the Blue Jays. He finished the game with three hits and two runs scored.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale struck out 13 Orioles to reach 300 strikeouts this season. Sale tossed eight scoreless innings to become the fourth pitcher since 1900 with 300 strikeouts in his first season with a team.
ARENADO AND RIZZO STRUGGLE
Rockies star Nolan Arenado and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo both went 0 for four in matching loses for their teams. Rizzo and the Cubs fell to the Rays, while the Rockies were shut out by the Giants. Colorado, however, remain a game in front of the Brewers for the final NL wildcard spot when the Brewers lost to the Pirates.
NUMBER 56 FOR STANTON
Giancarlo Stanton hit his 56th home run of the season. The Marlins slugger collected three RBIs (120) while leading the Marlins to a win over the Mets.
56 is a rocket indeed. pic.twitter.com/hQbTYENSMF-- MLB (@MLB) September 20, 2017
CUBS AT BREWERS
The last time these two teams faced each other, Milwaukee were polishing off a road sweep at Wrigley Field. The Cubs responded by rattling off seven straight wins before losing on Wednesday. The Brewers just will not go away in the chase for the NL Central crown. They are also just one game behind the Rockies for the final NL wildcard spot. This four-game series is littered with playoff implications for a number of teams.