R.A. Dickey, meanwhile, is trying to keep the New York Mets in contention.
The NL's co-leaders in wins will start opposite each other Thursday when the Nationals try to sweep a three-game series from the Mets, who are looking to avoid their longest losing streak in more than a year.
Washington (53-36) is trying to widen the 4 1/2-game gap on second-place Atlanta in the East standings before hosting the Braves for a four-game set starting Friday.
The Nationals - who won 5-4 on Tuesday and 4-3 on Wednesday - also have a chance to drop New York (46-45) further back by sweeping the Mets at home for the first time since Sept. 28-30, 2009.
The Mets were 2 1/2 games behind Washington at the end of June, but losing nine of 12 - including their current six-game skid - has moved them eight games off the pace.
New York last dropped seven straight April 10-16, 2011.
"There are no saviors. Just continue to battle and battle, get out of this and go win six in a row," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That's the only way you can play. We have a great clubhouse. Watch each other's backs and continue to move forward."
Facing Gonzalez (12-4, 2.90 ERA) in the nation's capital may not be the easiest way forward.
The left-hander was sharp again Saturday, but could have used some help from the offense in a 2-1 loss at Miami. He didn't get a decision after collecting nine strikeouts and allowing two runs in six innings.
"He pitched a jewel in his hometown," manager Davey Johnson said.
Gonzalez is tied with Dickey (12-1, 2.64) for the most wins in the league. They were teammates in last week's All-Star game, throwing an inning each to help the NL to an 8-0 victory.
They started opposite each other in Gonzalez's only previous meeting with the Mets, a pitchers' duel on June 22, 2011. Gonzalez, then with Oakland, allowed one run and four hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings, while Dickey struck out nine in eight frames, yielding one run and three hits.
The Mets won that contest 3-2 in 13 innings.
New York could use another dominant outing from its knuckleballer, who is 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in seven starts at Washington, winning his last two while allowing three runs in 13 1-3 innings. He struck out eight in 7 1-3 scoreless innings of a 3-1 victory June 7.
"I'm sure R.A.'s going to give us a good game because that's what's going to crack this thing," Collins said. "This game, as you can see by what they do, is on the mound. If we continue to pitch, we'll win our games."
Dickey has struggled lately, though, surrendering 10 runs and 19 hits over his last two starts spanning 12 innings. However, he didn't get a decision in either of those contests, so his 10-game winning streak is still intact.
"Every season has a storm or two in it," Dickey said. "You just kind of have to stay afloat. It'll turn."
Washington's Bryce Harper is 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Dickey, but he's batting .382 in his last eight home games.
|New York Mets|
|July 11, 2012||Dillon Gee||Day-to-Day||Bloot clot in right shoulder|
|July 08, 2012||Dillon Gee||15-Day DL||Blood clot in right shoulder|
|July 03, 2012||Kirk Nieuwenhuis||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|June 23, 2012||Frank Francisco||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|June 16, 2012||Jason Bay||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 16, 2012||Jason Bay||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 01, 2012||Chien-Ming Wang||15-Day DL||Strained right hip|
|June 30, 2012||Stephen Strasburg||Day-to-Day||Left game - heat exhaustion|
|June 24, 2012||Xavier Nady||15-Day DL||Right wrist tendinitis|
|June 17, 2012||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Oblique soreness|
|June 11, 2012||Roger Bernadina||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|June 10, 2012||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- R.A. Dickey has had a memorable season, including consecutive one-hitters and an All-Star team selection.
On Thursday, Dickey broke a streak of rare ineffectiveness this season.
After throwing consecutive one-hitters last month, Dickey had won just one of four starts - getting no-decisions in three of them. In his past two, he gave up five runs in each game.
He had help from David Wright , who homered twice and had five RBIs and Dickey won his league-leading 13th game and the New York Mets broke a six-game losing streak with a 9-5 win over the Washington Nationals .
Dickey (13-1) pitched 7 1-3 innings. He gave up four runs - three earned - and 10 hits. He walked one and struck out five.
"I haven't pitched as well as I have in that streak. That's hard to expect," Dickey said.
"You have to have a lot of cooperation. Recently, I've just been so-so. Hopefully, I get a second wind here."
The Mets staked him to a 9-1 lead on a hot, humid day.
Dickey said it wasn't really that hot. He compared it with a day when the temperature reached 115 degrees in Zulia, Venezuela, in winter ball.
"I threw a three-hit shutout. I just tried to remember that. I've done this before," Dickey said.
He tried not to put too much pressure on himself to break the streak.
"I don't think anybody has panicked. As far as this being a `must-win,' if you do that, you're just going to run out of gas quickly," Dickey said.
"If you play that game, you'll drain yourself mentally before it's even the end of August."
The Nationals lead Atlanta, which won Thursday afternoon by 3 1/2 games. The Mets are seven back.
"From here on out, a win is obviously a big win. We've dug ourselves a big hole, but the funny thing is we've haven't played terribly," Wright said.
"I think we've given an inning away here and there on this road trip, and that's come back to cost us, but it seemed like every game we had a chance to win."
New York manager Terry Collins called a team meeting before Wednesday's game and he was hopeful that Dickey could put a stop to the slide.
"If you're getting past four games, that means they're beating your aces," Collins said.
"We needed one of them to stand up."
Wright hit a two-run shot in the first - his 13th off Gio Gonzalez (12-5), who was rocked for six runs in 3 1-3 innings - his shortest start of the season.
Wright's second home run, his 14th, a three-run blast, came in the fourth off Craig Stammen . He also homered in his last at-bat in Wednesday night's game.
"Nobody matches up that good against David Wright right now," Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
Ike Davis homered in the second and had an RBI single in the third and Ruben Tejada had two hits and an RBI for the Mets.
Gonzalez allowed six runs and six hits in his second attempt to win his 13th.
"A good team like that, the way they swing the bat, if you leave anything up there, they're gonna make you pay for it. I learned firsthand about that," Gonzalez said.
The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman hit a first-inning home run, his 11th, and by the time Washington scored again, the Mets had an eight-run lead.
Michael Morse had two RBIs for the Nationals.
NOTES: Washington activated RHP Drew Storen from the disabled list. He hadn't pitched this season due to April surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. Storen pitched a scoreless ninth. He was greeted warmly by the crowd. "It was pretty emotional for me to get a great ovation from the fans. It made the three or four months I was out seem a little bit shorter," Storen said. ... OF Rick Ankiel was designated for assignment. C Jhonatan Solano was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle and C Sandy Leon was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg. Leon had his first major league hit in the seventh. ... The Nationals are temporarily carrying 13 pitchers and just four extra position players. ... Johnson said that LHP John Lannan would be recalled to pitch the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against Atlanta. ... Dickey committed a throwing error in the fifth. New York had gone 11 games without an error. ... Mets OF Mike Baxter , who's on the 15-day DL with injuries to his collarbone and ribs, is playing at St. Lucie, but hasn't played in the field yet. Collins says Baxter isn't yet close to returning. ... New York plays Los Angeles on Friday. LHP Johan Santana (6-6, 3.59) faces RHP Aaron Harang .