Major League Baseball on Monday released its list of suspended players who were found in an ongoing investigation to have used performance-enhancing drugs, and Gio Gonzalez 's name, just as he anticipated, wasn't among them.
Gonzalez (7-4, 3.57 ERA) had been linked to the Biogenesis scandal since rumors began circulating before spring training that he may have been involved with the now-closed Florida anti-aging clinic that supplied PEDs to major and minor leaguers.
Though some former All-Stars were issued suspensions Monday, Gonzalez wasn't one of them.
"I am very pleased that Major League Baseball has cleared my name," Gonzalez said in a statement. "I have no lingering sense of animosity, as I quickly realized that the objective of this investigation was to clean up our game."
He wasn't exactly pleased with his last performance, though.
Gonzalez gave up 10 runs - his most since allowing a career-high 11 against Minnesota while with Oakland on July 20, 2009 - and a personal-worst 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 11-1 loss at Detroit.
He had gone 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA in his previous 10 starts.
"In three months, you're going to run into a hiccup," Gonzalez said.
The left-hander, though, is 5-0 with a 1.92 ERA in his last 12 starts versus the NL, including allowing one run and striking out seven over seven innings before Atlanta rallied for a 2-1, 10-inning victory June 1.
Gonzalez's first two starts against the Braves didn't go as well. He gave up seven runs in five innings of a 9-0 loss April 14 before allowing five in four frames of an 8-1 defeat April 30 despite nine strikeouts.
He's 2-4 with a 5.73 ERA in seven career starts versus Atlanta (68-45), which beat Washington 3-2 on Monday to extend its NL East lead to 13 1/2 games.
Justin Upton , who is hitting .405 with four homers during a 10-game hitting streak, led off the eighth with a tiebreaking homer to help the Braves earn their longest winning streak since a 15-game run in 2000.
Freddie Freeman had RBI singles in the third and fifth."You want to step on their necks, especially when we've got this big of a lead," Freeman said. "I think we set the tone."
The Nationals (54-58) have dropped four of six and are 3-8 versus Atlanta this season. Former Brave Adam LaRoche drove in a run for Washington, which has been outscored 26-8 during a five-game home losing streak against the Braves."We've got to turn this thing around," said reliever Tyler Clippard , who gave up Upton's homer. "Two months left, and we're (13 1/2) games back. We've got to get moving."
The Nationals have dropped 16 of 24 and have scored two or fewer runs 14 times in that stretch. Runs may be difficult to come by again Tuesday, when Julio Teheran takes the mound for Atlanta.
Teheran (8-5, 3.02) has a 1.00 ERA over his last three starts, earning his only victory in that stretch Thursday by allowing one run and striking out a career high-tying 11 in an 11-2 win over Colorado.
The right-hander has made three starts versus the Nationals this season, going 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Denard Span is 6 for 9 with two triples off Teheran.
|July 29, 2013||Reed Johnson||15-Day DL||Left knee tendinitis|
|July 26, 2013||Gerald Laird||15-Day DL||Kidney stone|
|July 25, 2013||Tim Hudson||15-Day DL||Fractured right ankle|
|July 21, 2013||Paul Maholm||15-Day DL||Bruised left wrist|
|July 21, 2013||Paul Maholm||15-Day DL||Left wrist contusion|
|July 13, 2013||B.J. Upton||15-Day DL||Right adductor strain|
|August 01, 2013||Ross Ohlendorf||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|July 24, 2013||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Blister|
|July 24, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left knee soreness|
|July 04, 2013||Ross Detwiler||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 23, 2013||Dan Haren||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 23, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Left game - left groin strain|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Atlanta pitcher Julio Teheran insisted he didn't mean to plunk Washington's Bryce Harper with a pitch two innings after the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year homered.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after his club's 2-1 victory over the Nationals on Tuesday night that "it definitely wasn't on purpose."
Harper - and everyone else connected to the Nationals - was sure it was.
"It's part of the game and it's something, I guess, he's got to do," Harper said, his hands on his hips. Then, asked whether he was surprised Teheran hit him, Harper offered this nugget: "Uh, I hit that ball pretty far off him. So no, not really."
And Washington manager Davey Johnson observed: "You file it for future reference."
All in all, the sort of stuff rivalries and high-drama playoff chases are made of.
Except, in this particular case, Evan Gattis ' two-run single in the fifth, and the six innings thrown by Teheran (9-5) while allowing one run, combined to produce Atlanta's season-high 12th consecutive win, padding their NL East lead to 14 1/2 games over Washington.
It was the latest weak hitting performance by a Nationals club that's had trouble at the plate since April and is now five games under .500 a year after leading the majors with 98 wins.
"There's no point in looking back and hanging our head. We've got two options now: We can cash it in and think about next year or we can grind it out and see what happens," said Adam LaRoche , who grounded out on a 2-0 pitch with the bases loaded against reliever Luis Avilan to end the seventh. "I'm pretty sure we're going to keep pushing."
Gattis' big hit came off Gio Gonzalez (7-5), who pitched one night after Major League Baseball announced its Biogenesis investigation cleared the left-hander.
Adding to the theatrics: Gattis was only in the game because he replaced Jason Heyward , who left with a neck muscle strain after popping out in the first inning.
"Adrenaline kind of takes over," Gattis said about getting thrown into the lineup. "There's kind of not much time to think about it."
Harper put Washington ahead 1-0 with one out in the third, driving the first pitch of the at-bat onto the grassy hill in straightaway center for his 17th homer.
Harper paused a bit as he left the batter's box, watching the ball fly, then dropped his bat and took a slower-than-usual-for-him trot around the bases.
"Yeah, he sat there for a little bit, but it is what it is," Braves catcher Brian McCann said.
Asked about Teheran's intent during Harper's next turn up, in the fifth, McCann answered: "I'm not sure. I don't have the ball."
When Harper went to the plate with Washington trailing 2-1, Teheran's first pitch hit him on the right leg. Harper barked at Teheran and pointed at the right-hander. McCann moved toward Harper, before an umpire got in the way.
"Obviously Bryce didn't like it, (and) we don't blame him," LaRoche said.
Members of both teams streamed onto the field, but they stayed separated and no punches were thrown. Even Heyward came out onto the grass, with a blue shirt on but not his jersey.
"Boys being boys," Fredi Gonzalez called it.
Not long after, the clubs' official Twitter feeds mixed it up a bit.
The Braves tweeted: "Clown move bro," tweaking Harper's famous retort to a reporter last season, "That's a clown question, bro."
The Nationals then replied on Twitter: "Which part, giving up the home run, or drilling the 20-year-old on the first pitch his next time up?"
Teheran wound up allowing four hits and the lone run. He gave way to Avilan, who got out of that jam in the seventh. Jordan Walden struck out the side in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel did the same in the ninth, collecting his 35th save by whiffing Harper swinging at a high, 99 mph fastball.
Asked afterward whether he thought about charging the mound when he got hit, Harper said: "Nah, I wasn't going to go out there. I mean, 14 1/2 games down, and I need to be in the lineup."
Notes: The Braves listed Heyward as day to day. After the game, he said a doctor told him it was a spasm. ... Former major league closer Billy Wagner , who spent the final season of his 16-year career with the Braves, was in the visitors' clubhouse before the game. Wagner, now a high school baseball coach, recently wrote an autobiography called "A Way Out." "It's not meant to be a best seller," Wagner said. "It's meant to help that kid that is in Southwest Virginia, who somebody said, `You're not going to be anything, and you're never going to accomplish anything.' It's meant for those people, so that they can read it and go, `Well, this kid was in the same situation.' You might not go on to be a major leaguer, but there's a way out."
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