Nationals Pitcher Gonzalez Earns His MLB-Leading 19th Victory

There’s no denying Gio Gonzalez is making a strong case for this season’s Cy Young Award

The 26-year-old Cuban American baseball earned his Major League Baseball league-leading nineteenth victory and his Washington Nationals teammates did their part with three home runs to defeat the New York Mets 5-1 on Monday night.

Gio Gonzalez

Gonzalez’s performance this season has helped make him a prime contender for the league’s coveted pitching prize. But that’s something he’s not thinking about right now.

“When you start looking at one thing, it’ll drive you crazy,” he said after the game. “If it comes, it comes.”

Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey currently has 18 wins and a better ERA than Gonzalez, and he’ll be starting against the Nationals on Tuesday. Asked whether he was eager for Washington to face Dickey — and perhaps dent his Cy Young chances — manager Davey Johnson had a simple answer.

“Not really,” he said.

Gio Gonzalez

Kurt Suzuki put the Nationals ahead with a home run right after catcher Kelly Shoppach dropped his foul popup for an error. Ryan Zimmerman launched a two-run shot later in the third inning and Ian Desmond added a two-run drive in the fourth.

That was more than enough for Gonzalez (19-7) and the team with the best record in the majors. The lefty gave up three hits over six innings, none until the Mets’ Scott Hairston homered in the fourth.

Gonzalez worked around five walks and extended his career high for wins. He seemed relaxed enough, chatting with fans in the front row while waiting in the on-deck circle in the sixth as Suzuki batted.

Gonzalez matched a season high for walks, but he lowered his ERA to 2.93.

“Couldn’t find the strike zone,” he said. “Drank a little too much coffee. I don’t know what it was.”

The Nationals opened a six-game swing that ends this weekend in Atlanta, where they’ll play their closest pursuers in the NL East.