Gio throws up zeroes

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez smiles at a teammate in the dugout after pitching the top the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros in Washington, Tuesday, April 17, 2012. The Nationals won 1-0.(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Craig Heist,

WASHINGTON – He takes very little credit when he pitches well — but it was hard to ignore what Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez did against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night in a 1-0 win at Nationals Park.

Gonzalez was nothing short of spectacular as he mowed down the Stros’, throwing shutout ball over seven innings and allowing just two hits while striking out eight batters.

Now, Gonzalez has throw a total of 14 innings in his last two starts and hasn’t allowed a run, giving up just four hits while walking four and striking out 15 — lowering his ERA to 1.96.

The only run Gonzalez needed came in the bottom of the fourth inning when with two outs, Jayson Werth hit a blooper into center field off Wandy Rodriguez that dropped in front of ex-National Justin Maxwell.

This was followed by a bloop RBI single to left by Adam LaRoche that fell when left fielder J.D. Martinez and shortstop Jed Lowrie miscommunicated on a ball that should have been caught.

“The real story was (catcher Jesus) Flores doing a great job behind the dish, defense doing a great job all around and the offense bringing in that run,” Gonzalez said.

But this night was still about Gonzalez. He retired 13 straight Astros at one point and, during that stretch, he struck out four of the six batters he faced and three were called.

“I think it was just going with Flores,” Gonzalez said. “Every pitch he put down I was trying to attack with that. There was the time in the sixth when he came up to the mound and he said,

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