Two batters and nine pitches into his start against the Phillies on Wednesday, Gio Gonzalez could have folded up his tent and called it a night. Down 2-0 after allowing a Ben Revere single and Michael Young homer — and knowing how much his Nationals teammates have struggled to offer run support — Gonzalez had to wonder if this game already was a lost cause.

That the left-hander proceeded to completely reverse course and not only salvage a respectable start, but thoroughly dominate for the next seven innings, speaks volumes about the progress he's made as a pitcher.

"He's a perfectionist, and he doesn't want to give up runs," catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "His job is to keep us in the ballgame. He's starting to understand that he can give up a couple runs in one inning, and make sure you bear down the rest of the game."

Gonzalez has now done this a few times, most notably on May 5 in Pittsburgh, when he gave up two quick runs in the first inning and loaded the bases with no outs, then escaped without surrendering another run all afternoon.

He was rewarded for that effort with a win, but incredibly that's the last time he's been credited with a W despite some fantastic performances since.

Over his last eight starts, Gonzalez boasts a 2.18 ERA, a sparkling 1.01 WHIP, nearly a strikeout per inning and seven quality starts. Yet his record over that span is 0-1 because the Nationals have scored only 22 total runs in those eight games (six of them coming last night)