After the pomp and circumstance (and wackiness) of Opening Day, and then an abrupt day of rest that followed, the Nationals began the true baseball season tonight, the long slog of 162 games in 182 days that tests a team both physically and mentally. If this performance was an indication of things to come, the Nationals have plenty of reason to be optimistic.

With a balanced offensive attack and a quietly dominant pitching performance from Gio Gonzalez, the Nats were in control throughout, beating the Mets to improve to 2-0 on the season. Gonzalez (6 innings of 1-run, 3-hit ball) once again dominated in New York, not only with his arm but also with his bat. The lefty crushed his third career homer, a solo shot in the top of the fifth that included more than a couple moments of hilarity as Gonzalez tried to figure out whether the ball had actually cleared the fence or was still in play.

Not wanting to push his starter too far in the season's first week, manager Matt Williams turned things over to his bullpen for the final three innings. That unit didn't disappoint. Drew Storen retired the side in the seventh, striking out two. (He has now retired all six batters faced this season.) Tyler Clippard struck out three in the eighth, bouncing back from a shaky appearance on Monday. And once the Nationals scored an insurance run to remove the possibility of a save situation, Craig Stammen pitched the ninth, closing out a solid, all-around victory for the Nationals.