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WSH@HOU: Gio goes yard, and the distance, vs. Astros

Gio Gonzalez set a franchise record during his last outing. On Saturday against the Phillies, he'll look to extend that mark.

The Nats lefty recorded his club-record 16th win last time out against the Mets, breaking a record set by Livan Hernandez in 2005. Gonzalez is tied for the most wins in the Majors this season.

Gonzalez allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings, but struggled with a high pitch count, leaving balls up in the zone often during his start. Still, he managed to limit the damage after scattering seven hits against New York.

Improving upon his club record and setting a new career high for victories -- he won 16 games a year ago in Oakland -- will be no easy task for the two-time All-Star at Citizens Bank Park against a Philadelphia lineup that doesn't quite look like what people expected entering the season.

"I think they've got their big names in the lineup," Nats manager Davey Johnson said. "I think [Chase] Utley and a guy named [Ryan] Howard at first, those are two pretty big guys. They've got outstanding talent. Philadelphia is a great baseball organization, they make great decisions. There's a lot of talent over there."

That same Phillies lineup will look to give Roy Halladay ample support for the second straight start. Halladay didn't have his best stuff the last time out, giving up five runs in seven innings, but Philadelphia's offense picked him up in a 12-5 win against the Reds.

"It's always kind of ironic, I think," Halladay said after that start. "Just when you think you're not catching a break, all of a sudden, we come out and put up a bunch of runs. It's nice, a good feeling."

Following that game, Phils manager Charlie Manuel said the righty battled despite not having the best command. It marked just the 10th time in Halladay's career that he earned a win after giving up at least five earned runs.

Despite earning the win against the Reds, Halladay will look to bounce back Saturday. Before his last outing, the righty had been pitching much better recently. Halladay allowed four earned runs in his previous three starts (21 innings) while walking just two and striking out 20.

Nats: Desmond dealing with sore knee
• All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond was scratched shortly before Friday's series opener for precautionary reasons. Desmond tweaked his right knee in Wednesday's loss to the Braves, which was the reason for the late scratch -- not an oblique issue that sidelined him for a month.

• The Nats extended the contract of infielder Chad Tracy through the 2013 season on Friday. Tracy originally signed a Minor League deal with Washington before the season after he spent 2011 playing in Japan.

"To have a guaranteed year and know where you're going next year for your family, you can kind of start planning," Tracy said. "It's great. It's a good way to play."

Phillies: Ruiz ready to run
• Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 with plantar fasciitis, is on schedule to begin running again Tuesday. Ruiz has been taking batting practice, and he caught Cliff Lee's bullpen session Thursday.

"Everything is progressing," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "I think it was four to six weeks from the time, so we think he'll be back somewhere in that time frame."

Worth noting
• Phillies outfielder Juan Pierre needs just one stolen base to tie Maury Wills for 19th place all time. The veteran's 585 career swipes are the most among active players.

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