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STL@WSH: Gio strikes out eight in five-hit shutout

The Nationals, who clinched their first winning season since moving to Washington, D.C., on Monday, will send 17-game winner Gio Gonzalez to the mound on Wednesday in the third game of a four-game series between the Nationals and Cubs.

Gonzalez tossed the first shutout of his career against the Cardinals on Friday in the Nationals' 10-0 victory. He struck out eight and allowed five hits, lowering his ERA to 3.10.

The crowd at Nationals Park chanted "Let's go, Gio!" in the ninth inning.

"It was just one of those things where you just can't explain it," Gonzalez said after the start. "It felt like it was a boost of energy. It was kind of like having a Red Bull right there in the ninth. But when they were coming alive, I was just trying to do my best and try to pound that strike zone."

The Cubs' Chris Volstad went 24 straight starts without a win entering his start on Aug. 26. Now he's on a winning streak.

The right-hander has a 1.46 ERA in 12 1/3 innings in his last two starts. Against the Giants on Aug. 31, Volstad allowed two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"Winning two in a row, or losing 24 in a row, I'm still going to pitch in the rotation the next five days, and I have to get ready for that, just like I would any other time," Volstad said after his last start.

The Nationals have won six of their last seven games and are 4-1 against the Cubs this season. Washington leads the National League East by 7 1/2 games over Atlanta.

Nationals: Harper sits Tuesday, Werth to get day off Wednesday
Manager Davey Johnson decided to give outfielder Bryce Harper a break from the starting lineup on Tuesday and started Tyler Moore in left field. Johnson wants to give Moore some more at-bats. Since the beginning of August, Moore has 37 at-bats.

Moore went 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in Tuesday's game.

"I'm trying to find ways to get playing time [for some of the guys]. Their playing time has been cut short. I want to get Tyler Moore in," Johnson said. "With Harp, I kind of run him into the ground. I'm sure he is not tired. I think he was a little tired on Sunday [against the Cardinals], for some reason. He felt great yesterday against the Cubs."

In Harper's last 11 games, he is batting .333 (14-for-42) with two homers and six RBIs. He singled as a pinch-hitter in Tuesday's game.

Right fielder Jayson Werth, who went 4-for-5 on Tuesday, won't be in the starting lineup on Wednesday, Johnson said.

Cubs: Four players added to roster
Left-hander Chris Rusin, right-handers Jaye Chapman and Rafael Dolis and catcher Anthony Recker were recalled from Double-A Tennessee on Tuesday. They all played in Tuesday's game against the Nationals.

Rusin started Tuesday's game and allowed five runs on eight hits in one inning of work. Chapman tossed a scoreless second inning, striking out one and walking one. Dolis allowed three runs in the fourth on two homers. In the ninth inning, Recker pinch-hit and flied out to right.

Manager Dale Sveum said Recker will likely play only in emergency pinch-hit or pinch-run situations. Dolis will be available out of the bullpen.

"Right now, he's another body in the bullpen that we're going to need down the stretch for innings," Sveum said. "There's no role; he's going to be down the pecking order, so to speak, when we're losing ballgames or just need innings. I do want to get another look at him somehow, to see if things have gotten better than when he left it."

Dolis went 2-4 with four saves and a 6.44 ERA in 29 1/3 innings with the Cubs earlier this season.

• The Cubs have lost 18 of their 21 road games since the All-Star Break and 14 of 15 since the beginning of August.

Worth noting
• Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond is batting .560 (14-for-25) with a homer and eight RBIs in his career against Volstad. Comments