WASHINGTON — Gio Gonzalez pitched eight sparkling innings and Ryan Zimmerman tied a career high with four hits and drove in three runs as the Washington Nationals roughed up the Chicago Cubs without recently traded Jeff Samardzija for a 13-0 victory Saturday.
Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon added three hits and two RBIs for the Nationals on a day the Cubs were forced to start Carlos Villanueva (4-6) following the trade of Samardzija, the scheduled starter, and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics.
Washington posted a season high in runs and hits (19), including eight doubles but no home runs.
Gonzalez (6-4) allowed four hits, while striking out seven and walking one. He’s now thrown 29 consecutive scoreless innings against Chicago and 22 overall.
After spending a month on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, Gonzalez is 3-0 in four starts since his return.
Villanueva was pulled after the first four Nationals reached base in the third innings. He was charged with four runs on five hits.
Chris Rusin, called up Sunday from Triple-A Iowa, was roughed up for five runs on nine hits over 3 2-3 innings.
Justin Ruggiano had two hits for Chicago, which had won four straight.
Washington manager Matt Williams flipped left-hander Bryce Harper and right-hander Rendon in the batting order, putting Rendon back in the 2-hole and Harper sixth against righty Villanueva.
“Bryce is a little tick off (his timing),” Williams said before the game.
Harper (1 for 3 with a walk Saturday) is 4 for 18 since returning from the disabled list.
After Scott Hairston hit for Denard Span in the seventh, Hairston went to left field and Harper shifted to center.
Harper helped build the game’s first run Saturday. After Zimmerman singled leading off the second, Harper bunted him to second base and Zimmerman scored on Desmond’s single.
Washington sent 10-men to the plate in the third as they broke the game open and chased Villanueva. It was his fifth start of the season in 23 appearances.
The first five Nationals reached base safely as they scored six runs on six hits, including three doubles.
Span started the inning off with a single, and Rendon, Werth, Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos had RBI hits. Adam LaRoche scored on Rusin’s wild pitch.
Washington added two more in the sixth when Rendon scored on a double by Werth and LaRoche’s single brought Werth home.
When Gonzalez singled in the seventh, every Washington starter had hit safely. He scored on a single by Kevin Frandsen.
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