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Nats rely on Gonzalez in Flushing

(SportsNetwork.com) - If the Washington Nationals are going to make a run in the National League East this year they are going to need more from Gio Gonzalez than they received last year.

Gonzalez gets his first chance at bouncing back on Wednesday when the Nationals continue their season-opening three-game series versus the New York Mets at Citi Field.

The 28-year-old left-hander won 21 games and finished third in NL Cy Young voting in 2012 when the Nationals captured the NL East. However, he struggled at times a year ago and was 11-8 with a 3.36 ERA, as the Nats missed out on the postseason.

New York, meanwhile, will unveil one of its big offseason acquisitions in hefty right-hander Bartolo Colon, who agreed to a 2-year, $20 million deal this winter in an effort to replace the injured Matt Harvey.

Colon finished the 2013 season with an 18-6 record and 2.65 earned-run average in 190 1/3 innings over 30 starts for the AL West-champion Oakland Athletics. He also was tied for the American League lead with three shutouts and earned an All-Star nod for the first time since 2005.

The 40-year-old hurler hasn't faced the Nats since that 2005 campaign and has only faced them twice, going 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in those games.

Washington needed extra innings, but opened its season with a win on Monday, as Anthony Rendon's three-run home run highlighted a four-run 10th inning that carried the Nationals to a 9-7 win.

Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer and Denard Span drove in a pair of runs for the Nationals, who gave Matt Williams a win in his managerial debut. Williams was named manager of the Nats in the offseason, replacing Davey Johnson.

Andrew Brown hit a three-run homer, David Wright had a two-run blast and Juan Lagares added a solo shot for New York, which couldn't hold on for the win despite a pair of late-inning leads. The Mets' bullpen blew a two-run, seventh-inning lead and a one-run, ninth-inning edge before allowing Washington to take the lead for good in the 10th inning.

"You never like to lose Opening Day," said New York manager Terry Collins. "but it's just one of 162."

To make matters worse for the Mets closer Bobby Parnell has a torn medial collateral ligament in his right elbow and could need surgery.

The 29-year-old right-hander, who will rest for two weeks before determining if surgery will be necessary, was charged with a blown save on Monday, as he yielded the tying run in the ninth inning.

Washington won 12 of its 19 meetings with the Mets last season.

04/02 10:36:20 ET

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