Dallas Beeler surveyed his surroundings and wasted no time getting comfortable. He then did whatever he wanted in his major league debut, except pick up the win.
Gio Gonzalez pitched two-hit ball over seven innings, and the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 3-0 on Saturday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Gonzalez had his way with one of the weakest lineups in the majors in his third start back from the disabled list, spoiling an impressive debut for Beeler.
"I was a lot calmer than what I thought I'd be," he said. "I walked out there, took a deep breath, threw my warmup pitches, kind of looked around again, exhaled and I was like, 'All right, same game I've been playing for the last 20 years.'"
Beeler looked more like an established veteran than a rookie, holding the Nationals to one unearned run over six innings after getting called up from Triple-A Iowa as the 26th man.
But as good as he was, Gonzalez managed to outperform him. He also got just enough help as the Nationals snapped a three-game losing streak.
Anthony Rendon had three hits, including a two-out double against Beeler in the sixth before scoring the game's first run on a wild pitch. He added an RBI triple off Justin Grimm and came home on a sacrifice fly by Adam LaRoche against Wesley Wright in a two-run eighth.
Denard Span chipped in with two hits and scored a run. He also made a leaping catch in front of the center-field wall after getting turned around on a drive by Justin Ruggiano in the fourth, and the Nationals snapped a three-game losing streak.
Gonzalez (5-4) had little trouble against a team that came in with the majors' second-worst batting average.
The left-hander struck out seven and walked two. He is 2-0 in three starts after missing a month because of inflammation in his pitching shoulder, and he shut down Chicago after throwing six scoreless innings to beat Milwaukee on Monday.
Tyler Clippard worked the eighth and Rafael Soriano finished for his 19th save in 21 chances.
As for Beeler, he could not have done much more. He gave up just four hits while striking out six and walking three. Beeler also singled in his first at-bat when he lined the first pitch he saw up the middle in the third, drawing big cheers from the crowd.
Neither team got an extra-base hit until Rendon doubled to left in the sixth. He moved up on a passed ball by John Baker before Ryan Zimmerman walked, and he scored the game's first run when Beeler bounced a changeup to LaRoche.
Otherwise, it was quite a debut for the rookie.
"He's very reminiscent to me of Roy Halladay — same kind of approach to pitching," Baker said. "He was trying to throw strikes down in the strike zone early in the count, and nothing was straight. I think that when nothing's straight and you throw the ball well, you're going to get ground balls and a fast pace like he did today."