Gio Gonzalez was totally prepared to take on the New York Mets. A question about a possible Cy Young Award? That threw him.
Gonzalez earned his big league-leading 19th victory, and the Washington Nationals backed him with three home runs to beat the Mets 5-1 Monday.
Gonzalez is a prime contender for the top pitching prize, but he playfully put up his hands when the subject was broached after the game.
"When you start looking at one thing, it'll drive you crazy," he said. "If it comes, it comes."
Kurt Suzuki, Gonzalez's former A's teammate, put the Nationals ahead with a home run right after catcher Kelly Shoppach dropped his windblown foul pop-up for an error. Ryan Zimmerman launched a two-run shot later in the third inning, and Ian Desmond added a two-run drive in the fourth.
That was plenty for Gonzalez (19-7), who worked around five walks.
"Couldn't find the strike zone," he said. "Drank a little too much coffee. I don't know what it was."
Cardinals: First baseman Lance Berkman will undergo surgery on his right knee Tuesday, effectively ending his season and further focusing him on possible retirement.
Berkman, who had surgery on the knee in May, has been limited to 80 at-bats this season. He is hitting .263 with two homers and seven RBIs.
Yankees: First baseman Mark Teixeira is expected to be sidelined from 10 days to two weeks, because of a calf injury.
Teixeira returned to the lineup Saturday in Baltimore, his first appearance since Aug. 27, but he reinjured his calf on the final play of the game while diving into first base, unsuccessfully trying to avoid a double play.
Dodgers: Center fielder Matt Kemp remained hopeful he could return to the lineup Tuesday for the series opener in Arizona.
Astros: The possibility of Roger Clemens, 50, pitching in Houston hasn't been ruled out, owner Jim Crane said.
"We haven't heard from Roger, so that's still up in the air," Crane said.
Crane said he would not pitch Clemens against a contender, which leaves this week as the only option.
But Clemens, who has pitched two games recently in the independent Atlantic league, said the only way he would pitch in the majors was against a team in contention.
Phillies: Darin Ruf, a 26-year-old first baseman and left fielder, was called up by Philadelphia after leading all minor leaguers with 38 home runs this season for Double-A Reading. He hit 20 homers in August.
He earned the nickname "Babe" Ruf in the minors, and several Phillies called him that in the clubhouse before their game against Miami.
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.