Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings for his first victory since May 28, leading the Nationals to a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
"I think I was just happy that I got to high-five my teammates for the first time in a while," Gonzalez said. "For me it was not the pressure, it was just the going out there and doing what I can do to go out there and try and pitch the best I can. Today it finally showed. It finally stepped to the right direction that I wanted."
The Nationals moved within 5 1/2 games of idle NL East leader Philadelphia. The Braves fell a game behind the Phillies.
Gonzalez (7-8) snapped a seven-game losing streak and had gone 11 consecutive starts without a victory. He allowed six hits and one walk while striking out three. Nick Markakis' solo homer to lead off the second was the lone run he allowed.
Atlanta starter Anibal Sanchez pitched two scoreless innings but left after getting hit in the left calf by a grounder from Michael Taylor. Manager Brian Snitker said he was hopeful Sanchez would make his next start.
"It looked like Anibal was going to have one of his games starting out," Snitker said. "He was sharp as can be. We just had a hard time getting ahold of Gio. That was the biggest thing. We couldn't do anything with him."
Taylor homered to left in the fourth to bump Washington's lead to 3-1, and Daniel Murphy added an RBI double in the sixth.
But Parsons worked five innings in his major league debut, vital for a team that had two starters last only two innings during the series in Washington and heads home to face Milwaukee after a 5-3 road trip.
"A winning road trip, you take that every single time," said Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, who had three hits. "Sometimes, you have to lose a battle to win the war. I thought what Wes Parsons did was absolutely huge for this ballclub. That's going to win us games later on with a fresh bullpen."
Washington went 7-3 on its homestand and begins a seven-game trip to face the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis.
"It was big, a big win for us," manager Dave Martinez said. "Happy flight."
Washington outfielder Bryce Harper was scratched from the lineup with right knee soreness. Atlanta reliever Dan Winkler hit Harper just below the right knee in the seventh inning on Wednesday night. Martinez said X-rays on Harper were negative.
Parsons and Adam McCreery both made their major league debuts for Atlanta, combining to pitch the last six innings. It was the first time the Braves had two pitchers debut in the same game since June 30, 2015, when Jake Brigham and Ryan Kelly did so against Washington.
Nationals: Martinez said RHP Stephen Strasburg (cervical nerve impingement) will throw at least one more bullpen session before the team decides whether he is ready for a minor league rehabilitation start. Strasburg has not pitched for Washington since July 20.
Braves: RHP Kevin Gausman (0-1, 5.40 ERA) makes his second start since his acquisition from Baltimore as Atlanta returns home to open a three-game series with Milwaukee.
Nationals: Washington begins a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs with RHP Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 3.56) getting the nod.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
LeMahieu signing means Yanks out of talks for Machado
Buster Olney joins SportsCenter to explain why the Yankees signing DJ LeMahieu means New York has moved on from pursuing Manny Machado.
Padres moving Wil Myers back to the outfield, may need third baseman
The Padres may be in the market for a third baseman after Wil Myers said Saturday that he's moving back to the outfield. Myers opened last season in the outfield before moving to third base to end the season.
Nolan Arenado doesn't reach deal with Rockies, may still avoid arbitration
Nolan Arenado is expected to receive an arbitration-record $27 million deal from the Rockies, even though the two sides failed to reach a settlement Friday, sources told ESPN.
Russell Martin eyes 'bounce-back year' after trade to Dodgers
The Dodgers, who were looking for help at catcher, have acquired veteran Russell Martin from the Blue Jays in exchange for two minor leaguers.
Does DJ LeMahieu take Yankees out of Manny Machado mix?
The dominoes are falling in the second-base market, with DJ LeMahieu winding up in pinstripes. But New York still could find room for Manny Machado.
DJ LeMahieu agrees to join Yankees on two-year, $24M contract
After seven seasons in Colorado, DJ LeMahieu is heading to the American League after reaching an agreement on a two-year, $24 million contract with the Yankees, sources told ESPN.