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The downward slide of Gio Gonzalez continued in loss to Reds

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The downward slide of Gio Gonzalez continued in loss to Reds

WASHINGTON -- The Cincinnati Reds ended their recent struggles while extending the downward slide of Washington lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Phillip Ervin hit a three-run homer, Brandon Dixon had a solo shot and the Reds snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-1 win over the Nationals on Saturday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

Anthony DeSclafani (5-3) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings, stopping Washington's three-game winning streak.

Cincinnati had six runs and 10 hits against Gonzalez (6-8), who lasted only 3 2/3 innings. Gonzalez has lost seven straight decisions.

Gonzalez hasn't won since May 28 at Baltimore. During that stretch, his ERA ballooned from 2.10 to 4.04.

"If I knew the answer to that, it'd be a different outcome," Gonzalez said of his struggles. "Right now, I'm just trying to battle through whatever I'm going through. Hopefully start catching my breaks. Tide will change."

"Unfortunately, it's weird how it's working. When you fall behind on guys, you're not supposed to be lasting too long. When you get ahead of guys, you're not supposed to be out of the game too early. For me, it's hit or miss right now," he said.

Dixon added an RBI groundout and Ervin tacked on Cincinnati's final run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Jose Peraza had three hits for the Reds, who lost Thursday's series opener after dropping two games at Detroit.

"Anthony was really good. We swung the bats good. Good at-bats, didn't go out of the zone too much after pitches. We had (Gio) throw a lot of pitches," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "A really clean ballgame. Kind of a complete turnaround from the games in Detroit."

The doubleheader was necessary because Friday's game was postponed due to rain. Cincinnati sent Matt Harvey (5-6, 5.13 ERA) to start the second game against Washington's Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 3.59).

The first four batters Gonzalez faced reached base with three singles and a walk, but the Reds only managed one run in the first.

They were far more efficient in the second. With a runner on first and two outs, Peraza singled and Ervin hit his first homer of the season for a 4-0 lead.

The Reds added runs in each of the next two innings on Dixon's homer and a two-out RBI single from Eugenio Suarez, which chased Gonzalez.

"(The Reds) swung the bats right from the first inning," Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. "We fell behind early, just couldn't come back."

Bryce Harper, Juan Soto and Daniel Murphy each had two hits, but the Nationals rarely put pressure on DeSclafani, who matched his longest outing of the season. DeSclafani also had a hit and scored a run.

"I'm never going to complain when you go seven innings and one run," DeSclafani said. "I'm just glad the team got the win. It felt good to finally get through the seventh inning."

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Stephen Strasburg reportedly lobbying for Anthony Rendon to return to the Nationals

Stephen Strasburg reportedly lobbying for Anthony Rendon to return to the Nationals

With the MLB offseason just getting underway, Stephen Strasburg has already accomplished his main goal. Signing a massive seven-year, $245 million deal with the Nationals on Monday, he got the money and the opportunity to return to the team he started his career and won a World Series with.

Now, he's focused on completing his second goal of the offseason: bring back Anthony Rendon.

Strasburg is reportedly heavily involved in trying to bring the MVP-caliber third baseman back to DC as the pitcher is making his case to both Rendon and the Nationals front office, according to MASN's Mark Zuckerman.

When Strasburg inked his contract on Monday, many believed it meant the end of the line for the Nationals chances to re-sign Rendon, as Nationals owner Mark Lerner even mentioned it would be hard to sign both. However, it appears that the pitcher is thinking anything but that. Besides reportedly getting involved in the pitch to Rendon, Strasburg also seemed to have Rendon in mind when figuring out the terms to his new deal.

Within the total amount of money, Strasburg's contract features $80 million in deferred money, which can help the Nationals work toward potentially signing other players. Scott Boras, the agent to both Rendon and Strasburg, alluded to that on Tuesday saying that Strasburg's deal could create a new "opening" in the Rendon negotiations.

Even if the deferred money from Strasburg and his dedication to trying to get Rendon back may help, it won't be that easy for the Nationals. Boras said on Tuesday that Rendon has already received more than a few seven-year offers, meaning that he'll come with a hefty price tag.

However, Zuckerman did report that Rendon may be slowly becoming more open to the idea of deferred money in his contract, something that didn't look to be a possibility at first, citing Strasburg's decision and Washington's ability to continue to contend as factors.

Getting Anthony Rendon back to the Nationals won't happen as fast as it did with Strasburg, if it happens at all. Yet plenty of Nationals fans want the team to do whatever it takes to make it happen, and Strasburg looks to be in the same boat.

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Phillies sign infielder Didi Gregorius, per report

Phillies sign infielder Didi Gregorius, per report

The Philadelphia Phillies have been rumored to have interest in third baseman Anthony Rendon, but they added a different infielder on Tuesday.

Former Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia, according to MLB Network's Joel Sherman. 

The deal is worth $14 million, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury.

The move reunites Gregorius with manager Joe Girardi, who was the Yankees skipper from 2008 through 2017. The 29-year-old infielder had spent the past five seasons with New York.

Although Gregorius has played almost every game of his career at shortstop, it is unclear what position he will play in Philadelphia. The Phillies have both Jean Segura and Scott Kingery capable of playing the middle infield positions. In 841 career games, Gregorius has played shortstop for 828 out of them, with 11 appearances at second base and two at third. 

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