August 4, 2018 / 8:32 PM / 13 days ago

Ervin's blast leads Reds past Nationals in DH opener

Phillip Ervin hit a three-run homer and drove in four overall, and Anthony DeSclafani threw seven strong innings as the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Washington Nationals 7-1 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park.

Ervin’s three-run homer gave the Reds an early 4-0 lead and was his first this season. He finished 2-for-2 with those four RBIs, two walks and two runs scored.

Cincinnati had lost 14 of its last 16 games against the Nationals before the victory.

Brandon Dixon also homered (his second this year) and drove in two runs for the Reds, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

DeSclafani (5-3) ended his own two-game slide with the win. He allowed one run on six hits and shut down a Washington offense which had been producing recently.

Washington starter Gio Gonzalez (6-8) never found his way. The left-hander allowed six runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings and struggled with his command throughout — a big reason Gonzalez threw 94 pitches in less than four frames.

The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the first when Dixon grounded into a force play.

Ervin added to the lead in the second with his two-out, three-run homer blast to left. It came on a 1-2 pitch and sailed far into the seats for that 4-0 edge.

The Nationals got one back in the bottom of that inning when Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a force, cutting the lead to 4-1.

Dixon made it 5-1 with a solo homer in the top of the third. Eugenio Suarez added an RBI single in the fourth while Ervin drove in his fourth run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.

This game was a make-up contest due to a postponement of Friday’s matchup.

The second game of this doubleheader starts at 7:05 p.m. ET with Matt Harvey (5-6) going for the Reds against Washington’s Jeremy Hellickson (4-2).

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