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Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez on staying positive with Gio Gonzalez after another rough outing...

Gio Gonzalez struggled again, and the Nationals lost 2 of 3 to the Marlins while the Braves lost four straight and the Phillies dropped two in a row...

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In five second-half starts before Sunday’s outing against the Miami Marlins, Gio Gonzalez had a 5.60 ERA, 15 walks, 19 Ks, and a .288/.369/.452 line against in 27 13 innings pitched.

Gonzalez’s up and down 2018 campaign continued with another rough outing against the Washington Nationals’ NL East rivals.

He fell behind 3-0 early in the series finale with the Marlins in the nation’s capital, giving up one and two-out walks before an RBI single by Starlin Castro and two-run double by Austin Dean put the Fish up in the third.

It was 3-1 Marlins in the top of the fifth inning when Castro (double) and Austin Dean (bloop single) connected for back-to-back hits. Castro took third on Dean’s hit, and scored on a sac fly to left by JT Riddle, 4-1, and two more scored on a double by first base by Rafael Ortega, 6-1. That was it for Gonzalez.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

That was not it for the runs that ended up in his line, however, as Greg Holland took over and gave up a two-run single by JT Realmuto that drove in the two runners Holland inherited and made it 8-1 in what ended up a 12-1 loss.

Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 88 P, 53 S, 2/2 GO/FO.

Tommy Milone, who took over for the Nationals in the fifth, went four innings to spare the rest of the relief corps, but gave up the other four runs the Marlins scored.

“In all honesty, it was an ugly game and everybody saw it,” Nats’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters afterwards.

“Gio couldn’t keep us in the game and it just got ugly,” Martinez added. “Tommy gave us what he got, we saved the bullpen, but you know what, we’ve got to regroup, we’ve got a day off, get some rest, Tuesday we’ve got another game Tuesday, a big game, and just go home tomorrow and rest, let’s go, we’ve got to get going.”

While the NL East’s first-place Atlanta Braves were in the process of dropping four straight, and the second-place Philadelphia Phillies, who start a three-game set in D.C. on Tuesday, lost two in a row, Miami took 2 of 3 in Washington, after starting play Saturday with six losses in a row overall, and 12-straight on the road.

“We’ve had some journeys. We’ve had some ups and downs. It’s just an unfortunate series. This is the one that kind of stings a little bit,” Gonzalez said, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier.

So what do the Nationals do with Gonzalez going forward?

“Just stay positive,” Martinez said, “... and keep — we’re going to need him down the stretch, we are, so we’ve got to stay positive with him. He came out lights out the first inning, threw six pitches, so we’ve got to just stay positive.

“I know he works diligently, and like I said before, I really just want him to stop focusing so much on mechanics and just get ahead and throw quality strikes. That’s what he needs to do.”