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Gio Gonzalez struggles again, gives up big slam in Nationals’ 8-6 loss to the Phillies as rumors swirl...

Nationals’ lefty Gio Gonzalez went five innings, giving up six hits and six runs in what ended up an 8-6 loss to the Phillies.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Gio Gonzalez took a loss last time out before facing the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, in spite of the fact that left-hander held New York’s Mets to just a run on seven hits in a seven-inning outing on the mound in Citi Field.

With losses in four of his five starts in August, Gonzalez had a 6.84 ERA, 10 walks, 17 Ks, and a .345/.398/.555 line against in 26 13 innings pitched over that stretch, which left the lefty with a 4.35 ERA, 67 walks (4.29 K/9), 120 Ks (7.68 K/9), and a .271/.348/.419 line against over 140 23 IP in 2018.

After facing the Mets, the soon-to-turn-33-year-old southpaw said he was determined to show he could still compete at this level.

“I want to pitch,” he told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

“I want to show that I can continue to pitch. I believe I can pitch up here, and I believe I can pitch against the best. I want to play as long as I can. It’s one of those things where I know I can pitch better than I’m pitching right now.”

Could he help a contending team? Gonzalez, who cleared waivers earlier this month, was a subject of rumors over the last few days, with’s Jon Morosi, among others, citing sources who said other teams had interest. Would he show some of those teams what he’d offer with his work on the mound in the series finale with the Phillies?

Gonzalez gave up a single by Carlos Santana and hit Jose Bautista in the first two at bats in the second, after tossing a scoreless first, then he threw a wild pitch, moving both runners into scoring position before giving up a two-out, two-run, two-strike single to left field by the opposing pitcher, Jake Arrieta, whose hit put the Phillies up 2-0 early.

Given a 4-2 lead to work with after three and a half innings, Gonzalez worked around a walk in a 17-pitch fourth, but after an Anthony Rendon home run in the top of the fifth made it 5-2 Nationals, the lefty gave up back-to-back singles in the first two at bats of the Philly fifth.

Gonzalez struck the next two Phillies out, but issued a base-loading walk to Wilson Ramos, and gave up a base-clearing grand slam by Carlos Santana, who crushed an 0-1 changeup, 6-5 Phils. Gonzalez finished the inning, but was done for the night at that point.

Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 56 S, 5/2 GO/FO.

Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez was asked after what ended up an 8-6 loss if he thought about going to the bullpen before Santana’s slam.

“We thought about it,” Martinez said. “I liked Gio in that spot, I mean, I really did. I didn’t think he was going to give up a grand slam. But, hey, I’ve said it before ... if we get good starting pitching we have a chance to win ballgames.

“We were ahead and we just couldn’t keep the lead.”

“He was doing good,” Martinez said when asked about Gonzalez’s outing overall.

“He gave up a hit to the pitcher, you know, and then he settled down, kept us in the game, and they you had that one bad inning.”

As for the left-hander’s up and down season?

“He’s been really good,” the first-year skipper said.

“Over the past years, he’s a good pitcher, we just — I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, he’ll go back out there five more days from now and try to keep us in the game.”

Gonzalez was asked after the outing against the Phillies if he’d heard the rumors about other teams showing interest.