WASHINGTON -- With Scott Schebler likely on the disabled list for another month, Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said more players need to produce to complement Cincinnati's offensive stars. Some of the Reds' young players broke out during their 7-1 win over the Nationals on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park, the first game of a doubleheader.
Phillip Ervin matched a career-high four RBIs, including his first homer of the season. Brandon Dixon, filling in for Schebler, hit his second career homer. Jose Peraza, who entered this series on an 0-for-13 skid, hit 3-for-5.
Joey Votto (2-for-5) didn't score a run and Scooter Gennett struck out in his pinch-hit appearance, so the rest of the lineup carried the Reds to snap a three-game losing streak, a sign that they're settling in without Schebler.
"We're missing Schelber and [Jesse] Winker," Riggleman said, "so to have some other guys step in there and fill those spots they had is huge."
While the offense dominated Nationals starter Giovany Gonzalez, Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani put together one of his best outings this season. DeSclafani, who entered Saturday with a 6.66 ERA in his previous five starts, allowed one run over seven innings. The right-hander's only slipup came in the second inning, when Juan Soto scored on Ryan Zimmerman's groundout.
DeSclafani has a 2.17 ERA in seven career appearances against Washington, his second-lowest mark against any team.
"Probably one of my favorite mounds in the league," DeSclafani said. "We got some angle on this mound. We got a decent slope here in Washington."
The Reds gave DeSclafani a lead in the first inning when they used three singles, a walk and a groundout to score Ervin. Ervin, who's hitting .441 since the All-Star break, then ripped a three-run homer in the second, which was just his fourth career dinger.
Dixon is hitting just .191, but the 26-year-old also took advantage of Gonzalez's recent slide with his first homer since June 16 in the third inning. Eugenio Suarez's single drove in Peraza in the fourth, tying the 27-year-old with Javier Baez for the most RBIs in the National League (84) and knocking Gonzalez out of the game. Ervin's sacrifice fly scored Billy Hamilton in the sixth.
DeSclafani's outing also eased the burden on Cincinnati's bullpen, which threw 7 1/3 innings Thursday after Tyler Mahle's early departure. David Hernandez and Michael Lorenzen combined to seal the victory with two scoreless innings.
"Today's a long day," DeSclafani said. "I know we got a fresh bullpen down there, but I'll definitely take going seven innings for the club."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Nationals put runners on the corners in the fourth inning with one out and a chance to cut into the Reds' five-run lead. Daniel Murphy, however, grounded into a double play off DeSclafani's fastball, and Washington didn't score for the remainder of the game.
"This start was just filling it up like I always do, like I have been these past few years," DeSclafani said. "I've had success, but maybe the ball hasn't been rolling my way a little bit."
Since July 1, DeSclafani has all three hits by Reds pitchers, including his second-inning single on Saturday. The rest of Cincinnati's pitchers are 0-for-39 in that span.
Matt Harvey will take the mound in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Nationals at 7:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park. Harvey is coming off a solid outing against the Phillies, during which he allowed two runs over five innings. The right-hander is 3-6 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 career appearances against Washington. Jeremy Hellickson will start for the Nats.