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Desmond leads Nats offense in Philly

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Desmond leads Nats offense in Philly

Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez said after the teams 2-1 win over the Phillies on Monday that he approached shortstop Ian Desmond prior to the game to ask for his help. Gonzalez said he wasnt feeling quite well and could use a boost from his teammates.

I was telling him today, Im going to need you out there, Im a little under the weather. I need you to go out there and keep me lifted right now, Gonzalez said.

And he did that job, he was out there doing his job and putting in runs for us.

Desmond in fact accounted for both Nationals runs, he launched a solo home run in the second inning and poked a RBI single in the fourth. He and Gonzalez played against eachother while in high school in Florida and the Nats pitcher is thankful to now play for the same team.

Ive known Desi for quite a while now, almost ten years now or nine years, and hes always been the same athlete I remember in high school, he said.

He is a competitor, he was a leader when he was in high school and I feel like hes a leader in here too.

Of all the surprises the Nationals have seen this season, a lot of good and some bad with injuries, Desmonds play may be the most positive development. The 26-year-old has been one of the teams most maligned players in recent years with sinking on-base percentages and soaring error totals.

Before the season Desmond looked like the one weak link in the Nats lineup on paper, it was a big question whether he could handle the leadoff position with such a deep lineup behind him. But this year Desmond has found success in all parts of the game and has been one of their most consistent all-around players.

Desmond was switched from leadoff to the fifth spot on Saturday and in the three games since has not slowed down. After Monday he is 5-for-13 with four RBI, a homer, and a run when batting fifth. It represents a different dynamic, clearing the table rather than setting it, but Desmond is happy almost wherever he hits.

I like batting everywhere but eight. I really dont mind hitting anywhere. I am fortunate to have good hitters around me to get good pitches, he said.

Desmond is now tied with Adam LaRoche for the team lead with seven home runs on the season. His seven in 41 games has him on pace to hit 27 homers on the season which would be five more than he hit in his first three MLB seasons combined. It also slots him first in the National League for shortstops and third overall in the majors.

As for why he is hitting with more power this season?

I think daddy strength. They say when you have a kid you get stronger, so thanks Grayson, he said, referring to his young son.

I dont know whats happening, Im blacking out.

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Wilson Ramos exits Nats game vs. D'Backs with injury

Wilson Ramos exits Nats game vs. D'Backs with injury

The Nationals suffered another injury to an important player on Monday night, as All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos fell down holding his right leg on a throw home in the sixth inning on Monday night against the Diamondbacks.

Ramos was then helped off the field by trainers and teammates as Pedro Severino came in to replace him. Others in the Nats dugout looking stunned as he went straight to the locker room.

Ramos had surgery in 2012 to reconstruct his knee after tearing both his ACL and MCL. He missed the team's first playoff run because of it and has since blossomed into one of the best catchers in the majors.

Ramos fell down on a wet field after the game was resumed after a 20-minute rain delay. The 29-year-old is set to hit free agency this offseason for the first time in his career.

The Nationals are already without Bryce Harper (thumb) and Daniel Murphy (strained buttock) temporarily. Starter Stephen Strasburg is out indefinitely with a right flexor mass strain. Losing Ramos for any period of time would be a big blow with the playoffs right around the corner.

More on this story as it develops...

[RELATED: Thoughts on the death of Marlins star Jose Fernandez]

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VIDEO: Dee Gordon homers in Marlins' 1st at-bat since Jose Fernandez' death

VIDEO: Dee Gordon homers in Marlins' 1st at-bat since Jose Fernandez' death

As the Marlins' leadoff hitter, Dee Gordon was the first to step into the batter's box on Monday night in the team's first game since the death of superstar pitcher Jose Fernandez.

It was an emotional moment after the team embraced at the pitcher's mound in his memory. Gordon began by imitating Fernandez' stance on the first pitch from Mets starter Bartolo Colon. That was great, but what happened next could not have been scripted.

Gordon hit his first homer of the season to the upper deck in right field and broke down into tears as he rounded the bases. He was then comforted in the dugout by teammates as he stepped off the field.

See it for yourself:

That's just amazing.

[RELATED: Thoughts on the death of Marlins star Jose Fernandez]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE NATIONALS STORIES