Miami Marlins' slugger Giancarlo Stanton started tonight's game 7 for 17 (.412/.474/1.000) with four doubles and two home runs off Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg in the NL East rivals' respective major league careers. Stephen Strasburg's outing in Nationals Park began with a high fastball to Justin Ruggiano that went all the way to the backstop. His second pitch was popped up by the Marlins' outfielder, to Ruggiano's counterpart in center, Denard Span. Strasburg hit the outside corner with a letter-high 1-2 heater that got Ed Lucas looking for out no.2, but a two-out walk to Christian Yelich brought Stanton to the plate with a runner on in the first. Strasburg "missed" with an 0-2 fastball that home plate umpire Scott Barry thought was outside, so he came back with a 96 mph four-seamer inside and got Stanton swinging to end a 15-pitch opening frame.
Nats' leadoff man Denard Span had an 11-game hit streak (18 for 44) when he sent a grounder back up the middle and off Marlins' shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria's glove. Seeing it bounce into center, Span rounded first and headed for second and had a hustle double when he slid in safely. Ryan Zimmerman's groundout to the right side of the infield moved Span over to third, but Bryce Harper K'd swinging through a full-count change for out no.2 of the Nats' first and Henderson Alvarez got a groundout to third from Jayson Werth to end a 14-pitch bottom of the inning. 0-0 after one in D.C.
Stephen Strasburg needed just seven pitches, five of them strikes in a quick, 1-2-3 top of the second which had him through two scoreless on 22 total.
Ian Desmond was the second straight leadoff runner to reach for the Natsionals when he singled off Henderson Alvarez's leg for an infield hit. Adam LaRoche took an 0-2 two-seamer inside for a called strike three and out no.1. Wilson Ramos chased a 1-2 two-seamer out of the zone away for a swinging K. But as the skies over the Navy Yard opened up, locally grown hero Steve Lombardozzi lined a two-out RBI double to the left-center gap to bring Desmond around and make it 1-0 Nationals before there was a rain delay...