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Nationals 4-0 over Phillies: Stephen Strasburg with seven scoreless, 10 Ks in series finale

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As expected, it was a pitchers' duel with Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels battling it out in the series finale between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nats took the Sunday matinee, 4-0, to earn a split of the four-game set.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Manuel Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' center fielder Denard Span entered this afternoon's series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies with a 28-game on-base streak going and extended it to 29 games with an RBI single to center in the bottom of the third inning. Nats' catcher Jose Lobaton reached on an error by Philly third baseman Cody Asche, moved up on a bunt by Stephen Strasburg and scored when Span's fly ball dropped in in front of Phillies' center fielder Ben Revere. 1-0 Nats after three.

Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 and threw 99 pitches over seven scoreless innings on the mound. Cole Hamels held the Nationals to just that one unearned run through seven when both teams handed it over to their bullpens.

Tyler Clippard threw a quick, scoreless eighth inning and the Nats added to their lead in the bottom of the inning with Denard Span drawing a walk off Phillies' right-hander Ken Giles and scoring on double no.29 of 2014 by Anthony Rendon. 2-0 Nationals. 3-0 when Jayson Werth followed with his 26th double of the year to bring Rendon in.

Jake Diekman entered the game with runners on first and second and delivered two wild pitches that allowed Werth and Adam LaRoche to advance and brought Werth in from third. 4-0.

That's how it ended.

4. Hard Luck: Washington's 2009 no.1 overall pick, Stephen Strasburg, gave up just four hits, two walks and one earned run in seven innings of work against the Marlins last time out in a 3-0 Nationals' loss on the road in Miami.

The start was a return to form for the 26-year-old right-hander who'd given up four runs in each of his previous two outings before facing the Fish, with a seven-inning start against the Brewers and a 5 ⅓-inning outing against the Rockies, both losses, which left him with a three-game losing streak.

"Threw everything for strikes. Really kept them off-balance. And with the exception of one hanging breaker to Giancarlo [on] the ball down the line, pitched really well." -Matt Williams on Strasburg vs the Marlins last time out

Strasburg started the month of July strong with starts against the Rockies, Orioles and Phillies in which he walked three (1.32 BB/9), struck out 26 (11.50 K/9) and posted a 2.21 ERA in 20 ⅓ IP over which he held the opposing hitters to a .213/.244/.320 line.

In his last three starts, including the strong outing vs the Marlins, he walked six (2.79 BB/9), struck out 18 (8.38 K/9) and put up a 4.19 ERA in 19 ⅓ IP over which opposing hitters had a combined .278/.333/.458 line against him.

Nationals' first-year skipper Matt Williams was pleased with the way Strasburg bounced back against Miami.

That outing began with five scoreless inning of work on the mound, but Jordany Valdespin singled to start the sixth inning and Marlins' slugger Giancarlo Stanton ripped into a hanging 2-1 curve inside in the next at bat and doubled to right field to drive in the only run Strasburg allowed.

"He was really good tonight," Williams said after the game.

"Threw everything for strikes. Really kept them off-balance. And with the exception of one hanging breaker to Giancarlo [on] the ball down the line, pitched really well."

Strasburg finished the month of July with a 3.18 ERA, a 2.91 FIP, nine walks (2.04 BB/9) and 44 Ks (9.98 K/9) in 39 ⅔ IP in which he had a .242/.288/.388 line against.

Three of his last four starts last month were on the road, however.

This afternoon, in the series finale with the Phillies, Strasburg was back in the nation's capital, where he entered the outing (6-2) in 12 starts, as opposed to (1-7) in 11 starts away from D.C., with a 2.62 ERA (vs a 4.68 ERA), a 2.32 FIP (vs 3.46) and a .241/.280/.353 line against (vs a .282/.338/.451 line against on the road).

Today's start was his fourth against Philadelphia this season, and the 10th of his career vs the Nationals' NL East rivals.

In his previous nine outings against the Phillies, Strasburg was (3-1) with a 2.41 ERA, eight walks (1.29 BB/9) and 67 Ks (10.77 K/9) in 56 IP, over which Philly hitters put up a .216/.249/.328 line against him.

The series finale in the nation's capital started with a fly to left field.

1st: Phillies' leadoff man Ben Revere lined an 0-1 fastball to left where Scott Hairston made the catch for out no.1 of the series finale. Jimmy Rollins fouled off a few 2-2 pitches, but K'd on a foul tip strike three on a 95 mph fastball high outside. Chase Utley worked the count full and took a 3-2 curve inside for a called strike three.

2nd: Ryan Howard grounded out to Asdrubal Cabrera in short right in the shift. Marlon Byrd fell behind 0-2, fouled a few off, but took a 95 mph fastball knee-high outside for a called strike three and out no.2. Grady Sizemore got to a 2-2 count, but K'd swinging at a 94 mph 2-2 fastball outside. K no.4, out no.3. 13-pitch frame. 29 total after two.

3rd: Wil Nieves sent a high fly to Denard Span in center field. Cody Asche took a 3-1 fastball low in the zone to right for a one-out single. Cole Hamels bunted Asche over/gave up an out. Ben Revere stepped in with a runner in scoring position and sent out no.3 to Span in center. 12-pitch inning, 41 total after three.

4th: Jimmy Rollins lined a 95 mph 1-2 fastball to center for a leadoff single. Chase Utley lined out to center on an 86 mph 1-2 change. Ryan Howard fell behind 0-2 and chased a changeup outside for Strasburg's  5th K, though Rollins stole second on the pitch. Marlon Byrd stepped in with a runner in scoring position and hit a low liner to third to end a 16-pitch inning that left Strasburg at 57 total after four.

5th: Grady Sizemore K'd swinging at a 94 mph 0-2 fastball. Wil Nieves sent out no.2 to Scott Hairston in left. Cody Asche lined a 95 mph 1-1 fastball to the right-center gap for a two-out double. Cole Hamels stepped in, and after a challenge on a pick attempt by Lobaton and Ian Desmond that almost got Asche and had to be reviewed, the Phillies' starter grounded out to second to end a 13-pitch frame. 70 total after five scoreless. 1-0 Nats.

6th: Ben Revere K'd swinging wildly at a filthy 0-2 bender. Jimmy Rollins grounded sharply to second where Asdrubal Cabrera made a diving stab and strong throw to first. Chase Utley K'd swinging at an 81 mph 1-2 curve to end a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 frame. 83 pitches overall.

7th: Denard Span was two steps in front of the center field wall when he caught a long fly ball off of Ryan Howard's bat. Marlon Byrd started up 3-0, and walked on four pitches, taking the first free pass of the game from Strasburg. Grady Sizemore K'd swinging through a 95 mph 1-2 fastball up high. K no.9. Wil Nieves spit on a 1-2 curve out of the zone outside as Byrd stole second, but chased a 2-2 curve into the dirt for a swinging strike three, out no.3 and K no.10 for Strasburg. 16-pitch frame. 99 pitches overall after seven.

Stephen Strasburg's Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 99 P, 68 S, 5/3 GO/FO.

3. Hamels on the Hill: Cole Hamels took the mound in the series finale in the nation's capital with a personal four-game winning streak going and a chance to help the Phillies take three of four from the Nationals in Nats Park.

In his last five starts, following a loss to the Marlins in his first outing in July, the 30-year-old lefty was (4-0) with a 1.47 ERA, six walks (1.47 BB/9) and 39 Ks (9.57 K/9) in 36 ⅔ IP over which he held opposing hitters from the Brewers, Nats, Braves, Giants and Mets to a combined .205/.250/.280 line.

His outing against the Nationals, in Citizens Bank Park, saw the veteran southpaw give up four hits, three walks and three runs in the only start in his last five in which the Phillies suffered a loss, though he received no decision.

That start was Hamels' only outing against Washington this season.

In 29 career starts vs the Nationals in his nine major league campaigns, the '02 Phillies' 1st Round pick was (15-6) with a 2.63 ERA, 50 walks (2.38 BB/9) and 195 Ks (9.16 K/9) in 191 ⅔ IP over which he'd held Nats' hitters to a .219/.276/.342 line.

On the road in Nationals Park, Hamels entered today's start with a (4-2) record in eight outings, a 2.52 ERA, 15 walks (2.52 BB/9) and 60 Ks (10.06 K/9) in 53 ⅔ IP in which Nationals' hitters put up a combined .229/.288/.333 line against him.

In 10 road starts this season, Hamels actually had better numbers than he did at home in CBP, with a (4-3) record in 10 outings, a 1.70 ERA (vs 3.50 at home) and a 2.32 FIP (vs 3.56), though he'd held opposing hitters at bay wherever he was pitching, with a .224/.292/.367 line against in 61 ⅔ IP at home and a .224/.290/.320 line against in 68 ⅔ IP on the road.

Hamels' second start of 2014 against the Nats and the 30th of his career against the Nationals, began with an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the first.

The Nats went down in order in the second, with Adam LaRoche grounding out and Ian Desmond and Scott Hairston striking out in a 10-pitch frame.

Jose Lobaton reached on an E:5 on hard-hit grounder to Cody Asche and moved up on a sac bunt/free out by Stephen Strasburg. Denard Span stepped in with a runner in scoring position and dropped a single into center for an RBI hit and a 1-0 lead. 15-pitch frame for Hamels. 36 pitches total after three.

The Nationals went down in order in a 10-pitch fourth by Hamels, who was up to 46 pitches total after four.

Scott Hairston singled to left to start the Nationals' fifth, but was stranded at first three outs later, as Hamels completed a scoreless 14-pitch frame. 60 pitches total.

Denard Span singled to short to start the bottom of the sixth, stole second two outs later and took third as Adam LaRoche walked with two down. Ian Desmond stepped up with runners on the corners and two out and lined to right to end a 13-pitch frame by Hamels, who was up to 73 pitches overall after six.

A 13-pitch bottom of the seventh left Hamels at just 86 pitches overall.

Cole Hamels' Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 86 P, 66 S, 5/6 GO/FO.

2. 29 Straight?: When Denard Span singled to start last night's game he extended his streak of games in which he reached base to 28 straight.

"It sets the table for the guys in the middle. Certainly it helps if he has the ability to steal second base and get in scoring position with nobody out in the top of the first." -Matt Williams on Denard Span's on-base skills

Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked after the Nationals' 11-0 win about how important it was for the center fielder and leadoff man to get on base and start things up.

"It sets our table," Williams said. "It sets the table for the guys in the middle. Certainly it helps if he has the ability to steal second base and get in scoring position with nobody out in the top of the first. It just puts pressure on the other club."

Over the course of those 28 games, Span has put up a .367/.453/.404 line with four doubles, 18 walks and 15 Ks.

Span sent a fly to left in his first at bat of the game, but the second time up he extended his on-base streak to 29 games with an RBI single to center that made it a 1-0 Nats.

On the year after the hit, Span was up to a .292/349/.344 line.

1. The Wrap-Up: Tyler Clippard took the mound for the Nationals in the eighth with a 1-0 lead and retired the Phillies in order in a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth in which he recorded two Ks.

Ken Giles gave up a leadoff walk to Denard Span and back-to-back doubles by Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth as the Nationals took a 3-0 lead in the eighth. Giles walked Adam LaRoche intentionally before striking Ian Desmond out in his final at bat on the mound. Jake Diekman took over with Bryce Harper up and threw a wild pitch that allowed both Werth and LaRoche to move up and another wild one let Werth score. 4-0.

Rafael Soriano came on with the four-run lead and set the Phillies down in order with help from a leaping Adam LaRoche.

Nationals now 60-49