With losses in two straight and five of their last seven the NL East's first-place Washington Nationals needed a solid outing from right-handed starter Stephen Strasburg this afternoon in Cleveland and they got it.
Strasburg held the Indians to three hits over seven scoreless innings in what ended up a 4-1 win in Progressive Field.
Strasburg lost his first game of the season last time out, falling to (13-1) on the year in what was his first loss since early September 2015.
Dusty Baker told reporters before the game that he'd take another thirteen wins from the 27-year-old right-hander, who signed a 7-year/$175M extension with the Nationals in the middle of what ended up a 21-start unbeaten streak.
"He has been earning his money," Baker said. "I don't see why it's going to be any different today."
Strasburg struck out seven in a 110-pitch outing against the Indians, inducing four ground ball out and four fly ball outs from the 27 batters he faced.
Baker was asked if he thought Strasburg approached the outing as if he was a stopper after they dropped the series finale with the San Diego Padres on Sunday and the first of two with the Indians this week?
"You hope he does," Baker said. "That's what you want your big boys to do. And I was asked before the game, 'How's your team going to respond today?' and a lot of times you respond to the guy that's pitching on the mound because the game starts and stops with him having the ball in his hand on every play, so that was huge for him today, it was a big getaway day for us. There are some teams that are winning behind us, but we don't want to look behind us, we just want to look forward and keep winning and keep winning hopefully tomorrow and we can win game No. 60."
Strasburg said he wasn't necessarily concerned about being a stopper this afternoon.
"I try and do that every time," he told reporters. "If we're winning, if we're losing. All I can do is what I can on the day that I pitch and it's a long season so we're just going to keep grinding."
He earned his 14th win in what seemed like relatively uneventful or "mundane" outing as one reporter put it.
"It seemed like that because of how the game ended, but without Stras we wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place.
"He was outstanding and like I said before the game, he's 13-1 and if he wins 13 more and then loses I'll be very satisfied."