After suffering his first loss of the season two starts back, in his 18th start of the year, Stephen Strasburg bounced back with seven scoreless on the mound his last time out before tonight, in a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians in Progressive Field.
Strasburg improved to (14-1) on the year with that win, allowing just three hits and two walks in a 110-pitch outing in which he struck out seven of the 27 batters he faced, helping Washington avoid a third straight loss.
He wasn’t, however, interested in talking about acting as a “stopper” in the Washington Nationals’ rotation after that game.
"I try and do that every time,” the 28-year-old starter told reporters. “If we're winning, if we're losing. All I can do is what I can on the day that I pitch.”
Strasburg took the mound tonight in Phoenix, Arizona’s Chase Field with a 4-0 lead, courtesy of a sac fly by Anthony Rendon and three RBI singles by Wilson Ramos, Clint Robinson and Danny Espinosa, hoping to help the Nationals avoid a third straight loss again, and did just that, earning the decision (15-1) in what ended up a 14-1 win.
After the Nationals jumped out the early lead, the Diamondbacks got on the board with a leadoff double by Jean Segura in the first, scoring a run on an RBI groundout by Paul Goldschmidt to get within three, down 4-1 after one.
Rendon doubled to left (No.22) off fellow 2011 1st Round pick Archie Bradley to drive in two runs and put the Nationals up 6-1 in the second.
Bradley was up to 64 pitches after two.
Daniel Murphy was 2 for 2 with a walk (and 42 multi-hit games this season) after his one-out single in the fourth, and he scored from second on an RBI single by Wilson Ramos after Rendon moved him into scoring position with a single of his own, 7-1.
That was it for Bradley, who gave up 12 hits, 11 singles and threw 93 pitches in 3 ⅓ IP.
Strasburg helped the cause with his second hit of the night in the fourth, driving in a run with a bases-loaded single to center, 8-1.
Bryce Harper walked with one down in the fifth and Murphy connected for his third hit of the night, an RBI double to center that made it 9-1 Nats. Murphy’s 32nd double.
• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 99 P, 66 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
Jonathan Papelbon threw a quick, eight-pitch seventh after Strasburg was done for the night.
Wilmer Difo doubled in two runs in the eighth to make it 11-1 Nationals, driving both Ramos and Robinson in with his second two-base of the year, and Trea Turner tripled (No. 4) to drive in two more, 13-1, before scoring on a sac fly to make it a 14-1 lead.
Yusmeiro Petit threw a scoreless eighth and Mark Melancon made his Nationals debut in the ninth, striking out two in an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 frame. Ballgame. 14-1 final.
Nationals now 62-44
- Arizona dropped four of seven games with Washington last season, leaving them 30-42 overall in the all-time series between the D-Backs and Nationals.
- In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Washington is 18-8 against Arizona with wins in 9 of the last 12 with the D-Backs... since 2012.
- In today’s D-Backs-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment, Diamondbacks’ shortstop Jean Segura is 18 for 51 with a .353/.421/.549 line, four doubles, two home runs and four walks... in 13 games since July 17th.
- D-Backs’ outfielder Michael Bourn has 15 extra-base hits in 71 career games against the Nationals, with nine doubles, five triples and a home run vs the Nationals.
- Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt starts the three-game set in Chase Field with a .315 AVG, eight doubles, a triple and a home run in 24 games against the Nationals in his career.
- Nats’ outfielder Jayson Werth started the series in Chase Field with a 33-game on-base streak, over which he’s collected 28 hits and 26 walks, while posting a .383 OBP. He extended that streak to 34-straight games with an infield single in the first.
- Arizona’s starter Archie Bradley started the season as the No. 2 overall prospect on Baseball America’s list of the Diamondbacks’ top prospects, and he was No. 1 on that last in 2014 and 2015.
- Bradley was 7th overall pick by the D-Backs in the 2011 Draft, one spot after Anthony Rendon went 6th overall to the Nationals.
- Daniel Murphy returned to the lineup after taking most of the last two games off after tweaking his left leg. He started the night with hits in 14 of his last 16 games and a .382 AVG (21 for 55) with eight doubles, a triple and six home runs over that stretch.
- Murphy started the series leading the NL in AVG (.360), SLG (.620), hits (131), doubles (31), extra base hits (56) and multi-hit games (41).
- The Nationals, as a team, started the series 2nd overall in the NL in home runs (13), 4th in walks (370), 4th in runs scored (483) and 5th in stolen bases (74).
Nationals now 62-44