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Washington Nationals 4-1 over Atlanta Braves: Stephen Strasburg tosses eight scoreless in Nats’ second straight win...

Stephen Strasburg put together a dominant outing, throwing eight scoreless in what ended up a 4-1 Nationals’ win over the Atlanta Braves in Washington, D.C.

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Strasburg didn’t quite match Max Scherzer’s complete game shutout in last night’s series opener, but he did hold the Atlanta Braves off the board in eight scoreless, collecting eight Ks on 103 pitches in what ended up a 4-1 win for the Washington Nationals.

Stras Ks: Stephen Strasburg reached double digits in Ks in three of four starts against the Braves in 2017, striking out 31 total vs six walks in 22 23 IP against the Nats’ NL East rivals.

Tonight in Nationals Park, the right-hander didn’t pick up his first strikeout until the third, when he collected two, but he was efficient through three scoreless, with just 35 pitches total after he retired the side in order in a 10-pitch top of the third inning.

With strikeouts of Freddie Freeman (on a 1-2 change) and Preston Tucker (the same), he was up to four Ks total on 45 pitches after four scoreless, and he added two more (six total) in a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth inning, after which he’d retired eleven-straight and 13 of 14 batters going back to a two-out walk to Freddie Freeman in the first.

Strasburg’s streak of retired batters ended at 12-straight, when Ender Inciarte got hold of an 0-2 change, knee-high outside and lined it to center for a one-out single in the Braves’ half of the sixth, but the next two batters went down in order with Freddie Freeman taking a 1-2 curve for a called strike three to end a 15-pitch frame that left Strasburg at 75 total after six scoreless.

An eight-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh left Strasburg at 83, and he came back out for the eighth, and issued a leadoff walk, then retired three straight in a 20-pitch inning that left him at 103 on the night.

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 103 P, 64 S, 9/3 GO/FO.

Harper’s Stats: Bryce Harper started the second of three with the Braves in D.C. leading the majors in home runs (6), walks (16), OPB (.553), and SLG (.966), and he was ranked second in the NL in RBIs (12), and tied for seventh in AVG (.345) after going 0 for 1 with three walks in last night’s series opener, which followed a 4 for 8 series in Atlanta last week in which he hit two home runs and drew seven walks in 15 plate appearances.

Harper singled to center on a 98 mph 1-1 fastball from Mike Foltynewicz in his first at bat of the night, moving Brian Goodwin into scoring position after the leadoff man walked to start the Nationals’ half of the inning, and both runners scored one out later on a two-run triple to center by Ryan Zimmerman, when Braves’ center fielder Ender Inciarte made an ill-advised sliding attempt and came up empty, 2-0.

Worth noting that Zimmerman was in the five spot tonight, after Davey Martinez talked last week about being comfortable sticking with Zimmerman as his cleanup hitter in spite of a slow start to the season offensively. He came up with a two on in his first at bat, and hit the triple, but grounded out with a runner in scoring position in the third after Anthony Rendon hit a double in front of him.

Martinez said he just wanted to give Zimmerman “a little breather”, and noted that batting fifth, “He’s going to get opportunities with all those guys up there to drive in runs, so it’s no big issue. I talked to Zim before I did it and he was okay with it, so I just wanted to see what it looks like.”

Brian Goodwin wasn’t supposed to be here today: Adam Eaton was a late scratch after he’d been penciled into the lineup early this afternoon, so Brian Goodwin got the start in left and led off for the Nationals, so of course Goody walked and scored a run the first time up and hit a two-out RBI single to center in the fourth to put the Nationals up 3-0.

Freeman walks: Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman started the second game of three with the Nationals this week with a .328/.398/.543 line, 36 doubles, and 18 home runs in 488 career plate appearances against Washington, and a .375/.438/.775 line, four doubles, and four home runs in 48 PAs against Nats’ starter Stephen Strasburg in their respective careers.

Freeman stepped up in the top of the first inning with 13 walks (vs six Ks) on the season, the second-highest walk total in the majors, behind only Bryce Harper’s (16), and picked up his 14th free pass in a seven-pitch at bat against Strasburg.

Strasburg struck Freeman out in the top of the fourth, throwing a 1-2 change by the Braves’ slugger.

Freeman had a runner on first and two out the third time up in the sixth, but Strasburg got him looking with a backdoor, 1-2 curve that was called strike three.

Bullpen Action: Shane Carle took over on the mound for the Braves in the sixth, with the Nationals up 3-0, and gave up a back-to-back, one-out singles by Wilmer Difo and Pedro Severino.

Stephen Strasburg tried to bunt Severino over to second only to have the opposing pitcher throw it away, over first base (E:1), allowing Difo to score, 4-0 after six.

C’mon, Sammy!: Sammy Solis took over on the mound for Stephen Strasburg with a four-run lead in the top of the ninth, and gave up a leadoff double by Ozzie Albies, and a four-pitch, one-out walk to Nick Markakis, prompting Davey Martinez to go to right-hander Ryan Madson, who gave up a two-out, RBI double to left by Dansby Swanson before recording out No. 3. Ballgame.

Final Score: 4-1 Nationals

Nationals now 6-5