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Washington Nationals avoid sweep with 2-1 win over St. Louis Cardinals: Stephen Strasburg reaches 1,500 career Ks...

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Washington’s Nationals stopped a three-game slide and avoided a sweep with a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg held the St. Louis Cardinals to a run on six hits in 6 23 IP, striking out nine of the 27 batters he faced in what ended up a 2-1 win for the Washington Nationals, who avoided a sweep by taking the finale of the four-game set in the nation’s capital.

Strasburg’s 8th K of the night was the 1,500th of his MLB career, making the ‘09 No. 1 overall pick the fastest starter to reach that mark (in terms of innings pitched) in Major League history.

Strasburg vs St. Louis: Through six starts before this afternoon’s outing, Stephen Strasburg was (2-1) with a 3.82 ERA, 10 walks, 48 Ks, and a .200/.253/.386 line against in 37 23 IP, over which the 30-year-old righty was up and down in terms of results.

Strasburg was coming off a strong start against the San Diego Padres in which he gave up four hits, a walk, and two earned runs in seven innings.

Taking on the St. Louis Cardinals today, the ‘09 No. 1 overall pick retired the first six batters he faced, striking out four, but the visiting team struck first in the third, with back-to-back hits to start the inning and a two-out RBI single to right by Kolten Wong putting the Cards up 1-0 early in the series finale.

Given a 2-1 lead to work with in the bottom of the fourth, Strasburg returned to the mound in the fifth and retired the side in order, striking out the opposing pitcher on a curve to get to eight Ks on the night and 1,500 in his career.

After working around a walk and a single for a scoreless sixth, Strasburg returned to the hill in the seventh, with the score still 2-1, and gave up a two-out single and walk that led to the Nationals’ skipper going to the bullpen...

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 Ks, 108 P, 69 S, 4/3 GO/FO.

1500 Ks: Stephen Strasburg started the night with 1,492 strikeouts in 1,267 13 innings on the mound in the majors, and as the Nationals mentioned in their pregame notes, citing the Elias Sports Bureau, he was on pace to become the fastest to 1,500 career Ks — in terms of innings pitched — in MLB history. He picked up five Ks from the first 11 batters he faced, and was up to seven strikeouts from 14 hitters after he added two in a 1-2-3 fourth. A 1-2, front door curve to the opposing pitcher in the fifth made it 1,500 Ks in 1,272 13 IP.

Hudson vs Washington: Cardinals’ right-hander Dakota Hudson was unbeaten in four starts before this afternoon’s outing, in spite of the fact that he had a 5.68 ERA and .333/.404/.564 line against in 19 IP over that stretch, which left him with a 5.63 ERA and .327/.400/.594 line against overall in six games (five starts) on the season.

Hudson retired six straight to start the game, striking out five, but issued back-to-back, two-out walks to the opposing pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, and Adam Eaton, in the third, putting two on in front of Victor Robles, who grounded out to short end a third hitless frame for the Cards’ starter.

Howie Kendrick broke up the nascent no-hit bid with an opposite field single to lead off the first, and Matt Adams followed with the second hit, another single, before a throwing error by Cards’ shortstop Yairo Muñoz on a Yan Gomes’ grounder in the next AB allowed Kendrick to score and tie it up at 1-1.

Adams took third on the error and scored on a double play grounder off Brian Dozier’s bat, 2-1.

Hudson held the Nationals there through six, striking out seven of the 24 batters he faced in a 98-pitch effort.

Dakota Hudson’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 98 P, 60 S, 7/1 GO/FO.

BULLPEN ACTION: Tony Sipp took over on the mound for Stephen Strasburg with two on and two out in the Cardinals’ seventh, and Kolten Wong (1 for 3) at the plate, and the left-handed reliever started behind 2-0, but got a pop to foul territory in right field where Victor Robles made the catch for out No. 3. Still 2-1 Nationals.

Cards’ righty Dominic Leone tossed a scoreless bottom of the seventh to keep it a one-run game in the Nats’ favor.

Kyle Barraclough got the eighth for the Nationals, giving up leadoff and one-out singles but recording two outs before Davey Martinez went to the pen again for Sean Doolittle against Harrison Bader. Doolittle got up 1-2 on the outfielder, but eventually walked him, loading the for pinch hitter Paul Goldschmidt who fell behind 0-2 quickly, fouled one off that still hasn’t landed, and K’d on a check-swing strike three on a fastball inside.

After the Nationals came up empty in the eighth, Doolittle returned to the mound in the top of the ninth and gave up a leadoff single by Yairo Muñoz, but retired the next three Cards in order to end it. Ballgame. 2-1 final.

Nationals now 13-17