Stephen Strasburg tossed six scoreless on 111 pitches and the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 in the series opener in Citizens Bank Park. Victor Robles hit a two-run single in the second to start the scoring, Ryan Zimmerman lined one to deep center field in the third for a sac fly, and Juan Soto hit a bases loaded sac fly to left in the ninth to make it a four-run lead.
Strasburg vs the Phillies: Stephen Strasburg got knocked around by the Phillies when he faced them back in early April, giving up six hits, four walks, and six earned runs in a four- inning outing in what ended up a 10-6 win in Citizens Bank Park in which he received no decision as the Nationals rallied from the early deficit to beat their NL East rivals.
Heading into his second start of the season in the Phillies’ home, Strasburg was coming off a strong game against the Miami Marlins in D.C. in which he threw 7 1⁄3 scoreless innings on the mound, striking out 14 of the 27 batters he faced in a 3-1 win.
Stephen Strasburg, Disgusting 95mph Two Seamer. pic.twitter.com/vSnq1uepWD— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 12, 2019
Strasburg had a 2-0 lead to work with after two and a 3-0 lead after three innings in the first of three with the Phillies tonight, and he was up to 52 pitches after his third scoreless frame.
He was up to 71 pitches in 4.0 scoreless after working around back-to-back, two-out singles in the bottom of the fourth, and he stranded one and two-out singles in the fifth as well in a 25-pitch frame that pushed him up to 96 pitches (and left the Phillies 0 for 5 w/RISP and six left on base).
Strasburg came back out for the bottom of the sixth and worked around a two-out single by Maikel Franco (3 for 3 on the night) in a 15-pitch frame which left him at 111 pitches total...
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 111 P, 70 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
Pivetta vs the Nationals: In two starts against the Nationals this season before tonight’s in the series opener in Citizens Bank, Philly right-hander (and former Washington prospect) Nick Pivetta gave up 14 hits, six walks, and 13 runs in nine innings (9.00 ERA).
Pivetta allowed seven runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 2⁄3 innings in Citizens Bank Park in April, then went 5 1⁄3 innings against the Nationals in D.C. on June 20th, giving up seven hits, three walks, and six runs, all of them earned.
Pivetta gave up two runs in the second inning of the series opener with the Nats tonight, with Juan Soto walking, Ryan Zimmerman singling, and, after Kurt Suzuki loaded them up with the second hit of the inning, Victor Robles driving in two runs with a line drive to right field that made it a 2-0 game.
Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back singles in the top of the third, putting runners on the corners, and one out later Zimmerman hit a liner to center on which Scott Kingery made a spectacular diving catch, but it was good enough for a sac fly and a 3-0 lead.
Pivetta held the Nationals there through five, but he was done after a 21-pitch fifth which left him at 87 pitches total on the night.
Nick Pivetta’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 87 P, 52 S, 8/3 GO/FO.
HR Streak: Brian Dozier homered in the “first-half” finale with Kansas City on Sunday to give the Nationals a streak of 21 straight games in which they’ve hit at least one home run.
They’d hit a total of 36 over that stretch, with Matt Adams (7), Anthony Rendon (6), Juan Soto (5), Kurt Suzuki (5), Dozier (4), Victor Robles (4), Trea Turner (2), Yan Gomes (1), Howie Kendrick (1) and Gerardo Parra (1), all contributing homers to what is the longest streak in team history (2005-present) and in franchise (Montreal/Washington) history, as well as the longest active streak in baseball and second-longest streak this season, behind only the New York Yankees, who homered in 31 straight between May 26-June 30.
Unfortunately, the streak came to an end, in Citizens Bank Park of all places, when the Nats failed to hit one out tonight.
BULLPEN ACTION: Philly righty JD Hammer took over on the mound in the top of the sixth inning, and worked around a leadoff double by Brian Dozier (16) in a 22-pitch frame.
José Álvarez came on for the Phillies in the the top of the seventh and worked around a two-out error for a scoreless inning in what was still a 3-0 game in the Nationals’ favor.
Wander Suero struck out two batters in a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh.
Edgar Garcia tossed a scoreless eighth for the home team.
Fernando Rodney got the eighth for the visitors, and got an inning-ending 6-3 DP after a one-out walk. Still 3-0.
Philly left-hander Ranger Suárez gave up back-to-back singles to start the ninth and a one-out IBB to Anthony Rendon loaded the bases in front of Juan Soto, who hit a sac fly to left field for a 4-0 lead.
Sean Doolittle came on in a non-save situation since he’d been warming (we guess) and worked around a two-out single to end it. Ballgame. 4-0 final.
Nationals now 48-42