Stephen Strasburg held the Atlanta Braves to three runs on eight hits in 5 1⁄3 IP tonight in SunTrust Park, but his work on the mound was overshadowed by his night at the plate in what ended up a 3 for 3 game for the Washington Nationals’ right-hander.
Strasburg scored two runs and drove in a total of five runs with a single and a run scored the first time up in the third, a three-run home run when he got up again in what ended up an eight-run top of the third inning, and a two-run single in the fifth which gave the Nats a 10-1 lead in what ended up a 13-4 win.
Strasburg vs the Braves: Stephen Strasburg took on the Braves tonight for the third time in 2019, after going (2-0) in the first two starts against Atlanta, with a 3.46 ERA, five walks, 16 Ks, and a .213/.296/.298 line against in 13 IP against Washington’s divisional rivals.
The second outing (in which he gave up three runs on five hits in six innings) started a four-outing unbeaten streak which he took into tonight’s appearance, over which he’d put up a 2.39 ERA with six walks, 29 Ks, and a .212/.271/.293 line against in 26 1⁄3 IP.
Strasburg fell behind early, with Ronald Acuña, Jr. singling to center on a 1-1 curve, stealing second base, and scoring on an opposite field RBI single by Freddie Freeman, who went to left-center with a 3-2 changeup to drive Acuña, Jr. in and make it 1-0 Braves after one.
After tossing a scoreless, 11-pitch second, in which he picked up his fourth and fifth Ks, the Nationals’ starter hit a single, scored a run, and hit a three-run homer in the top of the third inning as the Nats put together an eight-run frame and knocked Braves’ starter Kyle Wright out of the game, 8-1.
What looked like an inning-ending double play was overturned in the bottom of the fourth, and with a runner on first, Brian McCann hit a ground-rule double to left in the next at bat, but a ground ball that Ryan Zimmerman handled (tossing to the covering pitcher) ended a 16-pitch frame which left Strasburg at 73 pitches total after four.
Strasburg drove in two more runs with a single in the fifth (3 for 3, 5 RBIs), making it a 10-1 game, and he tossed a scoreless bottom of the inning before a leadoff walk in the sixth led to the Braves’ second run with Josh Donaldson taking the free pass and scoring on an RBI triple by Ozzie Albies, 10-2.
Brian McCann followed with an RBI double, 10-3, on Strasburg’s 106th pitch, and that was it for his outing...
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 106 P, 65 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
Wright vs the Nationals: Called up after Max Fried was placed on the IL, Kyle Wright, 23, and the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, returned to the Braves’ rotation after making three starts for Atlanta in March/April in which he had a 7.07 ERA, 10 walks, 11 Ks, and a .278/.400/.574 line against in 14 IP.
Wright had a 4.86 ERA, 21 walks, and 67 Ks in 14 starts and 70 1⁄3 IP at Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves’ system before he was called back up to the big leagues for tonight’s outing, with a 1.99 ERA, eight walks, and 37 Ks in 31 1⁄3 IP over his last five starts for Atlanta’s top minor league affiliate.
Wright tossed two scoreless to start, as the Braves jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but the Nats strung together some hits in the third, with Stephen Strasburg singling to center field in front of Adam Eaton, who hit a liner to left that Ronald Acuña, Jr. dove for and missed so that Strasburg was able to score from first and tie it up, 1-1.
Eaton scored on an RBI double to center by Anthony Rendon in the next at bat, 2-1. Two walks (to Juan Soto and Kurt Suzuki) loaded the bases with two out, and a third walk to Nationals’ infielder Brian Dozier forced in another run, 3-1.
Victor Robles battled Wright and worked the count full in the next at bat before lining a two-run, ground-rule double to left to make it a 5-1 game and end the Braves’ starter’s night...
Kyle Wright’s Line: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 43 P, 27 S, 0/1 GO/FO.
Robles is Streaking: With a single last night (his only hit in a 1 for 4 performance), Victor Robles extended his hitting streak to seven-straight games, over which the 21-year-old outfielder has gone 9 for 27 (.333/.357/.519) with two doubles, a homer, a walk, and eight strikeouts over that stretch.
Robles also had hits in 15 of 17 heading into the series opener in Atlanta, and he made it 16 of 18 (and an eight-game hit streak) with a two-run, ground-rule double as part of the Nats’ eight-run third inning.
BULLPEN ACTION: Touki Toussaint took over for Wright in the third, with two runners on and the Nationals up 5-1, and gave up a three-run blast to left field by Stephen Strasburg, who crushed a 1-0 fastball, 8-1. Second hit of the inning for Strasburg.
STEPHEN STRASBURG DANCING KLAXON pic.twitter.com/WYTvOO6Y1I— Blake Finney (@FinneyBlake) July 19, 2019
Toussaint tossed a scoreless top of the fourth, settling things down after the Nationals’ big third, but he couldn’t get Strasburg out in the fifth.
Strasburg hit a one-out, two-run single to left off the Braves’ righty, driving in two more runs (for 5 RBIs total) and making it a 10-1 Nationals’ lead.
Sean Newcomb worked around a leadoff double by Ryan Zimmerman for a scoreless top of the sixth.
Matt Grace took over for Strasburg with one on and one out in the sixth and stranded the runner he inherited to keep it a 10-3 game.
Jerry Blevins threw a quick, 1-2-3 top of the seventh inning to keep it a seven-run game.
Tanner Rainey’s slider was filthy as he struck out the side in a quick, 10-pitch bottom of the seventh.
A.J. Minter gave up a double by Anthony Rendon, a walk to Juan Soto, an RBI double by Ryan Zimmerman, a sac fly by Kurt Suzuki, and an RBI single by Brian Dozier in the top of the eighth, 13-3.
Kyle McGowin gave up a solo shot to left by Nick Markakis with one out in the Braves’ half of the eighth. No. 9 for Markakis, 13-4.
Charlie Culberson was probably the Braves’ best pitcher tonight, throwing a scoreless top of the ninth before McGowin came back out with a scoreless bottom of the inning.
Nats win, 13-4 in SunTrust.
Nationals now 51-44