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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 1


Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 1

Game in a nutshell: The Nationals had to like their chances with Stephen Strasburg on the mound against a Marlins lineup he's owned. And they really had to like their chances after they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second, with Strasburg and Adam LaRoche each delivering two-run singles. Strasburg did the rest of his damage on the mound, tossing six scoreless innings to bounce back from a ragged outing five days ago. Craig Stammen gave up a run in the seventh, but Sean Burnett tossed a scoreless eighth and then Drew Storen -- yes, Drew Storen -- pitched the ninth for his first save of the season. Thus, the Nationals took three of four from the Marlins and improved to 22 games over .500: a new season high.

Hitting highlight: The Nationals scored four runs in the bottom of the second, thanks to a pair of clutch hits from their most-consistent offensive players this season: LaRoche and Strasburg. Seriously, who has been a more consistent force with the bat than Strasburg, who is now hitting .343 with seven RBI? (That's more RBI than the Marlins' Nos. 1 and 2 hitters had entering today, by the way.) The big guy came to the plate with two on in the second and promptly sent a base hit to right field, bringing both runners home. Later that inning, LaRoche delivered his latest clutch hit: another two-run single. That gave the veteran first baseman 71 RBI for the season, which ranks seventh in the NL.

Pitching highlight: Coming off arguably the worst start of his brief career, Strasburg found solace in a familiar foe: the Marlins. The right-hander hasn't given up a run to Miami since last season (when the franchise's "city" name was still Florida). He's now thrown 27 consecutive scoreless innings against the Fish, including six superb frames today. Following his coaching staff's message, Strasburg relied mostly on his fastball, and because of it he managed to stay efficient. At 91 pitches through six innings, Davey Johnson could have left his starter in a bit longer. But why take a chance at this point in the season?

Key stat: Strasburg has given up four or more earned runs five times in his career. His ERA the next time he pitches: 0.90.

Up next: The Nationals hit the road for a 10-game, three-city road trip. It all begins at 8:05 p.m. Monday in Houston, with Edwin Jackson facing lefty Dallas Keuchel.

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Trey Turner ties franchise record of stolen bases in single game with Nats 6-1 win over Cubs

Trey Turner ties franchise record of stolen bases in single game with Nats 6-1 win over Cubs

WASHINGTON -- Neither of the past two NL Cy Young Award winners had his best stuff, though Max Scherzer handled things much better than Jake Arrieta.

Scherzer allowed one run and two hits as the Washington Nationals knocked Arrieta out in the fifth inning on the way to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night. While Arrieta was slow to the plate and allowed seven stolen bases, Scherzer (9-5) threw a strong six innings, striking out six with no walks and retiring 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.

"I didn't really have great fastball command tonight, but I was able to use my offspeed to kind of collect outs when I needed to and I didn't walk anybody," said Scherzer, who allowed an earned run in the first inning for the first time since April but was in command the rest of the night. "When we needed shutdown innings we got them."

Arrieta (7-6), on the other hand, struggled with his control as he issued a season-high six walks and allowed five earned runs, getting the hook two batters into the fifth inning. The 2015 Cy Young winner hadn't walked more than three batters in a game this season.

Manager Joe Maddon quipped that the Cubs "let the wrong guys on base," but catcher Miguel Montero blamed Arrieta for all the steals.

"The reason why they were running left and right today because they know he was slow to the plate," a visibly frustrated Montero said. "It really sucked because the stolen bases go to me, and when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn't give me any time."

Four of the Montreal Expos/Nationals franchise record seven steals came from speedy shortstop Trea Turner, who Arrieta called a "factor" any time he's on.

"I don't care who is behind the plate," Arrieta said. "He's a threat."


Washington manager Dusty Baker said the team knew Arrieta was a pitcher to run on, and the result was a lot of small ball for a team accustomed to driving in runs with power. Washington center fielder Michael Taylor went 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Scherzer washed out the RBI triple he allowed to Kris Bryant in the first by driving in a run with an infield single off Arrieta's glove in the fourth.

When Scherzer was lifted after 93 pitches through six with a comfortable 6-1 lead, the Nationals' beleaguered bullpen got three clean innings of relief from Enny Romero, Blake Treinen, Oliver Perez and Matt Albers.

Trey Turner tied the franchise record with four steals in a game, repeating his own feat from two weeks ago. He had a chance in the eighth to break the record and move within one of the most in a game in the modern era of baseball but did not try with Bryce Harper up and a five-run lead.

"I don't think I was held, but I didn't know if I was supposed to go," said Turner, who has 32 stolen bases this season.

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Nationals stage spirited rally in ninth but fall just short in series opener vs. Cubs

Nationals stage spirited rally in ninth but fall just short in series opener vs. Cubs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wade Davis struck out batting leader Ryan Zimmerman with runners on second and third to end Washington's ninth-inning rally, and the Chicago Cubs held off the Nationals 5-4 Monday night.

In jeopardy of being shut out for the first time this season, the NL East-leading Nationals scored four times in the ninth. Their comeback began against Hector Rondon and continued when Davis entered.


With Washington down 5-3, Bryce Harper's single loaded the bases with two outs. Davis threw a wild pitch that scored a run before striking out a swinging Zimmerman, who's hitting .344. The final pitch bounced, and catcher Willson Contreras zipped a low throw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to close out the victory.

Contreras hit a leadoff home run in his first career game-opening at-bat and Eddie Butler (4-2) worked five scoreless innings to keep the Cubs ahead.