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Instant Analysis: Strasburg shuts down Marlins

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Instant Analysis: Strasburg shuts down Marlins

Game in a nutshell: Stephen Strasburg was stuck in a three-game losing streak. Ian Desmond was out of the lineup with a lingering oblique strain. The Nationals were silenced at the plate. Reason to worry? Um, no. Strasburg tossed six scoreless innings to improve to 10-4 for the season. He also chimed in with another RBI single, setting in motion a two-run rally off Ricky Nolasco in the top of the fifth. The Nats added two more runs off Nolasco in the sixth, with Michael Morse driving in one run and Danny Espinosa driving in the other. Tyler Clippard got himself into a big jam in the ninth, loading the bases with nobody out. But he escaped it and thus secured the Nats' fifth shutout victory of the season.

Hitting highlight: With Desmond on the bench, the Nats needed an offensive spark from somebody. So they turned to their best hitter ... Strasburg. Seriously, nobody has consistently put up better numbers at the plate than the All-Star pitcher. Strasburg drew a two-out walk in the third, becoming the first player to reach base against Nolasco. Then with two outs in the fifth, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen decided to intentionally walk Jhonatan Solano and take his chances with the pitcher. Won't they ever learn? Strasburg laced an RBI single to right to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. He's now hitting .385 (10-for-26) this season with four RBI, a .448 on-base percentage and .654 slugging percentage.

Pitching highlight: Strasburg wasn't in top form today. He gave up six hits and a walk, bounced multiple pitches in front of the plate and put himself in trouble several times. But when he really needed to make pitches, he did. And that's how he still wound up tossing six shutout innings. With two on in the second, he struck out John Buck. With the bases loaded in the third, he struck out Logan Morrison and got Hanley Ramirez to ground out (with Ryan Zimmerman making a nice play). And with runners on second and third in the fifth, he struck out Ramirez on a 2-2 curveball. That's called rising to the occasion, and that's what the ace of a playoff staff is supposed to do.
Key stat: All seven of the Nats' hits today were singles, which means their consecutive streak of games with at least one extra-base hit ended at 85.

Up next: This series isn't over yet, folks. We're wrapping around the weekend and concluding with a 7:10 p.m. Monday game. Edwin Jackson will take the ball for the Nationals against the always-combustible Carlos Zambrano.

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Bryce Harper launches mammoth home run into third deck at National Park

Bryce Harper launches mammoth home run into third deck at National Park

Bryce Harper had been in a little bit of a slump heading into Friday's game against the Padres, but in the seventh inning, he got back to what he does best. 

With a full count and a runner aboard, Harper launched an absolute bomb that landed in the third deck down the right field line at Nationals Park. That means a new seat will be painted red where the ball landed. 

Check out the blast for yourself: 

It was the 15th homer of the year for Harper, which leads the National League. 

More Nationals: Scherzer dominates Padres with 13-strikeout game

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Max Scherzer absolutely dominates Padres, piles up 13 strikeouts

Max Scherzer absolutely dominates Padres, piles up 13 strikeouts

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer allowed three hits over 8 2/3 innings, Bryce Harper and Michael A. Taylor hit two-run homers and the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 5-1 on Friday night.

Trea Turner added a solo homer and a double for Washington.

Scherzer (5-3) struck out a season-high 13. He allowed a single to Austin Hodges in the second, Ryan Schimpf's solo homer in the fourth and Allen Cordoba's single in the ninth, throwing 108 pitches, 81 for strikes

Scherzer, who tossed a season-low five innings in a loss to Atlanta last time out, retired 14 straight before Cordoba's single. After a walk to Yangervis Solarte, acting manager Chris Speier visited the mound, but he momentarily left Scherzer in.

However, after a strikeout and a hit batter, Speier called on Koda Glover who struck out pinch-hitter Hunter Renfroe to pick up his fourth save.

With Washington leading 3-1 in the seventh, Harper hit a towering shot into the third deck off reliever Kirby Yates, his 15th of the season.

After Schimpf's homer had tied it 1-1, Taylor quickly regained the lead for Washington when he homered with Matt Wieters aboard in the bottom of the inning.

Since taking over for injured center fielder Adam Lind on April 29, Taylor is hitting .307 (27 for 88) with five doubles, three triples, three homers and 10 RBIs.

San Diego starter Luis Perdomo (0-2) allowed three runs and six hits over six innings. He struck out six and walked two.

In the bottom of the first, Turner sent a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center field the Nationals' first leadoff homer of the season. It was the third of Turner's career.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: OF Manuel Margot, who left Wednesday's game with right calf soreness, was in a walking boot. Manager Andy Green said the boot is a precaution for now. "Becoming increasingly likely that it's a DL stint, but he's active tonight," Green said. . RHP Carter Capps (Tommy John surgery) threw on the side Friday. "There's talk of facing hitters again on Monday or Tuesday," Green said.

Nationals: An MRI on OF Chris Heisey confirmed he has a ruptured right biceps tendon. However, he will attempt to rehab the injury without surgery and could return in a relatively short time. Heisey was on the field during batting practice, shagging fly balls in the outfield.

INSPEIERED LEADERSHIP

With manager Dusty Baker away this weekend to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in California, bench coach Speier is the acting manager. Asked before the game about Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy being out the lineup, Speier deadpanned: "Actually, Zimmerman had a whiffle ball accident with his daughter, sprained his right wrist and Murph's back is blown out." He quickly added: "Just a day off."

UP NEXT

Padres: LHP Clayton Richards (3-5, 4.31) is 1-3 in 10 career appearances, six starts, against the Nationals with a 3.56 ERA

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 3.28) faces his hometown team for the seventh time in his career. He is 5-1 with a 3.50 ERA against San Diego.