WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Strasburg struck out 11 in seven innings Wednesday night as the Washington Nationals kept the Philadelphia Phillies’ bats quiet yet again, winning 8-4 in a rain-interrupted game.
Strasburg (5-4) had the Phillies flailing as he hit double digits in Ks for the 15th time in his career — and for the fourth time without issuing a walk. All but one of the strikeouts were swinging, including Marlon Byrd (95 mph fastball), Ryan Howard (95 mph fastball) and Domonic Brown (88 mph changeup) when the rain started to fall in the sixth inning.
The only consolation for the Phillies is that they scored an earned run for the first time in four games when facing the Nationals’ ace. The streak reached 25 innings before Philadelphia crossed the plate twice in the fifth — once earned, once unearned. John Mayberry Jr. added a two-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh, but by then Strasburg had been working with a cushion of a half-dozen runs.
The tarp came out shortly afterward, delaying the game for 1 hour, 48 minutes.
Anthony Rendon finished with three hits and three RBIs, including a solo homer. Danny Espinosa had a two-run double that was a foot or so away from a grand slam, and Strasburg himself added a single, walk and run scored for the Nationals, whose offense has awakened from a May slumber. Washington has scored 34 runs over its last five games, and the club is above .500 for the first time in two weeks.
A.J. Burnett (3-5) again had control issues in his worst outing of the season. Tied for the majors lead in walks entering the game, he issued four more free passes, including back-to-back walks in Washington’s four-run fourth and a walk to pitcher Strasburg in the three-run sixth.
Burnett allowed eight runs and 10 hits over six innings for his first loss against the Expos-Nationals franchise since April 8, 2002, when his Florida Marlins fell 10-2 to Montreal. He had been 5-0 in nine starts and one relief appearance against the franchise since then.
The Phillies have lost five straight and are an NL-worst 9-19 since May 4. They’ve been outscored 15-4 in the first two games of this series.
The Nationals took the lead on Espinosa’s bases-loaded double that hit high off the wall in right-center in the fourth. Denard Span doubled off the same wall in the sixth to bring home a run, and Rendon followed with a two-RBI single.
The Nationals committed a pair of errors in the fifth when Strasburg and first baseman Adam LaRoche failed to catch each other’s throws. LaRoche couldn’t handle a pickoff attempt, and Strasburg had the ball glance off his glove while covering the bag on a grounder to first.
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