Stephen Strasburg (5-4) continued a run of strong starts, and the Nationals bats once again jumped all over a Phillies’ starter, scoring eight runs against A.J. Burnett (3-5) en route to an 8-4 Nats win.
Strasburg came into the game with eight straight quality starts, and he extended that streak to nine on Wednesday night. Relying primarily on an overpowering fastball and back wrenching change up, Strasburg kept the Phillies off balance for most of the night, striking out eleven in seven innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on seven hits. It was the fourth double-digit strike out game of the season for Strasburg, his first since April 25th against the San Diego Padres.
Opposing Strasburg, A.J. Burnett for his career has tantalized teams with his electric stuff, but too many times he never had an idea where the ball was going. In 2014, Burnett is posting one of the worst BB/9 rates of his career, and in the fourth inning, Burnett’s wildness cost him again. After a double to Adam LaRoche, Burnett walked the bases loaded, and then Danny Espinosa drove in two with a double that just missed being a grand slam. Strasburg and Denard Span each drove in a run, and the Nats were up 4-0.
The Phillies answered with two in the top of the fifth as Reid Brignac doubled home Dominic Brown and then scored on a Strasburg error. Anthony Rendon made the score 5-2, leading off the bottom of the fifth with his eighth home run of the season. For Rendon, it was his second straight game with a home run and his third in four games.
In the sixth, the Nats added three more, making the score 8-2. Burnett’s night was finished after six, allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits and four walks while striking out three. Burnett has now allowed 10 or more hits in two of his last three outings.
Before rain caused a nearly two-hour delay, the Phillies cut the Nats lead to 8-4 in the top of the seventh on a John Mayberry two run home run.
Rendon drove in three runs on the night and has multiple hits in the three of his last five games. Moving to a new open batting stance is working out well for Espinosa. That Nats’ second baseman went 2-for-4 and has now recorded multiple hits in two straight games. Is there a hotter hitter on the Nats than Span? After going 2-for-5 Wednesday, Span has a hit in six straight and multiple hits in six of his last eight. Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond were the only Nats’ regulars who did not record at least one hit.
Strasburg regained the NL lead in strikeouts, tied for first with David Price in the Majors, with 101, and leads both in K/9 at 11.18.
After falling two games under .500 prior to the Texas series, the Nats have won four of five, outscoring their opponents 34-10. They have now recorded double-digit hits in five of their last six games.