After losing the first two games of a four-game series against the Phillies, the Nationals followed last night’s 11-0 beat down of their rivals from the north with another shutout win, earning Washington a series split and improving their record to 60-49.
Sunday’s game was a matchup between two aces, and the Nationals knew Stephen Strasburg would have to build off his last start and continue to overcome his recent struggles if they were to stand a chance against Phillies star Cole Hamels. Fortunately for the Nationals, Strasburg pitched like his old self, holding the Phillies to just three hits while striking out 10 over seven scoreless innings of work. It was good to see Strasburg dominate for a second straight start after the right-hander had given up four runs in each of his two previous starts.
The Nationals’ offense was forced to do most of its damage against the Phillies bullpen as Hamels was almost as good as Strasburg. Hamels held the Nationals to just one run (unearned) while striking out six over seven solid innings of work.
Washington scored its first run in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Denard Span. It remained a 1-0 game until the eighth inning when RBI doubles by Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth gave the Nationals a 4-0 win.
Nationals relievers Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano each contributed scoreless innings of work, and the Nationals held on for a 4-0 win. With the victory and a Braves loss Sunday, the Nationals now lead Atlanta by 3 1/2 games for first place in the NL East.