Sep 21, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcherStephen Strasburg
(37) throws the ball in the seventh inning at Marlins Ballpark. The Nationals won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Strasburg was in prime form Sunday afternoon as the Nationals beat the Marlins, 2-1, to cap a four-game sweep of Miami. It was a fitting end to a dominant road trip for the Nationals, who went 9-2 on an 11-game tour of New York, Atlanta and Miami.
A few weeks ago, Strasburg’s late-summer slump had raised questions as to whether or not he would be the best choice to start Game 1 of the NLDS. In recent starts, however, Strasburg has reasserted himself as the team’s true ace, turning in excellent starts nearly every time he’s taken the mound in September. Sunday afternoon was no exception.
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Strasburg dominated the Marlins’ lineup all day long, allowing just three hits while striking out five over seven scoreless innings. It was one of the best starts of the season for the Nationals’ right-hander and he appears to be in great shape heading into the postseason.
With the win — his 13th of the season — Strasburg is now 6-2 with a 2.51 ERA in his last 10 starts.
Unfortunately for Strasburg, the Nationals’ offense didn’t help much early on. While the right-hander was dealing on the mound, his teammates were struggling to figure out Marlins’ starter Nathan Eovaldi, who shut them out for the first four innings.
It remained a 2-0 game until the bottom of the ninth, when Rafael Soriano did what Rafael Soriano does: he made things interesting.
Making his first save attempt since losing the closer’s job earlier this month, Soriano looked rattled, allowing hard hit balls to four of the five batters he faced. The Marlins cut the Nationals’ lead in half on a sacrifice fly by Donovan Solano, but Soriano managed to escape the jam, earning his 32nd save of the season and securing a 2-1 win for the Nationals.
Next game: After a well-earned off day on Monday, the Nationals are back home Tuesday to take on the Mets. Right-hander Tanner Roark (14-10, 2.85 ERA) gets the start for the Nationals, while the Mets send Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.02 ERA) to the mound in Game 1 of the series.