Stephen Strasburg threw six scoreless innings and the Washington Nationals topped the Miami Marlins 5-1 in the next-to-last game of the 22014 regular season.
The Nats jumped on Marlins starter Nate Eovaldi for multiple base runners in the early innings and pushed a run across in the second. Bryce Harper led off with a single just past lumbering first baseman Justin Bour. He went to second on Wilson Ramos’ infield single. Asdrubal Cabrara forced Ramos as second, but beat the relay to set up first and third with one out.
Strasburg sacrificed to move Cabrera up, and Harper waited until Eovaldi made the throw to first to break for home. He beat the relay and tag by catcher Jeff Mathis, sneaking his mitt-covered left hand just ahead of the tag to put the Nats up 1-0.
It stayed that way until the fifth. With one out, Denard Span singled up the middle and went to second as Anthony Rendon drew a base on balls. Jayson Werth’s line drive single to center brought home Span.
Span set the Nationals’ record for most multi-hit games in a season with 58 and tied Christian Guzman’s team record for hits in a season with 183. Obviously, Span has one more game to stand alone.
But the rally ended there. Adam LaRoche grounded out to short, and after an Ian Desmond walk, Bryce Harper struck out swinging to end the frame.
Strasburg was done after six terrific innings on just 83 pitches, 55 for strikes. He gave up a nere two base hits and walked one with seven strikeouts. He generated eight ground ball outs opposed to two fly outs. With six scoreless innings Saturday, Strasburg finished the regular season with 20 consecutive scoreless innings pitched.
After Jerry Blevins pitched a perfect seventh inning and Tyler Clippard a 20-pitch scoreless eighth, the Nationals blew the game open in bottom of the eighth.
Ryan Zimmerman — who entered in the sixth at first base — and Ian Desmond singled, then Bryce Harper drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Wilson Ramos forced Zimmerman at home with a grounder to short, but Asdrubal Cabrera drilled a double to right center that cleared the bases to put the Nats up 5-0.
In the ninth, Drew Storen loaded the bases with a pair of one-out singles and an error by Zimmerman, and another error by Rendon allowed a run to come home. But Ian Desmond snared Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s line drive up the middle to end it without further angst.