August 19, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 134 Review: Strasburg Tosses Gem in Nats Win

WERTH HOMERS, STRASBURG STRONG AS NATS DEFEAT MARINERS

On Saturday night at Safeco Field, the Washington Nationals didn’t need six homers like they did Friday night to defeat the Seattle Mariners, 3-1.

Instead of an offensive onslaught, it was the steady arm — at least on this night — of ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg that led the Nationals to victory.

In a low-scoring affair, the Nationals put their first runs on the board to lead off the game. Thanks to a fielding error that put Denard Span (0-for-4) aboard to leadoff the game, Jayson Werth (1-for-3, 2 RBI, BB) then hit his second home run in as many games to give the Nationals an early 2-0 advantage.

On a night when Strasburg brought his best to the mound, that was plenty.

Strasburg pitched four 1-2-3 innings and the fourth inning saw him strike out the side. Admist the dominant innings, Strasburg was also clutch. With a man 90 feet from home in the third, the Nationals right-hander struck out Robinson Cano to end the inning. Two innings later and in a similar situation, Strasburg struck out Dustin Ackley to end the Mariners hopes at cutting into the deficit.

As Strasburg kept the Mariners at bay, the offense added a third run in the fifth inning for some extra insurance. After Jose Lobaton (3-for-4) singled, Anthony Rendon (1-for-4, RBI) hit a two-out double to left-center field to score Lobaton and give the Nationals their third and final run.

After getting nine consecutive outs between the fifth and eighth innings, Strasburg’s night came to an end after Ackley hit a solo-shot 374 feet over the right field wall. Matt Thorton then came on in relief of the Nationals’ starter and struck out Cano.

With two-run cushion, manager Matt Williams called upon closer Rafael Soriano to finish the came. Despite Endy Chavez putting runners at the corners with two outs, Soriano picked up the save when he forced James Jones to groundout a 2-1 pitch to second base for the game’s final out.

Strasburg (7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 95 PC/69 strikes) earned his 11th win of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.49. Thornton earned his first hold as a National and Soriano earned his 30th save of the season.

On Sunday afternoon, the Nationals go for the sweep in Seattle. They’ll send Tanner Roark to the mound to oppose the Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma. First pitch is set for 4:10 PM EST.

Game Notes

  • Rafael Soriano earned his 30th save of the season for the Nationals despite giving up two hits in the bottom of the ninth. This is the third consecutive season — fourth overall — in which he’s recorded at least 30 saves.
  • Matt Thornton continued his impressive start as a National. In 7.2 innings spanning nine contests, he has yet to allow a run to cross the plate. He’s given up five hits, but has picked up five strikeouts, including his ‘K’ of Cano on Saturday.
  • Jose Lobaton’s 3-for-4 effort deserves some recognition. His single in the top of the fifth set the stage for Anthony Rendon to pick up his 72nd RBI of the season on a double to left-center. Lobaton’s hitting hasn’t been spectacular – he’s hitting .234 AFTER Saturday – but he still deserves kudos for a job well done.
  • For the fifth time this season, Jayson Werth has homered in back-to-back games. He’s having a great month, batting a slashline of .324/.429/.485 to along with three homers and 16 RBI. The last time he hit a home run in three consecutive games was with the Phillies against the Nationals in September of 2010. Can he do it again on Sunday afternoon? It will mark the first time he’s faced Hisashi Iwakuma in his career.

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Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area and covers the Washington Nationals, Wizards and MiLB for District Sports Page. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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