Entering Wednesday’s game, Stephen Strasburg had not allowed an earned run in 21 consecutive innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.
And, as good fortune would have it, the rout continued for a bit as the Nats’ right-hander fanned 11 in seven innings pitch to help Washington to an 8-4 win, complete with a nearly two-hour rain delay.
Both Strasburg (W, 5-4) and his opponent, A.J. Burnett (L, 3-5), held the offense to a minimum through the first three innings of play. In the fourth, however, Burnett’s tendency to issue walks proved costly once more.
After Adam LaRoche led off the inning with a double to left, Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to advance LaRoche to third. Then, Burnett walked both Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond before Danny Espinosa doubled in two runs.
Then, Strasburg helped himself to an RBI via a single up the middle before Denard Span hit an RBI grounder to give the Nats an all-too-easy four-run lead.
The Phillies went on to earn two back in the fifth after Domonic Brown singled and took second on a miss catch error by LaRoche. That allowed Reid Brignac to bat in Brown on a liner to left.
But, LaRoche would not be the only to record a missed catch error in the inning. With two outs, Jimmy Rollins reached first safely after Strasburg booted the ball, allowing Brignac to come home.
In the bottom of the fifth, however, Anthony Rendon did his part to erase the Phillies’ progress. On the second pitch of his at-bat, Rendon whipped one over the left-center field wall to make it 5-2 Nationals.
In the sixth, Burnett suffered a second-round skid. With one out, Espinosa singled and Strasburg drew a walk before Span doubled in Espi. Then, Rendon singled to left to plate both Strasburg and Span, bringing the Nats to an 8-2 lead.
Strasburg slipped up a bit in the seventh after allowing a one-out single to Ben Revere. Pinch-hitter John Mayberry replaced Burnett in the batting order and fought tooth and nail to make the most of his at-bat. Seven pitches in, his efforts paid off as he rocketed a two-seamer over the center field wall to cut the Nats’ lead in half.
Then, the rain rolled in.
When baseball returned one hour and 48 minutes later, it was Justin De Fratus and Aaron Barrett who took the mound for the Phillies and Nationals, respectively. Antonio Bastardo and Jerry Blevins each provided their respective teams with an inning of service, but the Nats could have done just as well had the game been called when storms swept into the area.