Stephen Strasburg limited the Milwaukee Brewers to just three hits and four walks in seven innings pitched, but relief pitching cost the Washington Nationals a 4-0 loss.
Strasburg (ND, 4-6) was stellar by all accounts. He jammed up batters with his curveball, striking out eight and lowering his ERA to just 2.24 – which is easy to overlook given his sub-par wins-to-losses record.
His only trouble spot was the sixth inning, during which Milwaukee loaded the bases with just one out. Strasburg, however, regained control in time to strike out Juan Francisco and Sean Halton to pitch out of the jam.
Much to the Nationals’ dismay, Wily Peralta (ND, 5-9) also looked sharp. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed just three hits in 5.1 innings pitched and walked only two Nationals during his stint.
In the eighth, Washington called upon none other than Drew Storen to relieve Strasburg. Storen gave up a leadoff single to Logan Schafer before walking Rickie Weeks and forcing Aramis Ramirez to fly out to center, holding the runners.
The next batter – Francisco – doubled deep to center, scoring both Schafer and Weeks to give the Brewers the first two runs of the game.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.
After Sean Halton lined out to center, Martin Maldonado doubled to left field, where it first looked as though Bryce Harper would run down the ball. Instead, the ball rattled out of his glove for a double that plated Francisco. Afterwards, Maldonado crossed home on a Jeff Bianchi single to make it 4-0 Milwaukee.
By the time Ian Krol took the mound to replace Storen in the ninth, too much damage had been done as the Nationals’ offense remained asleep.
Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back singles to start the ninth, fueling hope of a last-minute rally. Milwaukee reliever Francisco Rodriguez had other plans, however, striking out Kurt Suzuki and Roger Bernadina before forcing Denard Span to pop out to end the game.
THE GOOD: Stephen Strasburg looked like Stephen Strasburg once again. Sadly, as has been tradition, the Nationals’ offense did little – in this case, nothing – to support him. In fact, the Nationals made the Brewers’ motley crew of pitchers look simply dominant.
THE BAD: Officially beyond the halfway mark, the Nationals are now just a game over .500 and have fallen seven games back in the National League East.
THE UGLY: The Nationals were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and the team collectively stranded 10 men on base.
Ryan Zimmerman committed his 14th error of the season in the form of a throwing error that helped Milwaukee load the bases in the sixth off Strasburg.
THE STATS: 0 R, 8 H, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 E, 10 LOB
NEXT GAME: Brewers at Nationals – Wednesday, 6:05 p.m. RHP Kyle Lohse (3-6, 3.63) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (2-6, 4.13)