Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 1

Stephen Strasburg relinquished control and found his command

Friday night.

The right-hander allowed one hit over six innings and Ryan

Zimmerman homered to help the Washington Nationals rout the

slumping Arizona Diamondbacks 9-1 on Friday night for their seventh

straight win.

Strasburg (13-5) had been dealing with slight soreness in his

mid-back from sleeping awkwardly a couple of starts ago. The

stiffness was exacerbated Friday when the game was delayed for nine

minutes when Miguel Montero fouled a pitch off home plate umpire

Dale Scott’s mask, forcing the crew chief from the game.

”I got a little stiff standing out there,” Strasburg said.

”It happens. I just wanted to go out there and grind through

it.”

Strasburg pitched into trouble for the first time all game,

walking Montero after already having walked Justin Upton. Chris

Johnson followed with a sharp single to left for Arizona’s lone

run.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson took the blame for not pulling

Strasburg into the dugout during the delay.

”It really affected him,” Johnson said. ”We should have known

it was going to take 10 minutes and I left him standing out there.

My coaches did, too, so I blame them, too.”

But Strasburg regained his command by focusing less on his

control, struck out the side looking in the fifth and retiring the

final seven hitters he faced.

”I just wanted to out there and let it rip and that’s when I

got my command back,” he said.

Strasburg struck out six, issued four walks and threw 58 of his

104 pitches for strikes en route to his second career one-hit

outing.

”When he mixes in his changeup, there’s no chance,” Johnson

said.

Strasburg raised his season innings total to 133 1-3, just under

27 fewer than the 160-inning cap the Nationals have planned for him

in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.

Michael Morse homered, Steve Lombardozzi had a career-high four

hits and scored three runs and Bryce Harper added two sacrifice

flies for the Nationals, who remained 4 1-2 games ahead of Atlanta

in the NL East.

”It’s starting to get more exciting,” Lombardozzi said.

Arizona starter Trevor Cahill (9-10) went six innings, allowing

four runs, six hits and three walks while striking out four.

”They made me work and it was one of those nights I couldn’t

put anyone away,” Cahill said.

The Diamondbacks have lost five of seven.

Lombardozzi tripled and scored on Harper’s first sacrifice fly

to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the third.

Johnson tied the game in the fourth but Washington took the lead

for good in the fifth when Lombardozzi singled with one out and

Zimmerman homered a dozen rows into the stands in left to put the

Nationals ahead 3-1.

”We just didn’t have a lot of energy to overcome that

tonight,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.

Morse led off the sixth with his homer, a 446-foot shot onto the

concourse above the wall in center field. Lombardozzi singled again

in the seventh and scored on a throwing error for his third run of

the game.

Washington added four runs in the ninth off Mike Zagurski, the

Diamondbacks’ fourth pitcher. The last two runs scored on a double

by Jayson Werth.

NOTES: Johnson said Harper will get Saturday off and return for

the series finale Sunday. . Johnson has 17 RBIs in 11 games with

Arizona. . Strasburg’s four walks were his most since a four-walk,

three-inning start June 30 at Atlanta. … Montero’s fourth-inning

at-bat was an adventure. One pitch before fouling the ball off

Scott’s mask, he lost his grip on his bat and it flew into the

stands, striking a fan in her abdomen. She was OK and later

returned the bat. . Scott immediately spun and dropped to a knee

after he was hit before slowly leaving the field under his own

power. C.B. Bucknor came in from third base to replace Scott. …

Johnson is 3 for 5 with three RBIs in his career against Strasburg.

… Morse’s home run extended his suddenly shortened hitting streak

to eight games. Morse had an 18-game streak before a scoring change

made Friday afternoon turned his lone hit Aug. 2 to an error. …

Before the game, the Diamondbacks placed RHP Josh Collmenter on the

15-day DL because of ulcers and recalled RHP Brad Bergesen from

Triple-A Reno. Collmenter is 3-3 with a 4.24 ERA in 22 games,

including nine starts.