Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 1
Stephen Strasburg relinquished control and found his command
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
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
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
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
”When he mixes in his changeup, there’s no chance,” Johnson
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
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.