WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg settled down after a rocky start Friday, retiring the final 14 batters he faced to lead the Nationals to a 9-6 victory over the Phillies. The Washington righty has now won 13 straight decisions, extending a franchise record.Strasburg (10-0) stumbled early, allowing two runs in the
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg settled down after a rocky start Friday, retiring the final 14 batters he faced to lead the Nationals to a 9-6 victory over the Phillies. The Washington righty has now won 13 straight decisions, extending a franchise record.
Strasburg (10-0) stumbled early, allowing two runs in the second inning and a two-run home run to Tommy Joseph in the third. But after that, he was dominant, reaching double-digit strikeouts for the seventh time this season.
"It's just about trying to go out there and [doing] your job," Strasburg said. "They've been swinging the bat great for me, and I'm going to continue to try and keep it close for them."
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The Nationals' bats provided plenty of offense, with Wilson Ramos, Stephen Drew and Danny Espinosa all going yard, and Daniel Murphy adding two doubles and three RBIs.
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Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson lasted six innings, ceding seven runs on nine hits, including the three homers.
"I made way too many mistakes, and they didn't miss a lot of them," Hellickson said. "The biggest thing was just falling behind. Command wasn't good, especially early in the counts."
The Philadelphia bullpen was unable to quiet Washington's lineup, as callup Luis Garcia gave up two more runs in the seventh.
Philadelphia got those runs back in the eighth on another two-run homer by Joseph, but Jonathan Papelbon closed the door for Washington in the ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back, again: The Nationals hit back-to-back homers for the third time this week when Ramos and Drew went deep in the fourth inning. That's the second time Drew took part in back-to-back homers this week -- he did it with Espinosa on Wednesday versus the White Sox.
"[Drew] works hard; he stays ready," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "He knew when he signed here he was going to have limited time and opportunities. He's one of the most popular guys on the team. You can tell whenever he does well that everybody is probably happier than he is. He's been on championship teams, and he knows what it takes to work and stay ready to play."
Joseph continues to slug: Joseph has now homered four times in the past four games he's started. The right-handed Joseph homered off both right-handed Strasburg and left-handed Felipe Rivero on Friday, supporting the case that he should play every day, regardless of matchup. His batting average is up to .323, and after the game manager Pete Mackanin announced Joseph, not Ryan Howard, would be the Phillies' everyday first baseman moving forward.
"You can't say enough about Tommy Joseph," Mackanin said. "He looks like the real deal, and it's great to have him here." More >
Keep touching 'em all: The back-to-back homers were just part of a larger power display for the Nationals, who homered for the 14th consecutive game. They've homered in each game since the Mets shut them out on May 25, even more impressive for this game considering the team did not get back from Chicago until around 4 a.m.
"They showed up ready to go, and they picked me up early," Strasburg said. "We've just got a bunch of pros in here."
Hellickson gets hit around: Friday marked a bump in the road for Hellickson, who had a 2.53 ERA in his previous five starts. The righty allowed three homers and two doubles over seven innings, consistently leaving pitches up in the zone for hitters to drive. Hellickson said he was particularly frustrated with the loss given the 4-0 lead his team staked him early.
"The guys spot me a 4-0 lead in the third inning, I've got to make that stand," he said. "This loss is definitely on me."
"Like they said 'Build it, and they will come.' Well, if you play, the money will come. Don't put the money ahead of playing. Just play," -- Baker, on the advice he gave Ramos before the season about not thinking about his free agency coming up at the end of the season More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Strasburg now has won 13 straight games, and that ties Walter Johnson (1924) and Stan Coveleski (1925) for the third-longest winning streak in Washington baseball history.
Phillies:Aaron Nola takes the hill for the Phillies in the second game of their three-game series against the Nationals. Nola is coming off six scoreless innings against the Brewers on Sunday and has now thrown a quality start in nine straight outings. He holds a 2.65 ERA on the season, with 85 strikeouts in 78 innings.
Nationals:Tanner Roark starts in the Saturday matinee (12:05 p.m. ET), and the right-hander fares well in the daytime games. He's got a 2.96 ERA in 25 starts in day games and is doing even better at Nationals Park -- with a 2.33 ERA as a starter. Opponents are batting just. 236 versus Roark this season.
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Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Phillies on Friday.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Nationals on Friday.