MIAMI -- Stephen Strasburg knows the Marlins all too well. He should. Sunday's start was his 29th time facing the club -- most against any opponent over his career. Once again, the right-hander owned Miami and once again the Nationals used the long ball in a 5-2 win to clinch
MIAMI -- Stephen Strasburg knows the Marlins all too well. He should. Sunday's start was his 29th time facing the club -- most against any opponent over his career. Once again, the right-hander owned Miami and once again the Nationals used the long ball in a 5-2 win to clinch a series sweep at Marlins Park.
Strasburg went five innings, and though he didn't have his best stuff, he was still able to extend his scoreless innings streak against the Marlins to 23, dating back to April 3, 2017.
"I wouldn't say I pitch to any certain team differently," Strasburg said of his mastery of the Marlins. "It's just baseball. You get away with some pitches and you get beat on some good pitches. I think today, I was more on the side of getting away with some."
The 29-year-old right-hander handcuffed Miami, allowing just three singles while striking out eight, walking two and hitting a batter. In doing so, Strasburg also extended his win streak over Miami to seven games, dating back to Sept. 20, 2015.
Strasburg threw 103 pitches before manager Dave Martinez handed the game to his bullpen.
"They fouled off a lot of really good pitches," Martinez said. "He got 103 pitches in five innings, and I thought that was plenty. Last couple of outings, we've asked him to go , 115, so he did well; kept us in the game. We had the lead. I felt confident in the guys we have in the bullpen."
Strasburg helped his own cause at the plate with a one-out RBI single in the fifth inning following a Wilmer Difo triple that upped the lead to 2-0.
"Just trying to hit it on the ground, and it found a hole," Strasburg said.
It was 3-0 in the sixth when Bryce Harper broke out of a mini-slump with a towering home run to right field. His National League-leading 16th homer of the season traveled a projected 398 feet, with an exit velocity of 108 mph and a 30-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™.
Harper added a sacrifice fly an inning later that followed a run-scoring double by Trea Turner.
"I've just got to get a good pitch over the plate and try to do some damage," Harper said. "But sometimes you chase and get yourself out."
Anthony Rendon got the Nationals on the scoreboard first with his fifth home run of the season -- a solo shot -- in the fourth inning. The 421-foot blast exited at a velocity of 106 mph, with a 27-degree launch angle.
Brandon Kintzler secured the Nationals' 11th consecutive victory over the Marlins -- tying the longest win streak over an opponent in club history -- with his second save. Washington beat Seattle 11 straight times from June 10, 2005 to Aug. 30, 2014.
The Nationals improved their NL-leading road record to 17-8 this season, and they are 18-6 in their last 24 games, the Majors' best record over that span.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Twice Strasburg worked out of trouble to keep the Marlins off the board. In a scoreless game in the second, Strasburg allowed a single to Justin Bour and hit Miguel Rojas with a pitch before striking out JT Riddle and Lewis Brinson to end the frame. With a pair of runners on in the fifth, Strasburg fanned Starlin Castro for the third time to end his outing.
"I felt like I was able to execute pitches when I needed to," Strasburg said. "There was definitely some times where I don't think I was executing well enough. There was a lot of times in situations where you want to throw a putaway pitch and it's left in the zone and they're fouling it off. That's where [catcher Pedro Severino] calling a great game with the selection aspect, they weren't really on the pitch.
"But from my end, I think I need to do a little better job of getting the ball down and out of the zone in those situations. I was kind of in between on some pitches and trying to be a little bit too aggressive. You try to make a perfect pitch and you end up throwing non-competitive pitches. So I was a little frustrated with that. But you get in those situations sometimes and you just have to get back into it and just go mano a mano."
The Nationals, who pace the NL with 68 homers this season, have gone deep in seven consecutive games, tying their second-longest streak of the season (May 1-7).
HE SAID IT
"That was a bomb. We're going to get that from Bryce. He's going to hit his home runs. We really want him to take his walks, let the game come to him and not chase the game." -- Martinez, on Harper's home run
"I'm not really too frustrated because we're winning ballgames. If I hit .230 and hit 40 [home runs], I'll take it any day of the week. So I've just got to keep making good swings and get some [pitches] over the [plate]. If I can do that, we'll be OK." -- Harper
The Battle of the Beltways is renewed when the Nationals visit Baltimore for a three-game series beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday. Giovany Gonzalez takes the mound for Washington looking to snap a personal six-game skid against the Orioles. His last win over the Birds came on Aug. 10, 2009. Right-hander Alex Cobb goes for the Orioles, who lead the matchup, 38-26, with a 7-1-4 record in series wins.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.