Jun 22, 2013, 4:09 AM EDT
A dominant performance from the presumptive ace of the staff. Some clutch hits late from a couple of star position players. Big strikeouts in big spots from a key reliever late. And some spectacular defense at critical moments to preserve a 1-run lead and close out an impressive victory.
Not a combination of events seen on a regular basis out of the Nationals over the last three months, but developments that have become more commonplace over the last three nights and were all on display Friday night during a 2-1 win over the Rockies that featured plenty of impressive performances.
There was Stephen Strasburg tossing seven innings of one-run ball, striking out nine and showing some emotion on the mound after Ryan Zimmerman’s circus catch ended the seventh. There was Zimmerman delivering the game-tying double in the sixth and Ian Desmond delivered yet another go-ahead homer one inning later. There was Drew Storen striking out Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer back-to-back with a man in scoring position in the eighth. And there was Adam LaRoche sprawling to his right to snag a hot shot to end the game and give the crowd of 34,917 one last reason to roar.
Above all else, there was the entire Nationals roster gathering at the center of the diamond, exchanging high-fives for the third straight night, having just secured their longest winning streak in six weeks.
“I think most of all, we’ve been playing better baseball,” Zimmerman said. “That’s the most important thing. You get wins and kind of win ugly. They’re wins and they’re great, but it doesn’t really get that momentum going. The past four or five games, we’ve really started playing like we should have been playing. Hopefully that’ll carry over into some more wins.”
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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