Apr 10, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Stephen Strasburg overcame his two poor starts to begin the season with a dominant performance against the upstart Miami Marlins on Thursday afternoon. The right-hander dazzled through 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, putting on an efficient display through 98 pitches. Strasburg allowed only three hits to the Marlins and struck out 12. He entered the seventh having thrown only 78 pitches, but was removed for Jerry Blevins after allowing a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna.
Jayson Werth put the Nats up early with a two-run homer in the third inning to give Marlins’ starter Tom Koehler his only real blemish of the afternoon. Koehler battled a high pitch count, but left after the sixth with five hits, two walks and two runs allowed. The Nats added five more runs in the bottom of the eighth as Bryce Harper walked with the bases loaded off Arquimedes Caminero, and Ian Desmond then hit a grand slam.
Blevins, Aaron Barrett and Rafael Soriano closed it out after Strasburg to give the Nationals their seventh win of the season. Washington now moves to 7-2 through their first nine games for the third consecutive year.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: I hope you guys like homers. For the second time in 24 hours, Werth helped lead the Nationals to victory with a home run. And for the second time in 24 hours, a Nats player hit a grand slam.
For Werth, it was off a 3-0 pitch in the third inning from Koehler. Anthony Rendon was on first after drawing a walk, and Werth just plastered a 92 mile per hour four-seam fastball to the seats in left-center. Werth is now hitting .375 on the year with two home runs and 8 RBI through nine games.
Desmond also went yard in the eighth inning with the second grand slam of his career. He took a 96 mile per hour fastball from Arquimedes Caminero to the same spot Werth hit his to blow the lid off the game and put the Nationals up 7-1.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Strasburg allowed a lead-off single to Christian Yelich in the top of the first before settling in to put on quite a show in front of 20,869 at Nationals Park. He struck out 12 in 6 2/3 innings of work, and retired 14 straight at one point.
Even when it looked like things were close to unraveling for Strasburg, he fought his way out of trouble. In the sixth inning he allowed a leadoff single to Koehler and then hit Derek Dietrich on the elbow with one out. Strasburg was then able to strike out Giancarlo Stanton and Garrett Jones to escape the jam.
Strasburg left in the seventh to a standing ovation from the Nationals’ crowd.
KEY STAT(S): This was the 13th game of Strasburg’s career in which he has hit double digits in strikeout totals; Rendon now has the Nationals’ team record with a nine-game hitting streak to begin the season.
UP NEXT: The Nationals head to Atlanta for their second series of the season against the Braves. Your starters will be Tanner Roark (1-0, 3.00) and Julio Teheran (1-1, 2.77). The Nationals are 7-2 on the year while the Braves (5-3) play tonight against the Mets. This will be the last series between the teams until late June. Worth noting: the Nats were 7-2 last season before getting swept by the Braves. This will be an interesting test for the Nats.
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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