Aug 3, 2014, 4:25 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels on the mound, this game was billed as a pitchers duel. It did not disappoint.
Both starters were sharp all afternoon, briskly mowing down their opposing lineup. The Nationals beat the Phillies 4-0, but neither starting pitcher yielded an earned run.
Strasburg began the game by retiring seven straight and finished with seven scoreless innings, three hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts. Hamels was also perfect through the first seven before an error and a single. That single by Denard Span brought in the game’s only run and it was unearned.
Hamels took the loss despite going seven innings with zero earned on four hits and a walk. He was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth inning despite having only thrown 86 pitches on the day. That decision would backfire as the Nats added another three more runs off relievers Ken Giles and Jake Dieman in the following frame.
The Nationals earned the split against the Phillies after dropping the first two games of the series and getting a blowout victory on Saturday night. They also won their 60th game of the season, moving to 60-49 on the year. The Braves – currently three games back in the NL East – play in San Diego with a late afternoon start.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: Given the starters on the mound today, the margin for error was naturally going to be small. The Nationals got their one run against Hamels in the bottom of the third inning. Jose Lobaton reached on an error by Phillies third baseman Cody Asche, who first dropped the ball and then sailed his throw wide to the right.
Strasburg then bunted Lobaton over to second base on a well-executed sacrifice. Span was then able to single to right field, a slow line drive that gave Lobaton enough time to round third and go all the way to home. It took a little luck on the Nats’ part, given the Asche error, but they took advantage of the opportunity and made the Phillies pay for their mistake.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Strasburg has been much better at home this season and that trend continued on Sunday. The right-hander was pinpoint accurate with his fastball, consistently painting corners with 95-96 mile per hour heat. His curveball was also effective with big breaks and late life.
Three times the Phillies got a man to second base against Strasburg, but that’s as close as they would get. Strasburg finished with 99 pitches before Kevin Frandsen pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the seventh.
STREAK WATCH: Span just keeps going. The center fielder’s third inning RBI single made it 29 games now that he has reached base. That’s the longest active streak in the majors equals his hit streak of last season.
KEY STAT: Span stole his 22nd and 23rd base of the season in the bottom of the sixth. His career-high is 26, set back in 2010. This season he is on pace to finish with 35.
UP NEXT: The Nationals continue their homestand with a makeup game against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. The two teams are playing the game that was rained out on July 8. Tanner Roark (11-6, 2.74) will pitch for the Nats with former fourth overall pick Kevin Gausman (5-3, 3.70) taking the mound for Baltimore.
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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