By Peter Gleason
Even the best team in MLB couldn’t touch the Nats Stephen Strasburg yesterday.
He was virtually unhittable for seven innings to win his seventh consecutive start, leading the Nationals to an 11-4 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
”Everything about him this year has been amazing,” manager Dave Martinez said. ”The way he works. His attitude. He’s having fun. I just watched him dance. It was kind of nice.”
Martinez watched most of Strasburg’s latest gem from the clubhouse after he and outfielder Adam Eaton were ejected for arguing a called strike in the first inning.
Strasburg (14-4) took over the major league lead in wins after striking out nine, walking none and limiting a potent Dodgers lineup to one run and two hits. He threw 67 of 100 pitches for strikes.
”He’s been everything you can imagine one of your star pitchers to be,” Martinez said.
Brian Dozier and Juan Soto homered, while Anthony Rendon continued to swing a productive bat with three hits and four RBIs that helped the Nationals (56-49) prevent a three-game sweep by the major league-leading Dodgers (69-38).
Corey Seager hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Nationals reliever Michael Blazek to help the Dodgers avoid their most lopsided loss of the season.
Strasburg was perfect through 4 1/3 innings before Los Angeles got to him. A.J. Pollock doubled into the left field corner and scored when Matt Beaty doubled down the right field line.
The Nationals quickly answered in the bottom half against All-Star Walker Buehler (9-2).
Gerardo Parra reached on an infield hit before Dozier hit his 15th home run a few rows over the tall wall in right-center.
Victor Robles, pressed into service on a scheduled day off after Eaton was ejected, extended the fifth-inning rally with a triple, which was the first of his three hits. Robles then scored on a single by Rendon, who has a hit in 16 of his last 18 games.
Strasburg helped his own cause in a four-run sixth by poking a bases-loaded single into right field to score Howie Kendrick. Strasburg has driven in six runs since July 18 after posting just one RBI up to that point this season.
Buehler lost for the first time since May 18. He allowed seven runs (four earned) and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings on his 25th birthday.
”I just didn’t execute enough,” Buehler said. ”I got myself in bad counts and made some pitches that got too much of the plate.”
Soto launched his 18th homer as part of a four-run ninth for the Nationals.