WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 21: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on August 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 Braves in six innings as the Nationals extended their lead in the NL East to seven games.
Led by ace Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals extended their lead in the NL East on Tuesday with a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves. Strasburg struck out 10 Braves in a six-inning outing that was interrupted by a 51-minute rain delay.
It was unclear whether Davey Johnson (who said his non-negtioable threshold is a one-hour delay) would bring Strasburg back out after the rain delay, but the Nationals fireballer took off his jacket and went out to warm up. The Nationals used their entire bullpen in an extra innings win on Monday night, so Johnson leaned on Strasburg to continue his dominance after the interruption. He didn't miss a beat, hitting 97 mph on the gun and mixing up the Braves with a brutal change up.
The Nationals spotted Strasburg a four-run cushion with two quick strikes via the long ball. Ian Desmond, who went hitless over the weekend in his first series returning from the DL, went deep for the second time in as many nights. Desmond took Paul Maholm into the left-field bleachers in the bottom of the second for the 1-0 lead. Jesus Flores, the Nats number-eight hitter, then added to the lead with a three-run shot off the railing above the wall in left. While things got interesting with Tyler Clippard on the mound in the ninth, the 4-1 lead was more than enough for Strasburg and the Nats' bullpen.
The win extends Washington's lead to seven games in the NL East. They will go for the sweep on Wednesday with Ross Detwiler on the hill. Kris Medlen will pitch for the Braves.