Washington 3, Atlanta 1
When: 7:05 PM ET, Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia
Sam Holbrook, 1B -
Ed Hickox, 2B -
Mike Estabrook, 3B -
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg checked the weather forecast soon after he woke up Tuesday morning and discovered rain was predicted around game time for his start against the Atlanta Braves.
"I didn't know it was going to be a two-hour delay," the Washington Nationals right-hander, who came off the disabled list earlier Tuesday, said. "It was nothing I hadn't experienced before. It was good to get back out there."
Strasburg dealt with more than his share of rain delays in the past, but this time a delay of 2 hours, 12 minutes didn't seem to bother him as he tossed five scoreless innings and gave up just four hits as the Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Tuesday.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon had four hits and an RBI, catcher Wilson Ramos had three hits and left fielder Michael A. Taylor and center fielder Denard Span each had two hits, a run and an RBI.
"He just moves the baseball the other way," Nationals manager Matt Williams said of right-handed hitting Rendon, who shot a single down the first-base line to drive in Span with the first run in the first.
Taylor has seen a lot of action in left field with Jayson Werth on the disabled list.
"He is finding his way as a big leaguer," Williams said of Taylor (.249), who made his major league debut last August.
The Nationals had 10 hits off Atlanta starter Alex Wood (4-5), who hung around for seven innings while giving up nine singles and single runs in the first, third and fourth while making 98 pitches.
"I think he pitched good; he gave us seven innings. He gave us a chance to win it," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Wood. "He is going to get the (loss) and Strasburg is going to get the (win). In the back of my mind I thought he pitched better than Strasburg. Obviously he got deeper in the game with his pitch count and Stephen didn't. That is baseball."
Strasburg (4-5) kept the momentum going for the Washington starters, who have allowed just one run in the last four games covering 28 1/3 innings. The right-hander posted his first win since May 17. He was on a pitch count of about 95 and threw 94.
"They are finding their stride," Williams said of the starting rotation. "I certainly hope that trend continues."
Strasburg entered the game with an ERA of 6.55 and made a minor league rehab start at Double-A Harrisburg on June 16.
"I wanted them to swing at the fastball," said Strasburg, whose last pitch of the night was clocked at 97 miles-per-hour to end the fifth. "Sometimes you just have to take a step back (to adjust). I thought I threw some good curveballs; I thought I threw some good changeups. You just have to stick to your game plan."
"He was throwing the ball real hard," Atlanta first baseman Chris Johnson said of Strasburg. "His curveball was looking real good. He was working both sides of the plate. We battled a lot, tried to get his pitch count up, maybe try to do something against the bullpen, but their bullpen came in and did pretty well. It's just one game. Bounce back tomorrow."
Atlanta center fielder Cameron Maybin hit a solo homer with two outs in the eighth off Matt Thornton to break up the shutout and cut the lead to 3-1. Dave Carpenter came in with two outs and two on in the eighth to retire third baseman Juan Uribe, and Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his 21st save as he retired Maybin on a foul pop to Ramos for the last out with the bases loaded.
The first-place Nationals (38-33) won their fourth game in a row while the third-place Braves (35-36) had their three-game winning streak snapped. Washington has won six in a row over the Braves.
"They are a good club. Taylor had a nice game for them," Gonzalez said.
Tanner Roark, making his first appearance since June 16, went two innings and retired all six batters after taking over for Strasburg in the sixth.
Nick Markakis, the Atlanta right fielder, had three singles.
The last Washington starting pitcher to give up a run was rookie Joe Ross, who allowed one on Friday in 7 1/3 innings to Pittsburgh. That was followed by a no-hit shutout Saturday by Max Scherzer and seven scoreless innings by Gio Gonzalez in a 9-2 win Sunday over the Pirates.
Span, who has reached base in 16 straight games, had an RBI single in the third to make it 2-0 against Wood.
Washington built the margin to 3-0 in the fourth on an RBI single by Taylor.
Strasburg, making his first start since going on the disabled list May 30, had six strikeouts and no walks.
The Braves were without first baseman Freddie Freeman, who went on the disabled list Tuesday with a wrist contusion.
"We have to step up," said Johnson.
NOTES: Washington RHP Max Scherzer was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday after he threw a no-hitter on Saturday at home against the Pirates. ... Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg was activated off the disabled list to start Tuesday against the Braves. The Nationals sent rookie RHP Joe Ross to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Strasburg. ... Braves 1B Freddie Freeman went on the disabled list Tuesday with a right wrist contusion, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez. Freeman had played in 234 games in a row before sitting out Friday. The Braves called up INF/OF Joey Terdoslavich.
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