Strasburg leads Nats to 4-game sweep of Marlins
MIAMI (AP) Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals are playing well at the right time.
Strasburg pitched seven strong innings to help the NL-leading Washington Nationals to a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday for a four-game sweep.
''Just have to keep the train rolling,'' Strasburg said.
Nate Schierholtz and Anthony Rendon drove in runs for the Nationals (91-64), who completed an 11-game road trip 9-2 and lead the Los Angeles Dodgers (89-67) for the best record in the National League.
''Really important, a good road trip for us against some teams that has been playing well especially here in a place where they play very good at home,'' Nationals manager Matt Williams said. ''We won some close ones and pitching was good, that certainly will keep you in any ballgame. You have those guys toe the rubber every day, you've got a chance. We did enough to win, which is good.''
Strasburg (13-11) allowed three hits and two walks. He struck out five while throwing 55 of his 84 pitches for strikes. He is 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA over his last five starts.
''The way he is throwing right now, that's the way that everybody wants to see him,'' said Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton.
Rafael Soriano got through the ninth for his 32nd save in 39 chances.
Marlins' pinch-hitter Reed Johnson led off the ninth with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Donovan Solano to cut the deficit to 2-1. Casey McGehee lined out to a sliding Bryce Harper in left field to end the game.
''You look at that pitching staff over there and it's the best pitching staff in the National League,'' Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. ''Those guys keep coming and it probably doesn't matter what lineup they throw out there, with that pitching they have the ability to shut you down.''
The Nationals scored in the fifth off Nathan Eovaldi (6-13). Lobaton led off the inning with a double and scored on Schierholtz's triple to center field. Rendon followed with an RBI single.
Eovaldi allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings.
''I just wanted to eliminate those big innings today and not make those big mistakes,'' Eovaldi said.
The Marlins had four hits and have lost five of six.
Marlins: CF Marcell Ozuna sprained his right ankle running into second base in the seventh inning and left the game. Ozuna attempted to reach second after his hit was bobbled by left fielder Kevin Frandsen. Ozuna went into the base without sliding and hit the bag awkwardly before tumbling and was tagged out. He was helped off the field without putting any pressure on his ankle. X-rays were negative.
''That's another tough blow for us,'' Redmond said. ''We really don't have a timetable for him. We'll see how it progresses over the next couple of days.''
Both teams are off on Monday before their final seven games of the regular season.
Washington: Hosts the New York Mets for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday with RHP Tanner Roark (14-10, 2.85) on the mound against Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.02).
Miami: At Philadelphia. RHP Henderson Alvarez (11-6, 2.82) faces Phillies LHP Cole Hamels (9-7, 2.47).
Marlins' top pitching prospect LHP Andrew Heaney retired nine of the 10 batters he faced to end the game. It was Heaney's second appearance out of the bullpen after making four starts earlier in the season.
TRIPLES IN BUNCHES
Schierholtz's triple was the Nationals' fifth in the last three games. They recorded five in their previous 56 games.