Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon
May 24, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) As an unbeaten pitcher for a first-place team, Stephen Strasburg is at the top of his game.

Given where he was a year ago, perhaps the Nationals' star can serve as a positive example for struggling Matt Harvey of the New York Mets.

Strasburg struck out 11, and Washington hit three of its season-high five home runs off Harvey in a 7-4 victory Tuesday night.

Strasburg (8-0) gave up two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings in defeating Harvey and the Mets for the second time in six days. Strasburg has five games this season with at least 10 strikeouts and 26 over his seven-year career.

Last season, Strasburg spent two stints on the disabled list and was 3-5 before bouncing back.

''There were definitely a lot of lows for me last year,'' he said. ''I am definitely trying to learn from that, to try to ride the roller coaster and stay consistent.''

Harvey (3-7) can relate. After going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA last season, the right-hander is in danger of losing his spot in the rotation after a third straight miserable outing.

''We've got to think what's not just best for Matt, but what's best for us moving forward at the moment,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''There are a lot of things to consider. We're not going to make any rash judgments tonight. We're going to sleep on it.''

Harvey bolted from the clubhouse before talking to reporters.

His early departure from the scene mirrored his performance on the mound. Harvey allowed five runs and eight hits over five rocky innings and has yielded 16 earned runs and 31 hits over his last three starts.

''I'm really surprised,'' Collins said. ''This guy is way too good to continue like this. But the guy tonight he faced was in a similar spot last year.''

Strasburg is the third starter in franchise history to start 8-0.

''It means he's one of the best out there and he's pitching like it,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''A lot of people say the wins don't matter, but they matter to the guys on the team and matter to the person getting the wins.''

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon hit successive solo shots to put Washington ahead in the fourth inning, and Daniel Murphy added a two-run drive off his former teammate in the fifth for a 5-1 lead.

The three homers allowed by Harvey tied a career high. The former first-round draft pick hasn't lasted more than six innings in any of his 10 starts and has an unsightly 6.08 ERA.

Ben Revere connected off Antonio Bastardo in the seventh and Wilson Ramos went deep against Jim Henderson in the eighth for Washington.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Eric Campbell homered for the Mets, whose four-game winning streak ended.

Making his major league debut, New York third baseman Ty Kelly went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Strasburg retired the first 10 batters, six by strikeout, before Cabrera homered into the Nationals bullpen beyond the wall in right field.

Zimmerman and Rendon answered in the bottom half, and Bryce Harper delivered a sacrifice fly in the fifth before Murphy went deep.

Campbell hit his first home run of the season in the ninth off Shawn Kelley.

STREAKY

Mets: New York relievers had a run of 16 1/3 scoreless innings over five games before Bastardo gave up Revere's first homer of the season.

Nationals: Harper went 0 for 3 and is 4 for 30 since May 13. His batting average is .246. ... Murphy had his major league-leading 23rd multihit game of the season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: 1B Wilmer Flores went 2 for 3 for Double-A Binghamton vs. Richmond in his first major league rehabilitation game Tuesday.

Nationals: RHP Matt Belisle (calf strain) returned to Washington for the day after launching his rehabilitation assignment Monday with Class A Potomac. ''I saw Matt in the video room,'' Baker said. ''He was kind of smiling. That's a good sign. Usually he's kind of stoic in his look.''

UP NEXT

Mets: Steven Matz (6-1, 2.81 ERA) brings a six-game winning streak into Wednesday's series finale. He has never lost a game on the road (5-0) or faced the Nationals.

Nationals: Tanner Roark (3-3, 2.89) is 5-0 with a 3.05 ERA in 11 lifetime appearances against the Mets.

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