No answer for Strasburg
Nationals’ righty shuts out Marlins on six hits, fans 8
WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg was already enjoying one of the best pitching performances of his career when he added another memorable moment: A go-ahead home run.
Strasburg tossed a six-hitter in addition to his fifth-inning shot, Wilmer Difo added a home run and the Washington Nationals defeated the Miami Marlins, 4-0, Wednesday to complete a threegame sweep.
“He was determined from the beginning,” Washington manager Dusty Baker said. “You could tell by the look on his face. He had a great day. It was his day today. He hit, he pitched.”
Washington, which has won four in a row, extended its lead in the NL East to 15 games over the Marlins.
The Marlins had no answer for Strasburg (11-4), who struck out eight. Strasburg threw 110 pitches in logging only his second complete game in 179 starts and his first since Aug. 11, 2013, against Philadel- phia.
Strasburg is 1-1 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts since returning from a disabled list stint for right elbow nerve impingement.
“We were pretty much overmatched today,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “He had 73 through seven innings, so 10 pitches an inning, basically.”
Miami left-hander Adam Conley (6-6) made it through the first four innings unscathed before Strasburg launched the first pitch of the fifth to right-center for his second home run this season and third of his career.
“We haven’t had BP in such a long time I really didn’t have high expectations for not having picked up a bat ... since my start in San Diego [on Aug. 19],” Strasburg said. “I don’t know. Sometimes you’re just lucky.”
Two batters later, Difo connected for his fifth homer of the year.
The Nationals outscored Miami 23-5 during the series, and the Marlins were 1 for 22 with runners in scoring position over the three games.
“Nothing really went right for us as far as getting runs across,” Mattingly said.
Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the majors with 51 home runs and has 18 this month, went 0 for 4.
Anthony Rendon had a two-out RBI double in the seventh and Alejandro De Aza scored on a passed ball in the eighth to pad Washington’s lead.
J.T. Realmuto had three hits for the Marlins, who went 2-8 at Nationals Park this season. Miami, which had won 13 of 16 prior to arriving in Washington, had not dropped three in a row since July 14-16.
“I think we just keep going,” Conley said. “Three games at their place against the team leading our division doesn’t outweigh how long we’ve been playing good baseball. We had to climb back quite a ways from however many months ago when people were writing us off. It’s just three games.”
Peters to be promoted
Dillon Peters’ time has arrived.
The Miami Marlins plan to promote the left-handed pitcher to the major leagues this week, and he will likely make his debut in a start Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies, a source told the Sun Sentinel.
Peters represents the Marlins’ best chance at an in-house rotation upgrade as they try to stay in the playoff race. They were swept by the Washington Nationals this week, pushing them to 5 1⁄2 games back of the last NL wildcard spot.
A healthy scratch in his scheduled start Wednesday for Double-A Jacksonville, Peters has dominated at that level in a small sample this year. In nine starts, he had a 1.97 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, striking out 40 batters while walking just 11.
Peters missed two and a half months following surgery on his fractured left thumb, suffered when he was hit by a comebacker in mid-April. Had Peters been healthy — in addition to successful — this season, he likely would have been in the majors already given the Marlins’ rotation woes.
Entering play Wednesday, Miami’s 11 starters had combined for a 4.93 ERA (25th in the majors) and a 1.40 WHIP (19th). They threw 675 innings, ahead of only the rebuilding Cincinnati Reds, and walked 278 batters, tied for sixthworst. Tom Koehler, Jeff Locke, Justin Nicolino and Chris O’Grady are among those who have failed to stabilize the back end of the rotation due to ineffectiveness or injury or both. And Vance Worley has pitched a combined 8 1⁄3 innings in his past two starts, including a loss Tuesday.
Listed at 5 foot 9 and 195 pounds, Peters has a fastball that registers in the low- to mid-90s to go with a curveball and changeup. MLB Pipeline, which calls Peters a future No. 4 starter, ranks him as the organization’s No. 4 prospect.
Peters, who turns 25 today, was the Marlins’ 10th-round pick in 2014 after three years at Texas.
Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton walks off the field after flying out during the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game. Stanton was 0-for-4 in the game.