WASHINGTON (AP) — After three straight walk-offs, the Washington Nationals went for a cakewalk instead.
Sure, winning late over and over again is a thrill, but it’s not good for the blood pressure — not to mention the workload of the bullpen. Stephen Strasburg provided much of the salve Tuesday night, allowing one run and three hits over a season-high eight innings as the Nationals ran their winning streak to eight games with an 8-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I guess it’s what the doctor ordered,” Strasburg said.
That, along with a six-run third inning. Asdrubal Cabrera’s bases-clearing double blew the game open, giving Washington an overdue breather in what is now its longest winning run since August 2012.
“I think we’re just coming together,” said shortstop Ian Desmond, who had four RBIs. “We’ve kind of established our way, I guess you would say.”
Success had come with suspense for the Nats: four consecutive one-run games, including the last three decided by the final at-bat, and the last two in the 11th inning.
But Strasburg (10-10) did just what the Nationals needed him to do: eat up innings to give the overtaxed relievers a break. He struck out four to give him an NL-leading 198 for the season, besting his previous single-season high of 197 in 2012 — the year he was shut down early after returning from elbow surgery.
“The way Stephen pitched is, I hope, indicative of what we’re going to see in the future,” Desmond said. “He’s been great a lot in his career, but tonight was one of those games where it was really fun to watch.”
The Nationals sent seven batters to the plate in the third before the Diamondbacks could record an out. Rookie Chase Anderson (7-5) faced six of them, allowing five singles and a walk before he was pulled in the shortest outing of his young career.
Jayson Werth’s broken-bat single up the middle scored the first Nationals run, and Desmond’s single brought in two more. After Bryce Harper’s single loaded the bases, Anderson was pulled for Eury De La Rosa, who gave up Cabrera’s drive that took one bounce before hitting the wall in right-center.
“I just kind of didn’t attack the guys like I should attack,” Anderson said. “I think if you execute pitches and get ahead, you can kind of get anybody out. That’s just the name of the game.”
David Peralta’s first-inning home run accounted for all the scoring for the Diamondbacks, who have lost four straight.
MAYBE I SHOULDN’T TELL THE SKIPPER
Nationals manager Matt Williams praised Desmond’s ability to “shorten down” on a swing that produced a pair of runs: “He’s going to get a bunch of homers, we know that, but when he can take a two-run single, he’s feeling it and he’s seeing the ball good.”
Oops. Turns out it was totally an accident. Desmond said he was just trying to fight off a pitch.
“I don’t know if I chose to shorten up,” Desmond said. “I think the ‘jammage’ probably shortened me up a little bit.”
ENDER’S END GAME
Diamondbacks CF Ender Inciarte grounded out in the ninth to finish an 0-for-4 night, ending his team rookie record hitting streak at 18 games.
Nationals OF Nate McLouth will have surgery Thursday for a torn labrum in his right shoulder and is done for the year. He hit .173 with one home run and seven RBIs in 79 games in his first season in Washington.
Arizona’s Trevor Cahill (3-8, 4.68 ERA) faces Tanner Roark (12-7, 2.93) on Wednesday night in the third game of the four-game set.
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