Hero Of The Game: Scott Cousins (0.38 WPA)
Goat Of The Game: Ricky Nolasco (-.248 WPA)
Play Of The Game: With runners on second and third and two outs in the second inning, Washington starter Steven Strasburg hit a single to right-center field to give the Nationals an early 2-0 lead. (.121 WPA)
Wins have been tough to come by since June for the Miami Marlins, and victory number 50 will have to wait, as Steven Strasburg and the Washington Nationals defeated the Marlins and won the series with a 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon.
Ricky Nolasco matched up against Strasburg in game three of a four game series against the Nationals after the All-Star break, and didn't have his best stuff, as he gave up four runs, one of which scored on a single by Strasburg. Nolasco and Strasburg went opposed each other again on Sunday, and the results were nearly the same.
Miami's best opportunity against Strasburg came in the first inning. After Bryan Petersen, hitting in the leadoff spot with the injury to Emilio Bonifacio, lined out, Scott Cousins hit a double down the right field line. The Marlins weren't able to bring Cousins home, as Jose Reyes flied out to Bryce Harper in center field and Carlos Lee struck out swinging.
Washington scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the second inning, an inning in which it appeared Nolasco didn't have solid command of his pitches. Jayson Werth lead off the inning with a single, and Nolasco subsequently hit Danny Espinosa. Jesus Flores followed with a deep fly ball to center that allowed both runners to tag up.
With runners on second and third and one out, Strasburg, who had an RBI single against Nolasco at Marlins Park, hit a ball into the right-center field gap that allowed both runners to score, giving the Nationals a 2-0 advantage. Nolasco walked Steve Lombardozzi after the Strasburg single, and Bryce Harper singled to load the bases with one out for Ryan Zimmerman.
Zimmerman lined out to shortstop, but with two outs, Adam LaRoche, who had seven RBIs in the series, smoked a single up the middle to increase the Nationals' lead to 4-0 before Nolasco retired Mike Morse to end the inning. Of the 23 runs the Nationals scored in the four game series, 17 of them came with two outs.
Both pitchers settled in, however in the fourth inning, Jose Reyes extended his hit streak to 24 games with a single up the middle off of Strasburg. Reyes is two games shy of Bonifacio's 2011 streak, and 11 shy of Luis Castillo's franchise best 35 game hitting streak.
Nolasco and Strasburg, who is likely to be shut down early following Tommy John surgery, both went six innings. Ricky went six innings and gave up four runs while walking and striking out four. Strasburg gave up three hits and no runs while walking a batter and striking out six.
Miami got their first and only run in the seventh inning off of Craig Stammen. Carlos Lee doubled to extend his hitting streak to eleven games, and scored on a double by Greg Dobbs to make it a 4-1 game.
Chad Gaudin and Steve Cishek each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Nolasco, however Miami wasn't able to rally against lefty Sean Burnett or Drew Storen, who earned his first save of the season after shutting the Marlins down in the ninth.
The Marlins have lost consecutive four game series, and are 2-6 on the current 11 game road trip. After an off day on Monday, Miami will play a three game series against the Mets before heading home to take on the Dodgers and Phillies at Marlins Park.