A short-handed Marlins lineup was no match for Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday night, who piled up 14 strikeouts and handed them a 3-1 loss.
Sandy Alcantara: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 1 HR (108 pitches)
Stephen Strasburg: 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 14 K (110 pitches)
Seeking to validate his All-Star selection in his final appearance of the first half, Sandy Alcantara had a typically solid outing. He threw nearly two-thirds of his pitches for strikes—71 of 108—and maintained great fastball velocity and movement throughout.
On the verge of a quality start and trying to preserve a 0-0 tie, Alcantara made his big mistake to Brian Dozier. Ahead 0-2 in the count with one on and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the right-hander hung a slider over the heart of the plate.
Meanwhile, Strasburg had everything working. Unpredictably mixing up his pitches, his 23 swinging strikes contributed to a season-high 14 punchouts.
The struggling Wei-Yin Chen gave the Nats an insurance run in the eighth on a Matt Adams solo homer.
Entering for the save with a 3-0 lead, closer Sean Doolittle had himself an adventure. The Marlins loaded the bases, pushing one across on a César Puello hit by pitch. It took 33 pitches for Doolittle to finish the job, overpowering Yadiel Rivera with a 96 mile-per-hour fastball for the final strikeout.
Strasburg earned his 20th career win against the Marlins. That’s a new all-time record as he moves ahead of Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.
The Nationals have beaten the Fish five straight times and are 9-1 in their last 10 meetings. The series finale between them on the 4th of July comes with an early wake-up call (11:05 a.m first pitch!). Probable starters are Elieser Hernandez and very old friend Aníbal Sánchez.
Marlins vs. Nationals box score (Baseball Theater)
Fish Picks answer key