The party just keeps on going.
With their 8-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks (53-73), the Washington Nationals (71-53) won their eighth straight game to maintain their NL-best record.
There was significantly less spilled Gatorade on Tuesday night, as the Nats ended their streak of three walk-offs in a row, but the taxed bullpen thanked the offense for getting their business done early. The win was the first by more than one run since last Thursday.
The bullpen, which had pitched 19 innings over the previous games, was also lauding Stephen Strasburg for pitching an efficient eight innings on 95 pitches.
Strasburg gave fans a scare about what type of outing was in store in the first inning when he gave up a solo shot to David Peralta, his second home run in as many games. But sorry, Tanner Roark, Strasburg isn’t ready to give up his “ace” status just yet. He shut the D-backs out over the next seven innings, limiting them to three hits and striking them out four times.
Strasburg’s outing was his longest of the year, and his strikeout of Jake Lamb in the eighth inning was his 198th, surpassing his career high with six weeks of the season remaining.
The third was the inning that ruined the walk-off streak, when the Nationals scored six runs to knock the Diamondbacks’ Chase Anderson from the game. Anderson faced six batters in the third without inducing an out.
The Nats batted around in that inning and the entire lineup got a hit with the exception of Adam LaRoche, who walked, and Jose Lobaton and Strasburg, who both struck out. Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond knocked in runs with singles, and Asdrubal Cabrera doubled the run total with a bases-clearing double.
Desmond made it a four-RBI night for himself when he knocked in two more runs in the sixth with a two-out single to solidify the Nationals’ lead. His 3-for-4 night raised his batting average five points from .246 to .251.
Werth and Anthony Rendon, who were both impact players of the night,scored on Desmond’s hit after hitting singles ahead of him. Rendon went 2-for-4 with a walk, and Werth went 3-for-5. Both scored two runs.
The Diamondbacks have the sixth-worst team ERA in baseball (4.30) and the fifth-highest batting average against (.266). The Nationals exploited that for 12 hits to Arizona’s three en route to their rout.
Jerry Blevins was the only representative of the bullpen who made it into the game in his first appearance since August 15. Blevins faced three batters in the top of the ninth and struck out two of them to seal the win and keep the Nationals six steps ahead of the Braves for one more day.