Strasburg strikes out 11, Harper walks 5 times in 4-2 win over Marlins

MIAMI - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg was masterful at times, but also had to dig down deep to get key outs in the Nationals 4-2 win over Miami at Marlins Park.

Strasburg (9-7) went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and a season-high matching 11 strikeouts. He struck out at least one batter in every inning, striking out nine in his first four innings.

Strasburg-Throws-Gray-Beard-Sidebar.jpg“I’m just trying to execute pitches,” Strasburg said. “When I get to two strikes, you want to try to put them away. I feel like the two-seamer was working pretty well tonight. The change-up was working well. Four-seam command was a little off, but was able to make a pitch or two in a big situation.”

Strasburg also fought through some critical moments when the Marlins attempted rallies but quickly extinguished the threat:

In the second, after allowing a solo homer to Peter O’Brien and then an uncharacteristic hit by pitch to Brian Anderson, Strasburg struck out the side.

In the fifth, with the bases loaded thanks to three consecutive singles and a walk, Strasburg struck out Anderson with a 95 mph two-seam fastball. The Marlins had climbed within 3-2.

“I think it’s really just not worrying about what happened because it’s done with,” Strasburg said. “Focus on the next pitch. Just getting back into it one pitch at a time and trusting your stuff.”

“He was huge,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez of Strasburg’s strikeout of Anderson. “He came through. We needed him to go out there at least give us six innings. Our bullpen’s been pitching a lot. He got a big out right there. Big moment and he got a big out. I told him hey, that was fantastic. Had 100 pitches. He was good.”

Trea Turner and Adam Eaton combined for pair of hits apiece and two RBIs. Turner survived a scary moment in the sixth when he was hit by a pitch in the batting helmet from Marlins reliever Adam Kinley. Turner went down, sat down for a moment. He got up and walked slowly to first base with trainer Paul Lessard by his side.

“Guys are throwing so hard you got to get out of there,” Turner said. “Luckily it was an off speed pitch so it wasn’t too bad. But I think that’s the battle that hitter’s have each and every at-bat that you don’t really see that much.

“You know to stay in there and not bail out too early and then be able to hit 98 mph and all sorts of off speed. I got lucky tonight. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.

Turner stayed in the game. He then stole second base, his 40th theft of the season. It marked the second season in a row he has reached 40 stolen bases. Turner came around to score a critical insurance run on an Anthony Rendon single.

Rendon finished with two hits and two RBIs. He has now reached based in a career-high 27 straight games.

Bryce Harper walked five times, a season-high in the National League, and one off his career record. Martinez was not surprised how patient Harper was in taking pitches. The skipper was impressed how his slugger did not allow and frustration to creep in and just start swinging away.

“We talked about it today,” Martinez said. “I think he’s got like (126) hits and 123 walks. I told him you might be the first player that has more walks than hits so keep going. It’s just the way it is.

“Why get yourself out? They don’t want to pitch to you? Then take your walks and be that teammate and that’s what it is. Just being a better teammate and getting on for the next guy.”

Harper went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the series opener Monday night.

“Today I think I stuck with my plan pretty well,” Harper said. “I think if I wouldn’t have swung the bat yesterday like today I’d probably have nine walks in the series right now. So just trying to get a pitch over the dish that I can drive. Wasn’t able to get that today. Was able to get on base five times.”

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