Clinging to a late-inning lead (Nats win 3-2)

As Joel Peralta starts to get loose in the Rays bullpen ...

Yes. That's actually happening. Peralta still hasn't been suspended yet, and is eligible to pitch tonight.

I'm sure his glove is squeaky clean.

The Nationals have a 3-2 lead as we go to the eighth inning, even though they haven't recorded a hit since the first.

Washington struck for three runs on three hits in that first inning, battering Rays rookie Chris Archer, who looked shaken and uncomfortable.

That didn't last long, however, as Archer settled in and shut down the Nats over his final five innings of work. He allowed only one baserunner during that time, didn't give up a single hit and set down 15 of the last 16 hitters he faced.

Quite a bounce-back performance by the 23-year-old, who had a 4.81 ERA at Triple-A this season prior to making his major league debut tonight.

Stephen Strasburg also put up a strong start, allowing just two runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out ten Rays, marking the sixth time he's hit the double-digit strikeout total in his career and the third time he's done it this season.

Strasburg threw 111 pitches, 70 for strikes.

It's up to the bullpen to hold a slim lead for the Nats, who again have failed to provide much offense.

Ryan Zimmerman hit into his 11th double play of the season, tied for most in the National League.

Update: You won't often win games in which you only record just three hits. You'll win even fewer games in which you don't have any hits after the first inning.

Yet, the Nationals escaped tonight with a victory under those very circumstances.

Washington's three-run first inning was enough to carry them to a 3-2 win as Strasburg, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard shut the door on the Rays.

The win snaps a four-game losing streak and ensures the Nats' division lead won't drop below three games tonight.

Oh, and Peralta did get in tonight's game. He faced two batters in the eighth, and retired both without incident. This story done now?

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