Rain or no rain, Strasburg is dealing (Nats take two in a row from Braves)

Prior to the rain delay, which hit in the third inning, Stephen Strasburg had struck out four hitters over 2 2/3 innings, much of that in the pouring rain.

He sat around for 51 minutes as the tarp sat on the infield, but that time away from the mound didn't slow him down. If anything, Strasburg came back from the delay even stronger than before.

Since the delay, Strasburg has been absolutely filthy. He's struck out six of the eight hitters he's faced; three swinging, three looking.

All of his pitches are working tonight. Strasburg's painting the corners with a fastball that's been sitting at 96-97 mph, is getting hitters to flail at a hard, biting 12-to-6 curveball and has his changeup dancing out of the zone away to left-handed hitters.

Strasburg has 10 strikeouts through just five innings, marking the fifth time this season he's reached the double-digit mark and the eighth time in his career he's gotten to 10 Ks in a game.

It's been quite a performance by the Nationals' ace, and thanks to Jesus Flores' three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, he has a 4-0 lead to work with.

Having thrown 81 pitches through five and with that delay factoring in, it'll be interesting to see how long Strasburg stays in this ballgame despite his dominance on the mound.

Update: Strasburg made his way through six innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked one, struck out 10 and leaves in line for his 15th win of the season.

Fantastic outing for the young right-hander, who pitched through awful conditions and a stretch of inactivity to post one of his better outings of the season.

Drew Storen is on to work the seventh for the Nationals.

Update II: Thanks to Strasburg and a trio of Nats relievers, this one was pretty smooth.

The Nats got four runs, all on homers, and that's all they needed. The Washington hurlers made those four runs stand up, allowing only two Braves runners to touch second base in a 4-1 Nats win.

With the win, Strasburg improves to 15-5, the Nats climb to 31 games over .500 and they now have a seven-game lead in the NL East.

Oh yeah, and they have a shot at a gut-punching sweep tomorrow.

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