07/18 23:16 CDT Strasburg hits and pitches Nationals to 13-4 win over Braves
Strasburg hits and pitches Nationals to 13-4 win over Braves
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) --- Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez may have found a
new pinch-hitter in his team's latest win.
Stephen Strasburg showed he can shine in the batter's box as well as on the
Strasburg had a three-run homer among his three hits and set a franchise-record
for a pitcher with five RBIs, as the surging Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves
13-4 on Thursday night.
Strasburg's hitting made up for a so-so night on the mound, as he allowed three
runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"Stephen wasn't as sharp as he could be but man he swung the bat really well,"
Martinez said. "He might be a pinch-hitter coming up here for the rest of these
Strasburg, who won the Silver Slugger Award in 2012, said he may have been a
little lucky at the plate.
"It's just how crazy this game is," Strasburg said. "Sometimes you just run
into the ball."
Strasburg is the first Nationals pitcher to drive in five runs in a game and
have two hits in one inning.
His homer was the highlight of an eight-run third inning that also included a
two-run double by Victor Robles, an RBI triple by Adam Eaton and a run-scoring
double by Anthony Rendon.
The Nationals, who have won 14 of their last 18 games, cut Atlanta's lead to 5
1/2 games in the NL East by winning the opener of a four-game series. The
Braves have lost three straight.
Strasburg (12-4) improved to 3-0 against Atlanta this season by winning his
fifth straight start. His effort on the mound was overshadowed by his career
highs in hits and RBIs.
Strasburg led off the third with a single to center. After the Nationals
knocked rookie right-hander Kyle Wright (0-3) out of the game in the long
inning, Strasburg hit Touki Toussaint's second pitch 420 feet over the
Washington bullpen behind the left-field wall for an 8-1 lead.
Strasburg's big night at the plate continued when he hit a two-run single off
Toussaint in the fifth.
All the time spent running the bases, including scoring from first on Eaton's
triple, may have drained Strasburg. He was pulled in the sixth after giving up
a run-scoring triple to Ozzie Albies and Brian McCann's RBI single.
Nick Markakis hit a line-drive homer off right-hander Kyle McGowin in the
eighth. The opposite-field shot barely cleared the left-field wall.
Wright allowed seven runs and seven hits with three walks --- all in the third
inning --- in 2 2/3 innings. Wright was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett before
"I just kind of beat myself a little bit," Wright said. "I think it was lack of
feel with the fastball."
Rendon had three hits, including two doubles, and a walk.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (mid-back strain) played catch but did not throw in
the bullpen as expected and may not start on Sunday.
Braves: RHP Kevin Gausman (right shoulder tendinitis) is on track to come off
the IL and start on Sunday after throwing on Thursday. "Talking to him, he
feels really good where he's at right now," Snitker said.
Strasburg celebrated the homer by dancing with his teammates in the dugout .
"Stras isn't much of a dancer," said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. "Maybe his
wedding is the last time he danced."
The Braves also reinstated outfielder Ender Inciarte from the 10-day injured
list and optioned right-handers Bryse Wilson and Huascar Ynoa to Gwinnett.
Inciarte, who had been out since May 15 with a lumbar strain, did not have a
hit as he started in center field with Ronald Acua Jr. moving to left field.
Inciarte, a three-time Gold Glove winner, isn't returning to a regular job.
Rookie Austin Riley has taken over in left field.
"Just filling in," said manager Brian Snitker when asked about Inciarte's role.
"I'm not going to feel like I'm forced to get him in."
CHARLIE ON THE HILL
Utility infielder Charlie Culberson made his second pitching appearance of the
season with a scoreless ninth. He also recorded a scoreless ninth against San
Diego on May 2.
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.39) will face the Braves for the first
time this season on Friday night.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.71 ERA) is 6-6 with a 4.13 ERA in 21 career
starts against Washington, including 0-2 with a 6.57 ERA in 2018. Teheran had
been scheduled to start on Thursday night, but the start was pushed back when
Wright was recalled.
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