Stephen Strasburg stellar as Nationals prevail

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Stephen Strasburg struck out nine in six scoreless innings Sunday in the Nationals’ 4-3 defeat of the Cardinals.

Strasburg departed with a 2-0 lead after six, only to see that get blown right away when Daniel Descalso hit a two-run homer off Sean Burnett in the seventh. The Nationals came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning and held on to win from there.

Strasburg allowed just two hits and one walk in the gem. His ERA dropped back down to 2.94 after climbing over 3.00 in a poor outing versus the Marlins last week, and he reclaimed the National League lead with his 195 strikeouts.

With Strasburg up to 156 1/3 innings on the season, there’s a good chance Friday’s start will be his last. He’s due to face the Marlins at home.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.