Stephen Strasburg expects to return this week

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his scheduled Friday start against the Phillies after experiencing forearm tightness while working on a new pitch during his pregame bullpen session. But it wasn’t a major concern then and signs are looking promising for a quick return.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Strasburg played long toss from a distance of 120 feet on Sunday morning at Nationals Park and was free of arm discomfort. He will test himself on a mound on Monday and is aiming to rejoin the Nats’ starting rotation this Thursday against the Marlins.

Strasburg, 25, owns a 2.96 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 181/52 K/BB ratio in 170 innings this season.

The Nationals are trying to work their way into the NL Central-dominated NL Wild Card mix.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.