Stephen Strasburg was quite good. His team, not so much. The game was a scoreless tie through six. The Braves had a run-scoring chance in the first, but Melky was thrown out at home trying to score on a shallow single by McCann; I have no idea how a guy who is supposedly a centerfielder could not score with two out on any single to the outfield. After that, the Braves did very little until the seventh. Tim Hudson was not as impressive as Strasburg, but in the end equally effective, pitching around some shaky defense.
The Nats had a golden chance to get a run in the top of the seventh, with a leadoff double and a bunt to get the runner to third. But the eighth-place hitter struck out (for the third time tonight) and the Nats let Strasburg hit for himself, because he’s their best pitcher and hadn’t thrown too many pitches. He grounded out, and then only got one out in the seventh.
It wasn’t his fault, really. The first two runners, sure — Chipper walked on four pitches, and McCann hit a ringing single. But Glaus hit a perfect double-play ball that the shortstop completely botched to load the bases. Hinske followed with a sac fly to score the game’s first run, with McCann moving to third. Yunel hit a clean single to make it 2-0 and chase Strasburg. Blanco bunted in Glaus, reaching first as well, and Infante hit another possible double play ball that was botched even worse, two Nats infielders looking like a Cirque de Soleil act at third base. It was somehow scored a hit, and no error even with Yunel scoring from second and Blanco going all the way to third on the play, and how that works I have no idea. Blanco scored on a Prado sac fly to make it 5-0.
Venters blew through the eighth on eleven pitches, but had a few problems in the ninth, walking two and causing Wagner to warm up, before rallying with a strikeout and a groundout. I hope we don’t need him tomorrow.