USA Today Sports Images
Stephen Strasburg allowed four runs (on two two-run homers) in seven innings.
Hitting highlight: They struggled all day to drive runners home, so the Nationals resorted to trickery to plate the winning run in the ninth. With a gimpy Zimmerman on second (he had just been hit in the knee with a pitch) and the notoriously slow LaRoche on first, Johnson put on the double-steal. It worked to perfection, with catcher Russell Martin not even able to get off a throw. That set the stage for Moore, who had struck out with the bases loaded in his previous two at-bats, to loft a flyball to right, deep enough to score Zimmerman with the game-winning run.
Pitching highlight: Overall, Strasburg did look better today. His changeup was especially filthy, and he used it effectively to record some big strikeouts when he needed them. But Strasburg's fastball command remains an issue. Both home runs he allowed were on fastballs over the plate, with Starling Marte and Clint Barmes each taking him deep for two-run shots. Strasburg also continues to have all kinds of trouble retiring leadoff men. He's now allowed 10 of the last 13 leadoff batters he's faced reach safely, a staggering total. That has forced him to pitch almost exclusively out of the stretch, which is never something any pitcher wants to do. In the end, Strasburg wasn't quite good enough, and the Nats lineup couldn't quite produce enough run support for him. He remains winless since Opening Day.
Key stat: Before delivering his two-run single in the sixth, Ramos had been 0-for-9 since coming off the disabled list.
Up next: The series concludes with a Sunday matinee at PNC Park, featuring a good matchup of left-handers. Gio Gonzalez faces Wandy Rodriguez at 1:35 p.m.