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Hitting lowlight: If the bottom of the fourth inning wasn't the Nationals' season in a nutshell, I don't know what is. They loaded the bases with nobody out and had Ricky Nolasco on the ropes. And they still couldn't push home even one run. Ian Desmond tapped a check-swing grounder to third. Chad Tracy lofted a flyball to shallow left field, with Bryce Harper feigning as though he was going to tag up, only to watch as Carl Crawford's throw sailed way up the first base line. Wilson Ramos then grounded out to the pitcher, killing the rally and leaving plenty in the crowd of 39,146 booing the home team's offensive futility.
Pitching highlight: The words "Strasburg" and "extreme heat" haven't exactly paired up well in the past. (Who can forget last summer's dehydration episode in Atlanta?) Give the right-hander credit tonight, though, because he battled through the sweltering conditions and turned in another fine performance. Strasburg even got better as the night wore on. After surrendering a two-run homer to Hanley Ramirez in the third (on a pitch that was down and away), he kept the Dodgers from scoring again. And he retired the last 11 batters he faced, departing on a high note. Some may ask why Johnson didn't leave Strasburg (at 104 pitches) in for another inning. But under these conditions, there was no reason to send him back out. He churned out seven quality innings, and that should've been good enough on this night.
Key stat: With two hits tonight, Harper is now 7-for-9 with two doubles and two homers this season against Nolasco.
Up next: The series continues with another marquee Saturday night pitching matchup. Gio Gonzalez faces Zack Greinke at 7:05 p.m.