ATLANTA – Washington relied on its offense for its second straight win over Atlanta, leaving manager Davey Johnson feeling relaxed and happy.
Bryce Harper homered and Danny Espinosa added a three-run shot to help Washington strengthen its hold on first place in the NL East by beating the struggling Atlanta Braves 8-4 on Saturday.
Following Friday night’s 7-4 win in the series opener, the Nationals have scored seven or more runs in back to back games for the first time this season.
The offense scoring seven runs two days in a row, I feel like I’m on vacation or something, Johnson said.
Stephen Strasburg (5-1) was not sharp, but backed by the Nationals’ 12 hits, he still won. He set a season high with four walks while giving up four runs and six hits in five innings. He had six strikeouts.
He’s usually the one picking us up and we picked him up today, Johnson said.
I just don’t think he had a good feel of the fastball. He was throwing good and hard. There was nothing physically wrong with him.
The temperature for the first pitch was 90 degrees, and Strasburg soon was shaking sweat off his right arm between pitches. The heat may have contributed to Strasburg’s difficulty controlling his fastball.
I’d try one thing and it wouldn’t work and I’d try another thing and it wouldn’t work, Strasburg said. It was just one of those days. I’m not really happy with it, but the bottom line is we won.
The Braves’ season-worst losing streak reached six games as they fell three games behind the Nationals.
Dan Uggla’s two-run, tying homer in the fifth was the big hit for the short-handed Braves.
Catcher Brian McCann is still recovering from an illness and did not start. First baseman Freddie Freeman was a late scratch as he continues to struggle with his vision while wearing contacts.
We’re not playing particularly well right now, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. And there are no excuses. We’ve just need to get it going.
I like the fact that we battled back against Strasburg.
Juan Francisco had three hits, including a double off Tom Gorzelanny to lead off the ninth. Craig Stammen gave a one-out walk to pinch-hitter Jack Wilson. Tyler Clippard earned his third save by striking out Michael Bourn and ending the game on McCann’s pinch-hit popout.
MARLINS 5, GIANTS 3: In Miami, Mark Buehrle pitched into the eighth inning and Miami moved within a victory of tying the team record for the most wins in a month.
Giancarlo Stanton hit two doubles and scored twice while Logan Morrison drove in two runs for the Marlins. Miami is a major league best 18-7 in May. The Marlins went 19-10 in August 1997.
METS 9, PADRES 0: In New York, Johan Santana pitched a four-hitter for his first shutout since 2010 and New York backed him with three home runs.
Mike Nickeas hit New York’s first grand slam of the season, and Scott Hairston and Vinny Rottino also homered for the Mets, who got it done without David Wright once again.
PHILLIES 4, CARDINALS 0: In Kyle Kendrick threw a seven-hitter for his first career shutout, winning his first game of the season and putting Philadelphia on the verge of its first four-game sweep in St. Louis in 26 years.
Shane Victorino’s RBI double in the fourth was the only support Kendrick (1-4) needed and John Mayberry added a two-run double in a three-run sixth. Hunter Pence and Brian Schneider added two hits apiece for the Phillies.