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(Wednesday, July 25th)
Final Score: Washington 5, New York 2
Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - Stephen Strasburg struck out 11 over seven solid innings to lead the Washington Nationals past the New York Mets, 5-2, and complete a three-game sweep at Citi Field.
Strasburg (11-4) allowed a run on four hits and did not issue a walk in Washington's fifth straight win.
"When the lights are on and your facing another team, you want to go out there and make your stuff really dirty," said Strasburg. "I think when I take a step back, relax and just let it happen instead of force the issue it helps out a lot."
Michael Morse, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche each homered in the victory. Tyler Clippard tossed a scoreless ninth to record his 18th save of the year.
Jeremy Hefner (1-4) made his fourth start of the season and surrendered three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and two walks while striking out seven through six innings to take the loss.
Ike Davis hit a home run for the Mets, who dropped their sixth consecutive game and fell to 1-11 after the All-Star break.
"Once in a while when things go bad you start making excuses, but I don't deal with excuses. I deal with accountability," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I deal with standing up and being a man, being a professional baseball player and playing the game right. This is never about effort and we're going to get back on track."
The Nationals squandered a one-out double by Bryce Harper in the first inning but were able to break through in the second on back-to-back home runs to right field by Morse and Espinosa.
New York answered with a run in the bottom of the second on Davis' leadoff blast just inside the right-field foul pole to make it a 2-1 game.
But Washington regained some cushion in the fourth inning when Espinosa hit a ground-rule double to left field, advanced to second on a Roger Bernadina base hit and crossed the plate on Sandy Leon's dribbler to first base.
The Mets had a chance to get Espinosa out at the plate on the play, but Josh Thole could not hang on to Davis' throw to the plate, allowing Espinosa to slide home safely for a 3-1 edge.
Strasburg, meanwhile, retired 10 straight batters, including a string of five consecutive strikeouts, until Thole slapped a ground-rule double over the head of Morse in left field with two outs in the fifth. Andres Torres would follow with a fly ball to right field to end the inning.
The Nationals then added to their lead in the seventh inning on LaRoche's two- run shot into the right-field bleachers off Tim Byrdak. Harper worked a walk prior to LaRoche's 18th homer of the season.
New York threatened in the eighth when Henry Rodriguez and Craig Stammen combined to walk the bases loaded with no outs, but Washington would limit the damage to just one run on a run-scoring groundout by Jordany Valdespin around a Ruben Tejada liner to center field and David Wright grounder to third to stay on top, 5-2.
Clippard retired the side in order in the ninth to close out the game for the Nationals.
Espinosa extended his hit streak to 11 games...Strasburg improved to 2-0 in three career starts against the Mets...Hefner made his 13th appearance of the season and his first start since June 6. He fell to 0-2 in two career starts against Washington...The Nationals lead the season series between the teams, 9-3...Washington is now 19 games above .500 (58-39) for the first time since 2005.
07/25 18:08:21 ET
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