Rather than waiting for their last at-bat again, the Washington Nationals won their eighth straight game because of a big third inning at the plate and another dominant outing by right-hander Stephen Strasburg. Removing the late-inning drama seemed OK with them after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-1 on Tuesday night.
The Nats scored six times in the third, keyed by a three-run double by Asdrubal Cabrera. Strasburg struck our four in a season-high eight innings, surpassing his career high for K's in a season. All of that meant Washington didn't have to win in the final moment, as it had for three straight games previously.
''I guess it's what the doctor ordered,'' Strasburg said.
It's Washington's longest winning streak in two years and, at 71-53, the Nats have the best record in the National League.
THREE-RUN 11TH GETS TIGERS PAST RAYS:
Tampa Bay's Grant Balfour walked three Detroit Tigers in the 11th inning, inadvertently helping them squeeze out an 8-6 victory at Tropicana Field. Detroit's Victor Martinez drew a tiebreaking walk with the bases loaded. The crowd booed, or sarcastically cheered, when Rays manager Joe Maddon replaced Balfour, who tipped his cap acknowledging his poor performance as he walked off the field.
Jim Johnson worked out of a jam in the bottom of the 11th, and the Tigers won for just the fifth time in 13 games. They hold the second wild-card spot in the American League's pennant race.
MARLINS SURPASS 2013 WIN TOTAL: The Florida Marlins continue to progress, improving to 63-62 with a 4-3 victory against the Texas Rangers. The Fish, who won only 62 games in 2013, also hadn't been over .500 since June 20. Giancarlo Stanton ended the ballgame with an RBI single in the 10th inning. Stanton's fielding error in the seventh had helped the Rangers tie the score.
BRAVES THUMP PIRATES IN MCCUTCHEN'S RETURN TO LINEUP:
The Atlanta Braves drilled left-hander Francisco Liriano and spoiled the return to the lineup of Andrew McCutchen with an 11-3 victory at PNC Park. Atlanta's Justin Upton hit a three-run homer and drove in five.
Liriano was charged with nine runs — seven earned — after allowing 10 hits in four innings. McCutchen went 0 for 4 after missing two weeks because of fractured cartilage in his ribs. The Pirates have lost seven straight, and don't have long for McCutchen to regain his timing.
Evan Gattis hit one of the longest home runs that anyone has seen to left field at PNC.
"That was a joke," Upton said.
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