WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Strasburg recovered from another rough first inning to pitch into the eighth, Wilson Ramos produced a go-ahead sacrifice fly in his first game since opening day, and the Washington Nationals edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday.
After waiting through a rain delay of more than 1 1/2 hours to throw his first pitch, Strasburg (3-2) did what he’s done all season: struggled to get the first three outs, then been fairly dominant. This time, he gave up four consecutive singles, including run-scoring hits by Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig, during a 28-pitch first as Los Angeles went ahead 2-0.
Then Strasburg got into a groove, while his teammates scored three runs off former Nationals pitcher Dan Haren (4-1).
In all, Strasburg allowed two runs and seven hits — all singles — in 7 1-3 innings. He faced the minimum three batters in each of the second through fifth innings, and threw a total of 114 pitches.
In the sixth, he put two men on, but got Andre Ethier on a grounder for the third out. In the seventh, Strasburg also put two on, then was replaced by lefty Jerry Blevins, who got Gonzalez to pop out in foul territory.
Righty Tyler Clippard then came in to face Puig, who flied out to center on the first pitch. Rafael Soriano threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save in seven chances.
Strasburg lowered his season ERA to 3.42, but there’s quite a disparity hidden in there. He’s allowed eight earned runs in his eight first innings in 2014, a 9.00 ERA. From the second inning on, it’s 2.29.
Haren, who spent 2013 with the Nationals, went six innings, giving up three runs and seven hits.
Like Strasburg, he let in two runs in the first inning, both scoring on Adam LaRoche’s long single off the top of the wall down the line in right.
Washington broke the tie in the fifth, when hits by Denard Span and Jayson Werth, plus a walk to LaRoche, loaded the bases with one out for Ramos. He worked the count full before sending a fly ball to right field that Puig — back in the lineup after a two-game absence — ran down to grab. Puig then made a strong throw home, but Span beat it by a couple of steps to make it 3-2.
Ramos earlier had a double on the first pitch he’d faced in the majors since March 31, when he broke a bone in his left wrist against the Mets. He sat out 32 games.
NOTES: Nationals manager Matt Williams said his car was sideswiped by another vehicle that then took off, chased by police, while he was stopped in traffic a few blocks away from Nationals Park. It happened while Williams was doing a radio appearance on 106.7 The Fan. “I’m fine. No worries. Car’s not real good, but I’m good,” Williams said. … After a day off, the Nationals open a three-game series at Oakland on Friday, with RHP Doug Fister on a pitch limit of about 100 while making his first start of the season after coming off the DL. The Athletics will start LHP Tommy Milone (0-3, 5.86), a former Nationals minor leaguer. … Los Angeles returns home to open a four-game series against San Francisco on Thursday, with Dodgers RHP Josh Beckett (0-1, 3.14) facing Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-1, 4.60). … Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke, who threw only three innings before the rain came Monday, will not be moved up for his next start and will head to the mound after usual rest Saturday against San Francisco, manager Don Mattingly said. … Puig went 1 for 3 with an RBI single and a walk. He rammed his head, left arm and lower left leg against the fence as he tried to track down a double in the ninth inning of Los Angeles’ loss at Miami on Sunday. … To make room for Ramos, the Nationals optioned RHP Blake Treinen to Triple-A Syracuse. He made his first major league start Tuesday, going five innings.