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Strasburg gives up seven runs over five innings in Nats' loss

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The Associated Press
8/28/2012 11:49:15 PM
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MIAMI -- Pitching in air conditioning, Stephen Strasburg nonetheless soaked his jersey with perspiration after only a couple of innings.

The first-place Washington Nationals have reason to start sweating.

Strasburg gave up a career-high seven runs in five innings Tuesday night and the Nationals' losing streak reached five games when they were beaten by Ricky Nolasco and the last-place Miami Marlins 9-0.

"I'm sure there's not a pitcher in the history of baseball who has gone out there and done it every single time," Strasburg said. "I struggled for pretty much the whole game. It's a learning experience for me."

Nolasco (10-12) allowed five hits in his third career shutout and eighth complete game. The shutout was the first for the Marlins at their new ballpark.

The Nationals began the night with baseball's best record, but they're saddled with a losing streak that matches their season high.

"We've played really good 90 per cent of the year," manager Davey Johnson said. "We're in a rough spot here. That makes the metal hotter. The tougher it gets, the stronger you get, so we'll be fine."

Strasburg (15-6) came into the game with a streak of 27 consecutive scoreless innings against Miami in five starts since last September. But he gave up a homer to his second batter, Justin Ruggiano, and trailed 5-0 by the third inning.

Strasburg shrugged off the significance of the drenched jersey, but Johnson said it was telling.

"He was fighting himself a little bit," the manager said. "He gave up more hits than he's used to giving up. ... He's such a perfectionist, when he gives up a hit he's going to be upset. That's part of the maturation process for a young pitcher."

Strasburg is expected to make perhaps four more starts before the Nationals shut him down for the year to protect his surgically repaired elbow. The drubbing doesn't change that plan, Johnson said.

Strasburg said the Marlins adjusted to his inside fastball and didn't try to hit the ball the other way.

"They had a little different approach this time, and I didn't make the adjustment," he said. "I just kept trying to do the same thing."

The young right-hander, who had won his past four starts, allowed five earned runs and gave up nine hits to match a career high. He struck out only three but leads the NL with 186 strikeouts.

Nolasco struck out five, walked none and lowered his ERA to 4.78. He retired 14 in a row and held the Nationals hitless until Kurt Suzuki singled with two outs in the fifth.

The complete game was his second in the past three starts.

"Anytime you're rolling like that, you want to finish it off," Nolasco said.

Ruggiano had a career-high four hits in four at-bats and drove in two runs, while Giancarlo Stanton added three hits and three RBIs. Seven of the Marlins' runs scored with two outs, and they totalled 13 hits.

Ian Desmond (hamstring) and Michael Morse (hand), both sidelined last weekend with injuries, returned to the Nationals' lineup but went hitless.

"The good news about that one," Johnson said, "is it was only 2 1/2 hours."

The Marlins scored twice off Strasburg in the first inning. Ruggiano hit his 13th home run. Carlos Lee doubled with two outs, then came home on a broken-bat single by Stanton.

Miami added three runs in the third. Bryan Petersen led off with a single, stole second, took third on a groundout and came home when second baseman Danny Espinosa mishandled a grounder for an error. Greg Dobbs' two-out single brought home two unearned runs to make it 5-0.

Ruggiano had a two-out RBI single against Strasburg in the fourth.

"He's the toughest I've faced in a game as far as overall stuff," Ruggiano said. "Hopefully he's tipping his cap to us, because I think we all had a good approach to him."

Donovan Solano drove in the final run against Strasburg, extending his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-out RBI single in the fifth that made it 7-0.

"Any team wants to come out and make a name for themselves off Stephen Strasburg," Desmond said. "The guy is one of the best pitchers in the game, and they're not just going to lay down for him."

NOTES: Nolasco had been 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in his two previous starts this year against Washington. ... Jayson Werth went hitless and is 4 for 25 (.160) against Nolasco. ... The Marlins' bullpen hasn't allowed an earned run against Washington in the past 31 1-3 innings.

Stephen Strasburg (Photo: Marc Serota/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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