Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals aren’t making it easy for the Mariners. Strasburg outdueled Roenis Elias in leading Washington to a 3-1 win in the second game of a three-game interleague series in front of 32,894 at Safeco Field Saturday. The Nationals remained undefeated against the Mariners, winning for the 11th consecutive time.
An error committed by Austin Jackson on a lazy fly ball off the bat of Denard Span in the first inning marred an otherwise brilliant defensive game by Seattle (72-62), and contributed to a 2-0 Nationals lead that they did not surrender.
Jackson and leftfielder Dustin Ackley converged on a fly ball in left-center with both fielders calling. Neither heard the other and Ackley couldn’t hold the catch as Jackson collided with him. With Span on second base with one out, Jayson Werth hit his second home run in as many games, on the seventh pitch he saw from Elias.
Elias went six innings, his deepest game in two months, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. Elias struck out five on 102 pitches.
Washington (77-57) added a run in the fifth inning when Jose Lobaton singled to left and scored on Anthony Rendon’s double. With a 3-0 lead, Strasburg went to work.
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 MLB draft entered Saturday’s start with a 2-8 record and 4.77 ERA in 13 starts on the road. He was much better in his first career appearance against Seattle. The right-hander, in his fifth season with the Nationals, limited the Mariners to one run on six hits over 7.2 innings while striking out eight.
The lone run off Strasburg (11-10, 3.49 ERA) came in the eighth inning when Ackley hit a two-out solo home run, his 10th. The Mariners squandered a couple of good scoring opportunities against Strasburg, particularly in the third inning.
With one out, Jesus Sucre, who had another two-hit game, and Jackson singled to give the M’s runners on first and third. After Ackley flied out, Jackson stole second, but Cano failed to come through, striking out looking.
Washington closer Rafael Soriano, a former Mariner, pitched the ninth inning for his 30th save. He got James Jones to ground out with the tying run on first base to end the game.
The loss was Seattle’s fourth in five games during a six-game homestand. The series concludes Sunday with Hisashi Iwakuma set to face Tanner Roark.
Jackson extended his hitting streak to 10 games . . . Sucre has two hits in three of his last four games . . . Ackley’s 10 homers are the second highest total of his career. The left-fielder hit 12 in 2012.