WASHINGTON (AP) — Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee did his best to look on the bright side Thursday.
His club had just lost 7-1 to Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals, capping a three-game sweep in which the Marlins were outscored 22-8.
"The good thing," McGehee pointed out, "is ... we're sitting here at 5-5. It's not like we're 1-9."
Yes, for a team that lost an NL-high 100 games last season, a .500 record sure does sound pretty good.
"We all wish we had a little bit better showing here," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "But we know we can play against these guys."
Still, bothered by the shadows creeping across the diamond during a game that began at the unusual time of 4:05 p.m., Marlins hitters wound up tying a franchise record by striking out 17 times in all, 12 against Strasburg.
"It was kind of tough to see out there," said Miami's Derek Dietrich, who went 0 for 3 with one strikeout.
Strasburg went 6 2-3 innings on a day Washington really needed to rest its relievers, and Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond homered.
Strasburg (1-1) got 14 consecutive outs in one stretch and allowed only three hits, including Marcell Ozuna's homer in the seventh.
Washington's starter Wednesday, Jordan Zimmermann, left after a career-low 1 2-3 innings, leaving the bullpen "taxed," as manager Matt Williams put it. The Nationals won that game 10-7 on Werth's go-ahead grand slam in the eighth, and this time he connected in the third — a two-run shot off Tom Koehler (1-1) that put Washington ahead 2-0.
Werth hit a 3-0 pitch just to the left of straightaway center. After driving in a total of one run over the season's first seven games, Werth has seven RBIs in the past two.
"Got the green light from Matty," Werth said, referring to the manager. "Got a pitch up that was elevated and put a good swing on it."
Said Koehler: "Got to do a better job of ... executing."
Washington tacked on five runs in the eighth off reliever Arquimedes Caminero, capped by Desmond's second career slam and third homer of 2014.
Strasburg lasted 4 1-3 innings in his previous start, a 6-2 loss to Atlanta on Sunday, and he entered Thursday 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA. He gave the Marlins fits by mixing a 95-96 mph fastball with a seemingly unhittable changeup.
The outset was inauspicious for the right-hander, though. Christian Yelich led off the game with a single up the middle, stole second and took third on an error. But he got caught in a rundown when he tried to head home on Dietrich's comebacker.
There wasn't another baserunner for Miami until shortstop Desmond booted Adeiny Hechavarria's grounder for an error in the fifth. But Strasburg struck out Jeff Mathis looking at a 95 mph fastball to end the inning, then hopped off the mound.
Miami's second hit, improbably, came off the bat of Koehler, who beat out an infield single to the hole at short in the sixth. After striking out Yelich, Strasburg hit Dietrich with a pitch, bringing up the Marlins' best hitter, Giancarlo Stanton, with two aboard and one out in a 2-0 game.
"Any ball he puts in play can take somebody's head off," Strasburg said.
But Strasburg struck out Stanton looking and got cleanup hitter Garrett Jones swinging at a high fastball for his 10th K — the 13th time the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft had at least that many in a game.
Stanton's next at-bat came in the eighth against rookie Aaron Barrett, who struck him out with a slider.
"He's a bulldog," Strasburg said about Barrett. "He's not scared of anybody."
NOTES: The Marlins open a three-game series Friday at Philadelphia, where RHP Jose Fernandez (2-0, 0.71) will start against Phillies RHP A.J. Burnett (0-1, 3.86). ... Marlins LHP Brad Hand, who allowed three runs in 3 1-3 innings Wednesday, is slated to start again Monday in Miami against Washington in place of RHP Jacob Turner (DL, shoulder). ... Marlins INF Rafael Furcal (DL, left hamstring) is scheduled to start playing Monday at extended spring training in Jupiter, Fla.
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