- Associated Press - Friday, May 30, 2014

Ian Desmond’s three-run homer was the hardest ball hit by the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

The high-fives he doled out after crossing home plate were the next hardest.

Desmond’s homer keyed a 15-hit attack, Stephen Strasburg pitched six solid innings and the Nationals defeated the Texas Rangers 9-2.

“I think it was just a party,” Desmond said when asked if his emphatic exchange with teammates Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche and Nate McLouth was a release of frustration from a team that had lost six of its last seven games.

“We’re not having enough fun, and people have been making that known to us. So every time we hit one from now on, it’s a party in there,” he said, explaining “people” referred to friends, family and teammates.

McLouth, the on-deck hitter, at least had a moment to prepare for Desmond.

“I think he got ‘Roche first, so I kind of gave a little bit,” he said. “I put a little cushion in my shoulder.”

Werth and Denard Span had three hits each.

Previously slumping, Washington’s offense has 14 runs and 30 hits in its last two games.

Strasburg (4-4) allowed two unearned runs and six hits. He struck out nine and walked one, and bounced back after his second-inning error led to the Texas runs.

“I think he’s coming into his own, starting to show a little bulldogness out there,” Desmond said. “I don’t know if that’s a word, but that’s what I see.”

It was the eighth straight start in which Strasburg has pitched at least six innings and allowed three runs or less. He improved his ERA to a season-low 3.15.

“We had some more opportunities against him and we just couldn’t get a base hit,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “But he’s a quality pitcher.”

Adrian Beltre had three hits for Texas, which fell to 6-3 on its 11-game road trip.

Rangers starter Colby Lewis (4-4) allowed six runs, five earned, and nine hits in taking his first road loss.

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