- - Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Stephen Strasburg returned to the mound Wednesday, but it was not a pleasant night for the Nationals pitcher. The right-hander gave up seven hits and five runs in just four innings, but Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer in the last of the ninth with two outs for an 8-7 win. It was his 11th career walk-off homer.

The Nationals (64-63) are still 7½ games back of first-place Atlanta, who beat Pittsburgh 2-1. Washington center fielder Bryce Harper (3-for-5) had hits in his first three at-bats and scored twice.

“We just have to keep going,” Zimmerman said. “We have battled all year. We will see what happens.”

Strasburg, making his first start since July 20 after neck problems, gave up two homers and his fastball was clocked in the low 90s — he normally hits the upper 90s when healthy.

Pinch-hitter Andrew Stevenson of the Nationals had a sacrifice fly in the eighth to trim the Phillies lead to 7-6. But Washington got a two-out double from Juan Soto and then Zimmerman hit a homer that stood after a video review to win the game in the ninth.

Cesar Hernandez had hit a solo homer off Washington reliever Justin Miller to lead off the seventh to give the Phillies a 7-5 advantage.

Carlos Santana had a pinch-hit RBI double in the sixth off Nationals reliever Wander Suero to give the Phillies a 6-5 lead.

Trea Turner of the Nationals had scored on a throwing error to tie the game at 5 in the fourth.

Roman Quinn had an RBI single in the fourth to give the Phillies a 5-4 advantage.

The Nationals scored three in the third as Harper had an RBI double and Juan Soto and Matt Wieters had RBI singles.

Justin Bour, a former George Mason University standout, hit a solo homer in the third to give the visitors a 4-1 lead. The Nationals had trimmed the margin to 3-1 in the first on an RBI double by Anthony Rendon.

Bour had an RBI double and Maikel Franco followed with a two-run homer as the Phillies scored three in the first off Strasburg. The series finale is Thursday at 1:05 p.m.as Max Scherzer (16-5, 2.11) goes for the Nationals against Aaron Nola (14-3, 2.24) of the Phillies.

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