Strasburg injured, Nationals still beat Phillies 8-1

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PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Washington's rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg will have a MRI scan on his pitching arm after he was forced off early in his team's 8-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.

The Nationals, behind a strong performance from Strasburg, were leading 5-1 in the fifth inning when he winced in pain and shook his right arm following a pitch. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman immediately replaced the starter, who had allowed just two hits while striking out six.

Strasburg, who was making his third start since returning from the disabled list for a stiff right shoulder, is scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday.

"He wanted to stay in the game," Riggleman told reporters. "After the initial feeling he said he didn't feel anything and he wanted to keep pitching.

"Certainly with Stephen we're going to be careful, and we'll hope for the best and hopefully get good news."

Doug Slaten pitched 1-2/3 innings for Washington to collect the win and was part of a quartet of relievers who combined to pitch 4-2/3 innings allowing just two hits in support of Strasburg.

Roger Bernadina led the Nationals offense, scoring three runs and driving in three with a home run in the ninth inning.

Placido Polanco scored Philadelphia's only run in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Ryan Howard, who was activated from the disabled list on Saturday.

The Phillies, however, still have a one game lead on the San Francisco Giants in the National League wild card race, as the Giants lost 5-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Philadelphia also remain 2- games behind the NL East leading Atlanta Braves, who lost 5-4 to the Chicago Cubs.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)