WASHINGTON (AP) Stephen Strasburg returned to Washington's rotation with a bang Saturday night, striking out 12 in seven innings and contributing three hits as the Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 6-1.
The right-hander had been on the disabled list since a left oblique strain forced him out after 3 2-3 innings against the San Francisco Giants on July 4. He went to the disabled list for the second time this season before being reinstated Saturday. He allowed one run and three hits.
The victory let the Nationals (57-52) move within 1 1-2 games of the Mets in the NL East as New York's seven-game winning streak ended Saturday night at Tampa Bay.
Strasburg (6-5) didn't walk a batter and looked sharp from the start against a Colorado team that came into the game leading the National League with a .273 average.
He struck out two in the second and third innings before striking out the side in the fourth around a solo homer by Nolan Arenado.
Strasburg often combined a high-90's fastball with a nasty curve to shut down the Rockies (46-62). Charlie Blackmon got the other two hits off Strasburg, both doubles, but even he struck out once.
Strasburg went 3 for 3 at the plate, the first three-hit game of his career, and his first hits of the season. He had been 0 for 16 entering the game.
Wilson Ramos gave the Nationals a 2-0 lead with his two-run double to right-center in the second. Ian Desmond made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the third.
Arenado's homer cut the lead to 3-1. Ryan Zimmerman then added an RBI double and single as the Nationals pulled away.
Colorado starter Eddie Butler (3-9) allowed four runs in six innings but walked four Nationals and three of them scored.
Nationals: CF Denard Span (back tightness) had what manager Matt Williams called a ''setback'' in his rehab. Span had hit and done defensive work on the field this week along with some baserunning, but his back wasn't progressing. Williams said Span will probably go to Florida early in the week to continue rehab. . 2B Dan Uggla was placed on 15-day DL (back spasms) on Saturday.
RHP Max Scherzer (11-8, 2.31) has given up just three runs in the last 13 innings and will start Sunday's series finale, going against LHP Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.54), who is making his third start of the season.