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Desmond hits 3-run homer, Strasburg goes 6 innings as Nationals defeat Rangers 9-2

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WASHINGTON - Ian Desmond keyed a 15-hit attack with a three-run homer, Stephen Strasburg pitched six solid innings and the Washington Nationals defeated the Texas Rangers 9-2 on Friday night.

Jayson Werth and Denard Span had three hits each for Washington, which had lost 6 of 7.

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

Strasburg (4-4) allowed two unearned runs, though his error led to them, and six hits. He struck out nine and walked one.

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.

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.

Strasburg had thrown 88 pitches when manager Matt Williams lifted him in the sixth for a pinch-hitter with two outs and two on.

The moved paid off when Tyler Moore's double to left scored both runners, increasing Washington's lead to 6-2.

The Nationals added two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.

Washington trailed 2-0 in the fourth when Werth and Adam LaRoche singled with one out.

Lewis struck out Wilson Ramos, but Desmond sent a 1-0 fastball into the seats in centre field for his 10th home run.

Span used his speed to make it 4-2 after he singled in the fifth.

Running on the pitch, he kept going around second on Anthony Rendon's grounder to third. First baseman Mitch Moreland's throw back to the third was wild and Span scored on the error.

Texas took the lead during a bizarre second inning.

Beltre doubled leading off, but Strasburg stuck out the next two hitters and should have been out of the inning when Leonys Martin hit a slow bouncer to the mound.

The ball bounced off Strasburg's glove, then his head, and fell to the ground. He still had a chance to get Martin but missed a stab at the ball. Martin was safe on the error with Beltre moving to third.

Strasburg then surrendered RBI singles to the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, Rougned Odor and Lewis. Lewis' hit snapped an 0-for-23 stretch by Rangers pitchers going back to June 20, 2012.

NOTES: Texas was making its second trip back to its original home city since the franchise left Washington in 1971. Texas took 2 of 3 from the Nationals in June 2008. . Rangers RH Yu Darvish, scratched from his start on Tuesday night because of neck discomfort, remains on track to pitch Sunday after throwing a side session Friday. . Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman (broken right thumb) began a rehab assignment Friday night with at Class A Potomac. . Williams said LHP Gio Gonzalez (left shoulder inflammation) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session Friday. He will pitch a simulated game Sunday and if all goes well, a rehab start next week. . Desmond (77) moved ahead of Adam Dunn for second on Nationals all-time home run list. Zimmerman leads with 181. . Rangers RHP Nick Tepesch (2-0, 2.95) opposes RHP Doug Fister (2-1, 3.42) on Saturday.

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