"The command of my changeup and the feel for my changeup was much better," Strasburg said. "You work on things and you try to remember what the keys are -- what are you trying to do with the pitch, where you want to execute it. You try to paint that picture in your head. You go out there and let it go."
The Nationals, who took three of four games in the series, improved their record to 6-7, while the Phillies are 4-9 to start the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Strasburg dominates: Strasburg was the antithesis of what he was on Tuesday against the Red Sox. He had a perfect game going until the fifth inning, when Carlos Ruiz singled to left field with two outs. Strasburg racked up seven strikeouts and allowed the one run on five hits with two walks. More >
"That may be as good as I've seen him," manager Matt Williams said. "He pitched at 92, 93 [miles per hour] and was able to reach back when he needed it for 95-plus. For me, that makes his changeup even more effective. Today, he threw for strikes when he wanted to, went out of the zone when he needed to. I don't know if I've seen him better than that."
Better but not winning: Phillies right-hander David Buchanan's best start this season cratered in his final inning and ended like his others, with a loss. That the damage came with two outs in the fifth added to his frustration. Matching Strasburg with zeros on the scoreboard through four innings and having allowed only two hits, Buchanan surrendered four hits with an intentional walk to the next five batters. That led to three runs and his exit after the frame. He did strike out a season-high four. More >
Buchanan allowed 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings over his first two starts including six over three innings in his season debut at Boston.
"Against the Red Sox, I wasn't really throwing strikes. I was falling behind. Eventually that's going to catch up to you," Buchanan said. "But today I thought I was throwing the ball in the zone. Had some tough breaks."
Runs aplenty: The Nationals scored three runs in the fifth inning. Ian Desmond gave Washington a 1-0 lead with a double down the third-base line, scoring Denard Span. Jayson Werth followed with a single to center, scoring Desmond, and Werth came home on a double by Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman did it again two innings later against right-hander Dustin McGowan, hitting a broken-bat single to center field, scoring Desmond.
Revere rides again: Outfielder Ben Revere returned to the starting lineup after three games on the bench and one day after his pinch-running prowess led to a key run in Saturday's win. However, the break didn't help him break out of his early-season slump. Revere finished 1-for-4, leaving his batting average at .167 (7-for-42). He's hardly the only struggling batter. Philadelphia has scored two runs or fewer in four of its last five games.
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The last time Strasburg had a 10-strikeout game was Aug. 3 against the Phillies, and the only complete game of his career also came against the Phillies, on Aug. 11, 2013.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: After an off-day Monday, the Phillies open a three-game home series against Miami on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. After one quality start and one rocky outing, Jerome Williams looks to rebound against a Marlins club he hasn't started against since 2007. He allowed one run in a no-decision against Washington in his season debut, but the righty gave up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits over five innings in Wednesday's loss to the Mets. Dan Haren (1-0, 2.08 ERA) is expected to start for the Marlins.
Nationals: Washington has Monday off but returns to Nationals Park Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET to open a three-game series against the Cardinals, who took five of seven games vs. the Nationals last year. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will face St. Louis for the fourth time in his career. He is 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA against the Cardinals.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Ben Standig is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.