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Strasburg scratched, Batista sparkles for Nationals

Stephen Strasburg's warmup session in the bullpen had lasted about a half-dozen tosses when Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty approached the star rookie with a simple question.

"I just said, 'Well, how're you feeling?' He said, 'I feel stiff. My shoulder's stiff,' " McCatty recounted.

"I said, 'How bad?' He said, 'It's just stiff, but I can get loose.' I said, 'Uh, no.' And that was it," McCatty said.

With Strasburg suddenly scratched with what was later diagnosed as shoulder inflammation, reliever Miguel Batista was pressed into making his first start in nearly two years - and the 39-year-old turned out to be rather Strasburglike last night.

Batista (1-2) allowed only three singles through five scoreless innings. Ttwo throwing errors hurt Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson (8-7), and the last-place Nationals beat the NL East-leading Braves 3-0.

Strasburg was sent for medical tests and listed as day to day.

Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 5

Ryan Howard hit a tiebreaking two-run homer, and Jayson Werth and Cody Ransom also connected as host Philadelphia won its season-high sixth straight.

Rays 3, Tigers 2

James Shields (9-9) gave up two runs in 62/3 innings and Matt Joyce hit a tiebreaking double for host Tampa Bay.

Rangers 3, Athletics 1

Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th for Texas. The Rangers' Cliff Lee struck out a career-high 13 and scattered five hits in a nine-inning no-decision.

Blue Jays 8, Orioles 2

Jose Bautista hit two home runs and Ricky Romero (8-7) pitched 72/3 strong innings for host Toronto.

White Sox 11, Mariners 0

Alexei Ramirez, Andruw Jones and Paul Konerko homered for Gavin Floyd (6-8) and host Chicago.

Twins 11, Royals 2

Danny Valencia had three RBIs and Carl Pavano (13-6) won his eighth straight for visiting Minnesota. - AP

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