Stephen Strasburg leaned against a leather couch, cap pulled low, and stared toward the bright lights of the media swarm.

The end of his season lurked behind each question — the team-mandated shutdown that's become a national fascination — as the clock inched toward midnight Friday night in the clubhouse at Nationals Park.

But Strasburg batted the two minutes and 30 seconds worth of questions away as easily as the Miami Marlins swatted his 97-mile per hour fastballs around the field. The right-hander's final home start of the season started with a roar from the crowd as he walked in from the bullpen and "Seven Nation Army" pounded. It ended with an ugly, abbreviated pitching line as the Marlins defeated the Nationals 9-7 in 10 innings.

The second-to-last start of Strasburg's season was supposed to be the centerpiece, but faded in a back-and-forth game where the teams combined for 29 hits and a handful of bizarre plays. Still, every machination of Strasburg's shutdown in the first full season after Tommy John surgery on his right elbow overshadows the Nationals' best season since moving to Washington in 2005.