The debate can subside for the few hours every fifth day Stephen Strasburg occupies the mound, the place he is isolated from talk of innings limits and shutdown days. Soon, in a month perhaps, he will split for winter, his season ended by the Washington Nationals. His starts between now and then can be savored.

Strasburg's performance took precedence Friday night at Chase Field as the Nationals thumped the Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-1, their seventh consecutive victory. Strasburg allowed one hit, a lonely single, over six powerful innings for his 13th win, even while playing with a sore back. He did not always dominate — he walked four batters and allowed a run. But still, the night posed a wild what-if: If not for an unfortunate delay, Strasburg may have taken a no-hitter deep into the night.

With scoreless innings from Sean Burnett and Ryan Mattheus, the Nationals' bullpen preserved the one-hitter until Craig Stammen allowed a double and an infield single in the ninth. The Nationals' only one-hitter since baseball returned to Washington came in 2008, in a game started by Tim Redding. Things are not what they used to be.

The Nationals became the first major league team to 70 wins, pushing the best record in the majors to 70-43. If they go 24-25 in their remaining schedule, the Nationals will win 94 games. The edges around the playoffs, October baseball in D.C., are growing less fuzzy.

"I think we've got our blinders on right now, just playing," left fielder Michael Morse said. "This is uncharted waters for a lot of guys in here. We like what we're doing. We want to keep doing what we're doing. We're to a point where we're not going to change a thing. We're just going to keep pushing. I think we like winning."