Stephen Strasburg completed a phenomenal seven innings shutout on Friday night to hand the Nationals a comfortable 11-1 win over San Diego.
The pitcher allowed just seven hits and produced a match-winning 11 strikeouts to suffocate the Padres attack whilst the Nationals got to work.
Strasburg looked comfortable on the mound after an indifferent start to his fifth season of MLB, but boosted his 2014 record to 2-2.
Speaking to MLB.com, Strasburg didn’t appear overly ecstatic about his achievement.
He said: “Obviously, we had a long game yesterday. It’s always great to go out there with the lead already. It’s not always going to be the case. So you just can’t really look at the scoreboard. Just keep pitching.”
In truth, the 25-year-old only came under pressure in the third during his seven innings. San Diego had scrambled and managed to get all bases loaded and two outs with the score at 2-0.
Yonder Alonso took to the plate but could only pick out Bryce Harper at left field. The Nationals made their opponents pay by piling on four more runs at the bottom of the third to take a commanding 6-0 lead.
Harper was then taken out of the game in the fifth innings after a injured thumb prevented the outfielder from continuing. Harper injured his thumb during the third after diving head first at third base but continued through the pain until being replaced by Nate McLouth.
Like his pitcher, Harper also went 2-2 with four RBIs in the game and the injury is thought to be too serious.
Harper explained to MLB.com: “It was a 6-0 ballgame. I went out in the outfield and it swelled up a little bit. I thought we were in a good spot. I went out and got some treatment on it. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow and go from there.”
Early reports are the injury will rule Harper out for at least one game and the Nationals will keep an eye on his progress before reinstating him into the line-up.
With the Nationals hitting the ball better and their defensive holding tight, momentum is with them after the four-game series was tied at 1-1 against the Padres.
Washington then have a day off on Monday before they travel to Houston to play a two games against the Astros in the midweek.
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