Strasburg overpowers Red Sox
Boston - Stephen Strasburg struck out 13 in six innings, Bryce Harper homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Boston Red Sox 7-4 on Friday night for the franchise's first victory at Fenway Park.
Harper hit a two-run shot in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth as the club improved to 1-9 at Boston's iconic home. The Montreal Expos dropped all six of their games there before moving to Washington.
Strasburg (7-1) threw a career-high 119 pitches, including 33 in his final inning when he worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He finished one strikeout shy of his career high of 14, set on June 8, 2010 - exactly two years ago to the day Friday - against Pittsburgh in his major league debut.
Strasburg struck out five straight and seven of eight during a stretch from the third inning to the fifth. He gave up two runs and four hits while improving to 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA in his last four starts.
Boston starter Felix Doubront (6-3) was even better than Strasburg early on, striking out four in the first two innings, but the Nationals got to him for three runs in the third on three hits and a pair of walks. They added three more in the fourth, including a pair on Harper's two-run shot to straightaway center, while building a 6-2 lead.
Doubront lasted just four innings and was charged with six runs and eight hits, five of them doubles.
Adrian Gonzalez hit his 200th career homer, a solo shot off Ross Detwiler in the eighth, and Daniel Nava delivered an RBI double in the ninth against Brad Lidge to get Boston within three. Washington then brought in Tyler Clippard, who got two outs for his sixth save in seven chances.
Strasburg faltered a bit in the second when he walked David Ortiz to start the inning, Ryan Sweeney hit a two-out single and Mike Aviles doubled off the Green Monster to drive in both runners.
The lead was short-lived.
After striking out in his first at-bat, Harper showed why he's among the early leaders for rookie of the year when he hit a line drive to center in the third that he stretched into a double.
Danny Espinosa, who was aboard after a leadoff walk, moved to third on Harper's play and scored on Ryan Zimmerman's single. Ian Desmond doubled to right-center to put Washington up 3-2.
Espinosa doubled in Tyler Moore in the fourth and scored on Harper's sixth homer.
Dustin Pedroia singled with one out in the sixth for Boston's first hit since the second inning, snapping an 0-for-14 slump and getting a loud cheer from Fenway fans who had watched Strasburg strike out batter after batter.
The Red Sox then caught up to Strasburg for a stretch. Gonzalez followed Pedroia with a double off the Green Monster and David Ortiz walked to load the bases with one out. But the right-hander then struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia swinging and got Kevin Youkilis looking on a 96-mph fastball.
Youkilis thought the final pitch was low and furiously argued the call before he was ejected by umpire Doug Eddings.
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