The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees come into Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse, NY with a plan against Chiefs' right-hander and future Washington Nationals' ace, Stephen Strasburg, stepping out time and again in the first to attempt to throw the '09 no.1 overall draft pick's rhythm out of whack, but all they accomplish is making the 21-year-old starter throw a few more pitches than usual as he strikes out two with a groundout in between on the way to a 20-pitch scoreless first frame. In the second, Yanks' left fielder Jon Weber smacks the first pitch up the middle for leadoff single, but a double play grounder from first baseman Chad Huffman back to the mound, and a first-pitch lineout by Jesus Montero end Strasburg's second after seven pitches, 27 total thrown through two.
The Yankees' DH Rene Rivera starts the third at the plate against Strasburg, working the count full, and launching a 99mph fastball for a solo HR to right-center off the phenom, who gives up his first minor league HR allowed in 10 starts at Double and then Triple-A. The Yankees manage a one-out single off Strasburg as well, but he holds the S/WB Yanks to the one run and retires the side having thrown 45 pitches, 29 for strikes. A one-out walk in the fourth is all the Yankees manage, as Strasburg gets a backwards K with an 0-2 curve to Eduardo Nunez before back to back grounders end an 18-pitch fourth inning on the mound.
A one-out single in the fifth interrupts Strasburg striking out the side, and when he gets the third K to retire outfielder Greg Golsen, the Chiefs' starter is up 2-1 after five innings pitched in which he's thrown 77 pitches, 49 for strikes and K'd six of the 19 batters he's faced with 6 groundouts, 3 flyouts, 4 hits, 1 walk and 1 ER allowed on the HR.
Back-to-back singles to start the sixth and a walk to load the bases and Strasburg's lifted after 5.0 IP, 86 pitches, 54 strikes, 6 hits, 1 HR, 1 ER. 2 walks and 6 K's to go with 6 groundouts and 6 flyouts from the Yankees' batters....Make that 3 ER, the two runners Strasburg lets on score after he's out when Josh Wilkie gets an RBI grounder from Yankees' catcher Chad Huffman that allows a run to cross, and gives up a two-out single to Jesus Montero that scores the second runner to single off Strasburg to start the sixth to make it 3-2 Yankees...and the hold on for the win. Strasburg suffers his first loss at Triple-A. In 10 starts and 50.1 IP in 5 GS at Harrisburg and now Syracuse, the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick is now (6-2) with a 1.43 ERA, .157 BAA, 28 H, 12 BB (2.15 BB/9) 14 R, 8 ER allowed 60 K's collected (10.73 K/9).
What's next for Stephen Strasburg? We're about to find out...