Stephen Strasburg threw a complete game shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies the last time he faced them, striking out 10 and allowing just four hits and one walk in a 6-0 win in Washington, D.C. The Nationals' 25-year-old right-hander gave up one run in eight innings in his only other start against the Nats' NL East rivals from the city of Brotherly Love this season back on May 26th in the nation's capital, in a 6-1 win, but he hadn't faced the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park since the August 21, 2010 game in which he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that forced him to have Tommy John surgery.
Washington's '09 no.1 overall pick took the mound with a 1-0 lead tonight after Strasburg's fellow Nationals' 1st Round pick Ryan Zimmerman ('05) took Phillies' first-rounder Cole Hamels ('07) deep to the left of center for a two-out solo home run that gave the visiting Nats a one-run lead after a 1/2 inning in CBP. Strasburg missed with a backdoor 2-2 curve to Chase Utley after he struck the first two Phillies he faced out with breaking balls and walked Philadelphia's second baseman with two outs in the home half of the first. Carlos Ruiz was no match for the bender, however, and Strasburg struck out the side in a 21-pitch bottom of the first and got all three batters swinging with curves.
An 18-pitch, 1-2-3 second left Stephen Strasburg at 39 pitches overall after two scoreless tonight with a streak of 11 scoreless innings against Philadelphia going back to his complete game shutout last time out against the Phillies last time out.
Cole Hamels had set seven straight Nationals down after he retired the 8-9-1 hitters in order in a 17-pitch top of the third in Citizens Bank Park that had him up to 42 pitches overall. A 2-2 curve to Roger Bernadina sent the so-called "Shark" back to the bench at the end of the first at bat of his career against the Montreal/Washington franchise that signed and developed him and brought him to the majors. Hamels had no chance of connecting with the 1-2 curve Strasburg dropped on him. Cesar Hernandez's swinging bunt dropped right in front of home and Wilson Ramos picked it up and tagged the non-runner for the final out of a 14-pitch inning that had Strasburg up to 53 after three scoreless.
Strasburg had 12.0 scoreless total vs the Phillies after the third scoreless tonight. Hamels had 10 straight Nationals set down after a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 4th, setting everyone but Ryan Zimmerman down through four innings tonight in Citizens Bank Park. Strasburg's streak of retired batters ended at seven when he walked Jimmy Rollins in the first at bat of the Phillies' fourth after starting up 0-2 on the veteran infielder. Wilson Ramos tried to make a snap throw to catch Rollins off the bag, but somehow hit Chase Utley's bat as the Phillies' second baseman followed through on a swinging strike. The error? allowed Rollins to take second, but Strasburg struck Utley out for the seventh K in 3 1/3. Carlos Ruiz singled in the next at bat, however, for the Phillies' first hit and it brought Rollins in from second to make it 1-1 after four in CBP. 74 pitches for Strasburg after a 21-pitch 4th.
Cole Hamels' streak of retired batters ended at 12 when Wilson Ramos reached on a throwing error by former Nats' infielder Pete Orr, but the Phillies' left-handed starter got the next batter for 13 of 14 set down after Zimmerman's first inning home run. Hamels' 10-pitch fifth inning had him up to just 61 total after five. John Mayberry K'd swinging at a brutal 1-2 curve for out no.2 of the Philadelphia fifth and K no. 8 in 4 2/3 IP by Stephen Strasburg. Roger Bernadina reached safely on a broken-bat infield single with two down, but Strasburg got Hamels swinging with a 1-2 bender to end a 13-pitch inning at 87 overall.
Bryce Harper looked really uncomfortable as he ran out a one-out single to center that was the Nationals' first hit since Ryan Zimmerman homered in the opening frame. Two quick outs later, Harper was stranded at first though after Scott Hairston K'd and Zimmerman flew out to left. 1-1 in the sixth. Stephen Strasburg added a K for 10 total and was at 100 pitches even after a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth in Citizens Bank. Still 1-1 in Philadelphia. Cole Hamels had set 19 of 21 batters in a row down after he retired the Nationals in order in a 10-pitch seventh that had him up to 87 pitches overall.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 Ks, 100 P, 64 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
Drew Storen took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh and walked the first batter he faced, Carlos Ruiz, when he missed inside with a full-count fastball on the eighth pitch of the at bat. The Nationals got a force at second on a Kevin Frandsen grounder to third, but no double play when Anthony Rendon dropped the ball on the exchange. With Frandsen on first, Pete Orr flew out to right for out no.2, and John Mayberry lined back to the mound where Storen stabbed the third out of the frame.
Justin DeFratus took over for Cole Hamels in the top of the eighth. Anthony Rendon connected for his first and the Nationals' third hit of the night with one down. Chad Tracy made a pinch hit appearance with one on and one out, and walked on five pitches. Bryce Harper came up with two on and one out against a new pitcher, lefty Cesar Jimenez, and worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases with one down. Phillies' skipper Ryne Sandberg stuck with Jimenez against Scott Hairston, who fell behind 0-2 but connected with a 1-2 change for a sac fly to center that was just deep enough to score Rendon. 2-1 Nationals after seven and half.
Tyler Clippard got a groundout to second from Roger Bernadina and a pop to short by Darin Ruf for the first two outs of the Phillies' eighth, but issued a two-out walk to Cesar Hernandez. Jimmy Rollins battled Clippard for eight pitches in the next at bat and doubled to end the AB, sending a 2-2 fastball out to right-center and off the out-of-town scoreboard to drive in the tying run. 2-2 in CBP. Clippard walked Chase Utley intentionally to get to Carlos Ruiz, whose RBI single to right brought Jimmy Rollins in from second just ahead of a strong throw in by Bryce Harper. 3-2 Phillies after eight.
Jonathan Papelbon came on to close it out in the top of the ninth. Jayson Werth lined out to right. Ian Desmond sent a dribbler through the right side for a one-out single. Adam LaRoche singled through the right side with one down to send Desmond around to third with one out. Wilson Ramos got up 2-0 on Papelbon, but K'd looking at a 2-2 fastball that appeared to be a bit outside. Anthony Rendon stepped in with two on and two out, and K'd swinging at a 1-2 to bender to end it. 3-2 Phillies final.
Nationals now 69-68