Stephen Strasburg left tonight’s start with an as-yet-undisclosed issue after just two innings and 35 pitches, and the Washington Nationals’ bullpen did what they could as the Nats tried to claw their way back into the series opener with the San Francisco Giants after the visiting team jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
The Nationals got within one, at 6-5 after six, but a three-run seventh by the Giants gave them some breaking room in the first of three for San Francisco in D.C., 9-5 final.
Juan Soto hit his third home run of the season, a two-run opposite field blast in the fourth, Bryce Harper singled to drive in two runs in the fifth, and Matt Adams hit an opposite field RBI single in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough.
Strasburg leaves start vs the Giants after 2.0 IP: Stephen Strasburg’s last outing ended after 6 2⁄3 innings, when his left hand cramped up on him.
“When you get those cramps like that, they’re not going to go away,” Davey Martinez said after what ended up a 4-0 loss to the Braves on the road in Atlanta’s SunTrust Park.
“He did well, he had  pitches at that point, so I said, ‘Hey, it’s good. You’re good. You did really well. So let’s get you out.’ And he didn’t want to come out.
“But I said let’s get you out and we’ll get you ready for your next start.”
Back home in the nation’s capital tonight, Strasburg, who took the mound with a 4.05 ERA, a 4.17 FIP, and a .204/.269/.411 line against in 40 innings at home this season, fell behind early as Andrew McCutchen crushed a high 2-2 fastball and hit a two-out home run to left-center in the top of the first. 1-0.
Pablo Sandoval lined a 96 mph 2-1 fastball to left field to lead off the Giants’ half of the second, doubling for the sixth time in 2018, and a ground ball to the right side by Alen Hanson brought Sandoval around to make it 2-0 over the Nationals. Hanson scored on Hunter Pence’s double to center, 3-0.
Strasburg was up to 35 pitches after two, and he never looked comfortable on the mound, rolling his right shoulder/neck after a couple pitches, and getting hit hard before he ended up leaving the outing after the second.
More info on what the issue was for Strasburg after Davey Martinez speaks to reporters following tonight’s game...
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 35 P, 24 S, 0/0 GO/FO.
Suarez vs the Nationals: Washington’s Nationals actually drafted Andrew Suarez in the 2nd Round of the 2014 Draft, 57th overall, but the left-hander didn’t sign.
“We couldn’t come to an agreement on his value,” Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo explained that year.
“We had a value in our minds, he had a value in his mind, and the numbers just didn’t work.”
“’They said they were just going to offer me slot [value]. I wasn’t going to sign for slot,’” Suarez told the Miami Herald that summer.
‘I wasn’t going to sign for slot, and we didn’t agree in negotiations. And that was it, pretty much.’”
The 57th overall pick was assigned a slot value of $987,800 that season.
One year later, he was selected in the 2nd Round again, by the Giants, and he signed with San Francisco. He took the slot value of $1,010,100.
Suarez made his major league debut earlier this season, and took the mound tonight (2-4) in eight starts with a 4.74 ERA, eight walks, 47 Ks, and a .271/.309/.470 line against in 43 2⁄3 IP, coming off a start against the Phillies in which he threw seven scoreless innings.
After giving up leadoff single in the first tonight, the 25-year-old left retired ten straight to get through 3 1⁄3 scoreless before Anthony Rendon snapped that streak with a one-out hit.
One out later, Juan Soto hit a 93 mph 2-2 fastball from Suarez out to left for an opposite field, two-run blast, 6-2 Giants.
Fun Fact: Juan Soto is 19. pic.twitter.com/CHsDtWpTMM— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 9, 2018
Singles by Wilmer Difo and Adrian Sanchez and a walk by Trea Turner loaded the bases with one out in the Nationals’ fifth.
Bryce Harper singled on a first-pitch slider from Suarez to bring two in and end the lefty’s night with the score 6-4 Giants.
Andrew Suarez’s Line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 85 P, 51 S, 2/4 GO/FO.
BULLPEN ACTION: Shawn Kelley tossed a scoreless, 18-pitch third after taking over on the mound for Strasburg.
Wander Suero got the call in the fourth, and gave up a leadoff triple by Alen Hanson, and a one-out, two-run home run by Gorkys Hernandez, who hit a 1-1 curve over the high wall in center field for a two-run blast that made it 5-0 Giants at that point.
Brandon Crawford doubled to drive in a run in the fifth, sending a fly to left that Juan Soto couldn’t get to, 6-2, but Suero held it there and was up to 44 pitches after two innings.
It was 6-4 Giants in the fifth when Reyes Moronta took over with runners on first and second and Anthony Rendon due up, but Rendon sent a fly to center and Mark Reynolds popped up to foul territory off third to end the rally.
Justin Miller tossed a quick, nine-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the sixth after the Nationals rallied to get within two.
Former Nats’ reliever Mark Melancon took over for the Giants in the bottom of the sixth, and gave up a Michael A. Taylor double off the out-of-town scoreboard.
Wilmer Difo took a fastball from Melancon to the knee to put two on, and one out later, Matt Adams hit an opposite field single to get the Nationals within one, down 6-5 after six.
Brandon Kintzler was the Nats’ fifth pitcher, and he gave up a double to right by Joe Panik and a single by Buster Posey that put runners on the corners with no one out. McCutchen lined out to short for the first out of the frame, but a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, and an RBI single by Sandoval ended Kintzler’s night, 7-5.
Matt Grace gave up a bases-loaded sac fly and an RBI single by Hunter Pence, 9-5 Giants.
Grace tossed a scoreless top of the eighth. Sam Dyson retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the inning.
Tim Collins threw a quick, 1-2-3 top of the ninth, but the Nationals came up empty against Will Smith (not Jaden’s dad I’m told) in the bottom of the inning.
Final Score: 9-5 Giants
Nationals now 35-26