CLEVELAND -- Sunday was the perfect glimpse into the future for Washington, and it wasn't simply because Stephen Strasburg was nearly unhittable again.
No, the future came in the combination of Strasburg and the Nats' other first-round pick last year, Drew Storen.
Storen, who beat Strasburg to the majors by a few weeks, relieved him in the sixth inning with one out, the bases loaded and the Nationals leading 6-1 Sunday. Storen induced a pop to second from Russell Branyan and then struck out Jhonny Peralta to end the threat.
It was the first time Strasburg and Storen, the Nats' closer of the future, have formed a tag team in the majors.
It should not be the last.
"I think I've blown two no-hitters for him this year [in the minors]," Storen said, chuckling. "Not tight spots like that. Hopefully, that's the first of many to come."
Storen and Strasburg now have been teammates in the Arizona Fall League, Double-A, Triple-A and, now with the Nats.
And while Strasburg is getting about 99.9 percent of the buzz, Storen now has inherited 12 runners and has not allowed any to score.
When he left the bases loaded Sunday, it not only helped preserve Washington's victory, it helped keep Strasburg's ERA low. It's 2.13.
"I was telling him I was probably more fired up for him in his last outing than I have been for myself in any of my outings," Storen said.
Likes: Washington third-base coach Pat Listach getting razzed from the elephant-memoried fans in the stands behind him who still hold a grudge that he won the 1992 AL Rookie of the Year award, when he was playing for Milwaukee, over Kenny Lofton. "A security guy came by and said, 'You know, your Rookie of the Year award is in dispute around here,'" Listach said, chuckling. "It was a long time ago, but these fans here are good. They don't forget anything. ... Paul Hoynes' press box hawk call Sunday. It's a Friday night tradition around here with Hoynes, the long-time beat writer for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, but he was off Friday and Saturday and so Sunday was this week's makeup date. He's been doing it for the better part of three decades now. At one time on Fridays they had a press box pool as to what inning Hoynes would do it. Not sure if that's still the case, but it's one of those cool and quirky moments in baseball that you appreciate -- even if it doesn't carry the Strasburg hype. ...The crawfish etouffee and gumbo at Fat Fish Blue, a downtown Cleveland Cajun joint.
Dislikes: Come on Tom Izzo, stay put at Michigan State. You don't belong in the NBA. You're too good for the NBA.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"It's a long way from Cedar Riverside to Cedar Sinai
"Three times St. Paul to Cheyenne
"And it's a long way from Sacramento too
"We were bored so we started a band"
-- The Hold Steady, The Sweet Part of the City