Kansas City at Washington

Scoreboard
Kansas City (30-43) «000010000190
Washington (33-40)000000000061

Strasburg sets another strikeout record in loss to Royals

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

WASHINGTON -- Sensational starts from Stephen Strasburg are no longer good enough for the Washington Nationals. The way they're hitting the ball these days, they need him to be just about perfect.

The hard-throwing rookie suffered his first major league loss Thursday, despite another solid outing. He struck out nine to set another record, didn't walk a batter and allowed only one run over six innings in a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

"If we don't score runs," Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said, "it doesn't matter who's pitching."

Strasburg (2-1) was bested by Brian Bannister (7-5), who allowed five hits and walked two in six sparkling innings as the Royals snapped a five-game losing streak. Robinson Tejeda got six outs and Joakim Soria finished for his 17th save.

"I don't care if I ever face him again," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "We gave him his first loss, and I can tell my grandkids 10 years down the road."

So, skipper, how did you beat him?

"I don't want the league to beat up on him. We'll just keep that to ourselves," Yost said with a laugh.

Strasburg showed off his high heat in the high humidity of a sweaty summer afternoon, keeping his fastball in the high 90s despite the 93-degree temperature at first pitch. He got his 41st strikeout in his fourth major league start on the last batter he faced, freezing Scott Podsednik with an 83 mph curveball. That broke a record held by Herb Score, who fanned 40 in his first four major-league starts for Cleveland in 1955.

And, for the third time in four starts, Strasburg never got to ball four on any batter. A stunning 75 of his 95 pitches were strikes.

The right-hander lowered his ERA to 1.78 but allowed nine hits, one fewer than in his first three starts combined. Most were scattered, but the Royals put three together to score with two out in the fifth. Jose Guillen, who reached three times and extended his hitting streak to 18 games, singled in David DeJesus.

"You've got to give them credit," Strasburg said. "They weren't going to give in. They wanted to put the ball in play. They hit it in the spots and just found holes."

Strasburg also reached base as a hitter for the first time, grounding a single into left field in the third inning. The bad news for the Nationals was he accounted for one-sixth of the team's hits.

"They're really trying hard out there. Things didn't go our way today," Strasburg said. "I know there's going to be times when it's going to be like this in the future. And there's going to be times when I'm not pitching well, and they'll just go out there and score a ton of runs and save me. It's baseball."

The Nationals have lost seven of nine, and they've been posting World Cup scores during their slump, including a pair of 2-1s and a now a pair of 1-0s. This time, a baserunning gaffe and a World Cup-type blown call hurt their chances.

In the fifth, Josh Willingham was halfway to home on a groundout to first -- then turned around and went all the way back to third because he didn't see the first baseman bobble the ball. In the sixth, plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ruled Roger Bernadina's sliding foot didn't beat the throw home from right fielder Guillen on a single by Adam Dunn.

The entire ballpark was stunned, and replays weren't needed to back up Bernadina's case.

"I definitely got in," Bernadina said. "My feet were first before he put a hand on me, but the umpire called me out."

It's worth noting that the holiday buzz known as Strasmas might be starting to fade a bit. The attendance was 31,913, some 8,000 short of the sellout that greeted his first two home starts. At least Nationals Park was better prepared for a Strasburg outburst: The scoreboard was altered so that it can register 20 Ks instead of 12, which he surpassed in his debut.

"We're on a nice list for Strasmas this year," said Bannister, taking lighthearted pride in being the first to beat the young phenom. "It's a tough list to get on to."

Notes

  • All 15 hits in the game were singles.
  • Strasburg already held the record for most strikeouts over his first three starts with 32.
  • Bannister improved to 21-8 in his career when pitching in day games.
  • The Royals had 31 hits in the series -- 28 were singles.
  • The Nationals haven't allowed a home run in seven games, the longest such streak since the franchise moved to Washington in 2005.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Stephen Strasburg records his 41st strikeout in his fourth start -- breaking Herb Score's record of 40.  (AP)
Stephen Strasburg records his 41st strikeout in his fourth start -- breaking Herb Score's record of 40. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Bannister
IP 6.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 2
K 4
Kansas City

J. Guillen
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

December 22, 2014
Chargers at Chiefs Preview (2:48)
December 19, 2014
Fantasy Update: Travis Kelce
(0:37)
December 16, 2014
Fantasy Update: Alex Smith
(0:40)
December 16, 2014
Fantasy Update: Albert Wilson
(0:37)
Kansas City Royals
Scott Podsednik, LF5000021 .288
Jason Kendall, C4010000 .256
David DeJesus, CF-RF4120000 .325
Billy Butler, 1B4010022 .324
Jose Guillen, RF4021000 .275
    Mitch Maier, CF0000000 .262
Alberto Callaspo, 3B4010013 .276
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4000023 .267
Chris Getz, 2B4020002 .224
Brian Bannister, P2000022 .200
    Robinson Tejeda, P0000000 .000
   a- Willie Bloomquist, PH1000010 .188
    Joakim Soria, P0000000 .000
Totals36191010  
a-struck out for Tejeda in the 9th
Batting
SH - Brian Bannister (1)
RBI - Jose Guillen (44)
2-OUT RBI - Jose Guillen (18)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jose Guillen 1
DP - Bannister-Betancourt-Butler
Kansas City Royals
Brian Bannister (W,7-5) 6500240 5.29
Robinson Tejeda (H,5) 2100030 3.72
Joakim Soria (S,17) 1000020 2.70
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Bannister 84-48, Robinson Tejeda 21-16, Joakim Soria 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Bannister 8-4, Robinson Tejeda 2-1, Joakim Soria 1-0
Batters Faced - Brian Bannister 23, Robinson Tejeda 7, Joakim Soria 3
Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, CF3000111 .244
Roger Bernadina, RF4010001 .284
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4010021 .286
Adam Dunn, 1B4020001 .278
Josh Willingham, LF3000133 .270
Ivan Rodriguez, C4010011 .313
Adam Kennedy, 2B3000001 .235
Ian Desmond, SS3000022 .251
Stephen Strasburg, P2010002 .167
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
   a- Willie Harris, PH1000000 .151
    Doug Slaten, P0000000 .000
Totals3106029  
a-flied out for Burnett in the 8th
Batting
SB - Roger Bernadina (6, 2nd base off Tejeda/Kendall), Josh Willingham (6, 2nd base off Bannister/Kendall)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Ian Desmond (16, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg (L,2-1) 6911090 1.78
Sean Burnett 2000000 2.52
Doug Slaten 1000010 2.63
Pitches-Strikes - Stephen Strasburg 95-75, Sean Burnett 17-9, Doug Slaten 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Stephen Strasburg 4-6, Sean Burnett 5-1, Doug Slaten 2-0
Batters Faced - Stephen Strasburg 28, Sean Burnett 6, Doug Slaten 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31913
Game Time - 2:30
Temperature - 93
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Brian Runge