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Strasburg strikes out 9, Nats top Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Even though Stephen Strasburg is on a three-game winning streak, his most recent starts hadn't been especially smooth. On Saturday, he threw freely and easily, pitching four-hit ball for seven sharp innings to help lead the Washington Nationals over the Atlanta Braves 2-0.

Strasburg (6-1) completed seven shutout innings for the first time in his major league career. He opened the game with a flourish, striking out the first four Braves batters.

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Strasburg struck out nine, walked none and threw 90 pitches. Twice he gave up singles and then induced double-play grounders.

The right-hander allowed multiple baserunners just once -- in the third when Jose Constanza doubled and Michael Bourn singled with one out.

"I just expected a little bit too much out of myself and it was kind of getting me away from what I was trying to do, what I wanted to do out there. Today was huge for me to go out there and keep it simple," Strasburg said.

In his last two starts, both wins, he was pulled after five innings, but Strasburg was so economical with this pitches that manager Davey Johnson thought he could have gone longer.

"He had another inning or two in him," Johnson said.

Less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Strasburg is on a strict innings limit, and Johnson is cutting them when he can.

Strasburg would have liked to pitch longer.

"I felt like I was getting stronger as the game went on, so it's tough, but it's his call," Strasburg said.

"He's back. I don't think he ever left. In his mind, he left," Johnson said.

Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla struck out twice and grounded into a double play against Strasburg. In his previous at-bats against him, Uggla was 6 for 8 with two home runs and seven RBI.

"He was electric. He's always electric, but today he was hitting his spots, had his curve ball going, his changeup was nasty," Uggla said.

Johnson said he heard Uggla grousing about Strasburg's stuff, but he couldn't repeat what he said.

"It was obvious he wasn't going to give him anything today," Johnson said.

Sean Burnett gave up two singles in a scoreless eighth and Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in fifth chances.

Brandon Beachy (5-4) allowed just three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He has lost three straight decisions and Atlanta has dropped nine of 11.

"Can't make mistakes in a game like that and I made far too many of them. I put people on and they're going to score," Beachy said.

"I just wasn't locating my fastball again today which leads to me throwing way too many pitches. Bad things happen.

The game was scoreless when Flores led off the fifth by hitting a drive into the left-field bullpen for his second home run of the year.

In the seventh, Beachy was pulled with one out after Danny Espinosa walked. Espinosa stole second and Chad Durbin walked Flores.

Both runners moved up on a wild pitch from Jonny Venters that hit catcher Brian McCann, forcing him to leave with a bruise near his left knee. McCann said he had to leave because he couldn't get down on his knees.

Espinosa scored on pinch-hitter Xavier Nady's double to right.

Notes

  • McCann was replaced at catcher by David Ross, who hadn't played since May 25 with a strained right groin.
  • Washington RF Michael Morse made his season debut after missing nearly the first two months of the season with a strained back muscle. He grounded out to short in all four at-bats.
  • Johnson said that C Wilson Ramos would miss the rest of the season because doctors were unable to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus at the same time. When doctors repaired the meniscus, they thought the ligament needed time to heal and the ACL surgery will have to wait.
  • Washington RHP Brad Lidge (sports hernia) says he'll have three rehab appearances next week for Class A Potomac.
  • Atlanta SS Andrelton Simmons made his major league debut. He was 0 for 3.
  • Braves RHP Tommy Hanson (5-4, 3.84) will pitch against Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.04) on Sunday.
 
Copyright 2015 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.
 
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Stephen Strasburg pitches four-hit ball for seven sharp innings and strikes out nine in the Nationals' win. (US Presswire)
Stephen Strasburg pitches four-hit ball for seven sharp innings and strikes out nine in the Nationals' win. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Washington

J. Flores
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Washington

S. Strasburg
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 0
K 9
 

Related Video

Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF4010012 .298
Martin Prado, 3B4000012 .325
Brian McCann, C3010010 .248
    David Ross, C1000010 .217
Dan Uggla, 2B4000031 .262
Freddie Freeman, 1B3000020 .253
Jason Heyward, RF3010000 .234
Andrelton Simmons, SS3000001 .000
Brandon Beachy, P2000020 .125
    Chad Durbin, P0000000 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Diaz, PH1010000 .273
    Cristhian Martinez, P0000000 .000
Jose Constanza, LF3020000 .462
Totals31060011  
a-singled for Venters in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jose Constanza (1, Strasburg)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jose Constanza 1
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brandon Beachy (L,5-4) 6.1322461 1.87
Chad Durbin0000100 5.12
Jonny Venters 0.2100010 3.54
Cristhian Martinez 1000000 3.90
WP - Jonny Venters (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Beachy 115-73, Chad Durbin 5-1, Jonny Venters 14-9, Cristhian Martinez 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Beachy 5-7, Jonny Venters 1-0, Cristhian Martinez 2-1
Batters Faced - Brandon Beachy 25, Chad Durbin 1, Jonny Venters 3, Cristhian Martinez 3
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Stephen Lombardozzi, LF4000012 .308
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
    Rick Ankiel, CF0000000 .230
Bryce Harper, CF-RF2010202 .278
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000002 .240
Adam LaRoche, 1B3000110 .282
Michael Morse, RF4000002 .000
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
Ian Desmond, SS3010010 .265
Danny Espinosa, 2B2100121 .217
Jesus Flores, C2111110 .268
Stephen Strasburg, P2000010 .350
   a- Roger Bernadina, PH0000000 .230
   b- Xavier Nady, PH-LF1011000 .155
Totals2724257  
a-announced for Strasburg in the 7th
b-doubled for Bernadina in the 7th
Batting
2B - Xavier Nady (3, Venters)
HR - Jesus Flores (2, Beachy)
RBI - Jesus Flores (9), Xavier Nady (5)
SB - Danny Espinosa (6, 2nd base off Durbin/McCann)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Desmond-Espinosa-LaRoche, Desmond-Espinosa-LaRoche
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Stephen Strasburg (W,6-1) 7400090 2.35
Sean Burnett (H,7) 1200000 0.57
Tyler Clippard (S,4) 1000020 2.78
Pitches-Strikes - Stephen Strasburg 90-59, Sean Burnett 18-13, Tyler Clippard 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Stephen Strasburg 8-2, Sean Burnett 2-1
Batters Faced - Stephen Strasburg 23, Sean Burnett 5, Tyler Clippard 3
Game Information
Attendance - 41042
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - D.J. Reyburn, Third Base - Jim Wolf