For a team that can’t hit, these Nats sure can hit.
The offense came alive in support of an electric Stephen Strasburg, who struck out 13, and the Nationals (33-23) scored seven runs en route to a 7-4 series-opening victory over the Red Sox in Boston.
Strasburg started off a bit jittery, allowing two runs in the second inning, but quickly settled into his groove and proceeded to mow down the Sox for six innings. His final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 13 K, and the win to move to 7-1. Ross Detwiler pitched the seventh and eighth, and Brad Lidge came in for the ninth in his first game back from the DL. However, after allowing one run and putting a runner on second while recording only one out, Lidge was pulled in favor of Tyler Clippard. Clippard then ended the threat by getting Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez to pop out, earning him the save.
The Nationals’ offense came out strong to back Strasburg up. After falling into a 2-0 hole, the Nats scored 3 runs in the top of the third with a Ryan Zimmerman RBI single and an Ian Desmond two-run double. The onslaught continued in the fourth, with a Danny Espinosa RBI double and a two-run homer from Bryce Harper that would soon spell the end for Boston starter Felix Doubront, who allowed 6 ER in only 4 IP. The Nats added a seventh run with an RBI single in the top of the sixth from Harper, who fell a triple short of the cycle.
Champ of the Game: Harper, who spurred the offense by going 3-5 with two runs scored and 3 RBI.
For the Red Sox, Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the 8th after getting one robbed in the 4th, but also popped out to end the game.
Chump of the Game: Michael Morse, who went 0-4 with 2 Ks and has yet to find his groove after returning from the DL.
For Boston, Doubront dug them a hole they could not climb out of.
Unsung Hero: Espinosa, who got on base in three of his five plate appearances, serving effectively in the leadoff spot.
Mike Aviles drove in the first two runs off of Strasburg, but that double was his only hit of the game.
Next Game: June 9th in Boston. Gonzalez (7-2, 2.34) vs. Matsuzaka (0-0, 0.00)