The highly anticipated bow of the 2009 first-overall draft pick was everything the Nationals had hoped for and then some, as Strasburg used a blazing, tailing fastball and an assortment of devastating off-speed pitches to baffle the Pirates.
A sellout crowd at Nationals Park cheered on Strasburg (1-0) as he finished his initial outing with a flourish, fanning all three batters in the seventh. He ended up allowing two runs on four hits, walking none and striking out 14, a club record.
Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham socked back-to-back homers in the sixth and Ryan Zimmerman added a solo shot for Washington, which won for just the second time in seven games.
Matt Capps pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to record his major leagues-best 19th save.
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens (1-2) was touched for four runs on nine hits over five innings and Delwyn Young hit a two-run homer in the Pirates' defeat.
Thomas, 89, who covered the White House for decades, made her comments during an interview that later was posted online.
Thomas wrote for United Press International for more than a half-century and later for Hearst newspapers, covering every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama.