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Stephen Strasburg dazzles, racks up 15 Ks in Washington Nationals' 3-0 win

By David Driver, The Sports Xchange
Stephen Strasburg dazzles, racks up 15 Ks in Washington Nationals' 3-0 win
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws a pitch. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg entered this season with the goal of going deeper into games and limiting his pitch count, with an objective of getting quick outs on groundballs.

With that in mind he now throws out of the stretch all of time, hoping to repeat his delivery and be around late in the game.

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While the goals remain the same, the right-hander kept ringing up the strikeouts on Saturday, finishing with a career-high 15 punchouts in just seven innings while allowing three hits in a 3-0 victory by the first-place Washington Nationals over his hometown San Diego Padres.

"I can't really worry about whether they are going to put (the ball) in play or not," said Strasburg, who threw 108 pitches. "I'm trying to make pitches and attack the strike zone."

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The outing was even more impressive as Strasburg escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and needed 27 pitches to get the first three outs.

"You have to keep grinding," he said. "Obviously if another inning or two happens like that again I wouldn't be able to go as deep."

The hapless, last-place Padres have now collected just six hits while fanning 28 times the last two days. It was the first shutout of the season for the Washington pitching staff, which now has a 4.15 team ERA a day after starter Max Scherzer fanned 13 batters and also gave up just three hits.

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"I mean they're two really good pitchers," said San Diego second baseman Cory Spangenberg, who was 0-for-3. "You can't take them for granted. When you do get your pitch against these two guys you can't be fouling it back like we have. You need to be able to hit those ones. We've been a hit or two away each night so just got to keep on going and hopefully those hits come."

Strasburg (6-1) fanned 14 batters in his major league debut in 2010 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and again in 2015 at the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Matt Albers pitched a perfect eighth for the Nationals and Koda Glover worked the ninth for his fifth save.

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Strasburg also scored the first run. He led off the third inning with a single and went to third on a double by Jayson Werth.

Bryce Harper then hit a grounder with one out to first baseman Yangervis Solarte, who instead of trying to get the out at first threw home while sprawled on the ground. Strasburg scored as Harper reached on a fielder's choice.

Washington's Michael A. Taylor added some insurance as he blasted a two-run homer off starter Clayton Richard (3-6) in the sixth to make it 3-0.

"Unfortunately it's a different game if I execute pitches there in the sixth. Going into the seventh, eighth, and ninth down one run is a lot different than down three so it's disappointing to have not executed there to keep us a little closer," Richard said.

Taylor has four homers in his last 14 games, and Richard allowed three runs and 10 hits in six innings.

"I'm looking for my pitch and staying in my zone," Taylor said. "I'm not trying to do too much."

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Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Taylor had two hits each for Washington.

Wil Myers was not in the starting lineup for the second day in a row for the Padres, as Solarte made the start at first. Myers is hitting .265 with 11 homers but is 6-for-35 of late.

San Diego manager Andy Green said Myers was available to pinch-hit but the right time didn't materialize.

"We had him on the ropes in the first inning," Green said of Strasburg. "We weren't able to cash in on it. You are not going to win baseball games punching out that much."

NOTES: Washington 2B Daniel Murphy was out of the lineup because of illness, according to bench coach Chris Speier. Murphy did not play Friday. ... Speier is filling in this weekend for manager Dusty Baker, who attended the high school graduation of his son, Darren, on Saturday in California. ... The Padres brought up OF Franchy Cordero from Triple-A El Paso and sent OF Manuel Margot to the 10-day disabled list with a strained right calf. Cordero pinch-hit with two outs in the seventh inning and struck out swinging at 95 mph fastball in his major league debut. ... Washington RF Bryce Harper made news off the field. He was one of several Washington players who headed out to youth baseball games Saturday morning before the Nationals played at 4:05 ET against the Padres. Harper, according to The Washington Post, told young players in the northwest quadrant of the nation's capital: "No participation trophies, OK? First place only." ... Washington RHP Joe Ross (2-0, 5.32 ERA), a former minor leaguer with the Padres, will face San Diego RHP Jhoulys Chacon (4-4, 5.74) on Sunday.

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