Strasburg overcomes rough first inning to blank Marlins over six


I’m starting to wonder when a Stephen Strasburg start will no longer be a must-see event. We’re not quite there yet.

Strasburg improved to 4-2 by tossing six shutout innings in a 4-0 win over the Marlins on Friday night. We’ve seen the young phenom struggle in the first inning a few times already and that pattern continued on Friday, as Strasburg walked two and threw a wild pitch in a 34-pitch opening frame. He managed to wiggle his way out of any damage and actually settled down quite nicely from there, holding the Fish to just four measly singles while striking out seven.

He was pulled after throwing a major league-high 99 pitches, 63 of them for strikes. It was the first scoreless outing of his major league career.

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Steve Dorsey of that he was impressed by how Strasburg bounced back after a rough first inning.

“There’s been three or four times where in the first inning he’s been up
in the 30s in pitches, which is kind of a little agonizing for
everybody because we want him to be able to go six or seven innings,”
Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “But he really regrouped and
became a very tough challenge for the Marlins tonight. They had some
great at-bats against him in the first couple of innings, and as Stephen
has done before, he just got tougher and tougher as the game went

Strasburg now has a 2.03 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over his first eight big league starts. He already leads the Nationals with 68 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings. 

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.