Stephen Strasburg was unhittable through the first six and two-thirds innings on Sunday afternoon against the Cincinnati Reds. Strasburg left the game with two outs in the seventh inning with the no-no still in tack after throwing his 109th pitch of the game.
Strasburg hadn’t started a game since June 15 as he has been on the disabled list due to an upper back strain. That did not matter in his return.
The Reds were stifled by a returning Strasburg who was brilliant all day. With the win, Strasburg remains without a blemish in the loss column as he improved to 11-0. He becomes the first National League starter to start a season 11-0 since Andy Hawkins did it for the San Diego Padres in 1985. He is just the sixth NL pitcher in the modern era to start 11-0.
He became the fourth player to start a season 11-0 in his first 15 starts. The last three to do it; Max Scherzer in 2013, Roger Clemens in 1986 and Ron Guidry in 1978. All three went on to win the Cy Young award.
The Nationals and Strasburg agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May and now that deal is looking to be worth every single penny.
Danny Espinosa led a fireworks-like display at the play the day before Independence Day. He connected for two home runs, including his second grand slam of the series. The two homers were hit on each side of the plate. He finished the four-game series with five home runs and 15 RBIs. The Reds had one home run as a team in the series.
The Nats exploded for six home runs in the game led by Espinosa’s two. Bryce Harper connected for his 17th home run of the season in the fifth inning. Catcher Wilson Ramos is continuing to excel in his contract season, hitting his 13th home run of the season. Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew also went deep in the 12-1 rout.
Washington lost the team no-hit bid in the top of the eighth when Ramon Cabrera singled. That inning, reliever Matt Baslisle gave up all three Cincinnati hits and the lone run.
With the win, the Nats reached the 50-win plateau. They are now 50-33 and 7-3 in the last 10 ballgames. Washington leads the New York Mets by five games in the NL East. They became the fourth team to reach the mark this season.
Washington had a quick turnaround as they played host to the Milwaukee Brewers for on a fourth of July matinee.
The Nats wouldn’t have give Max Scherzer the same type of run support that Strasburg received. Washington fell 1-0 to the Brewers, courtesy of Martin Maldanado’s homer in the fifth inning. It would be the 21st home run surrendered by Mad Max this season, Washington’s bats were silenced as they took their 34th loss of the year.