The Washington Nationals hurler helped himself out by scoring the first run of the game in Wednesday's win over the Marlins.
Baseball is a team sport, but Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg didn't need much help during Wednesday's game against the Miami Marlins. The three-time All-Star was sharp on both sides of the ball, smacking a fifth inning home run while throwing nine scoreless frames en route to a 4-0 victory.
The San Diego native was sidelined with a right elbow impingement for around four weeks in July and August, but he looked comfortable in his third start back from the disabled list, striking out eight batters while surrendering just six hits and one walk.
But as impressive as he was on the mound, the game's real highlight was Strasburg's home run off of Adam Conley in the bottom of the fifth inning. Conley hung a fastball over the middle of the plate, and Strasburg responded by launching it into the bleachers in right-center field.
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While he's no two-way star, Strasburg does have a history with the long ball. Wednesday's home run was his second of the season, giving him three for his career, and he won the 2012 National League Silver Slugger Award for pitchers.
Strasburg also deserves credit for shutting down Miami's Giancarlo Stanton. The imposing slugger made four plate appearances and was retired each time, though he did hit one deep fly in the eighth inning. With 51 home runs, Stanton is in hot pursuit of some important single-season milestones, but he ran into a buzzsaw in Strasburg.
"Today was his day," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said of his starting pitcher, according to MLB.com. "For pitching, hitting, getting away with one on Stanton. It was his day today."
Strasburg, the top pick in the 2009 draft, is on pace for the best season of his career, posting a 2.90 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 rate en route to 4.5 Wins Above Replacement. Wednesday's shutout was the second of his career.
Though the Nationals have yet to reveal their probables, Strasburg will likely face the Marlins again in his next start. The NL East rivals kick off another three-game series on September 4.