WASHINGTON — Even though Stephen Strasburg is on a three-game winning streak, his most recent starts hadn’t been especially smooth. On Saturday, he pitched four-hit ball for seven sharp innings to help lead the Washington Nationals over the Atlanta Braves 2-0.
Strasburg (6-1) completed seven shutout innings for the first time in his major league career. He opened the game with a flourish, striking out the first four batters.
Strasburg struck out nine, walked none and threw 90 pitches. Twice he gave up singles and then induced double-
The right-hander allowed multiple baserunners only once – in the third when Jose Constanza doubled and Michael Bourn singled with one out.
“I just expected a little bit too much out of myself and it was kind of getting me away from what I was trying to do, what I wanted to do out there. Today was huge for me to go out there and keep it simple,” Strasburg said.
In his past two starts, both wins, he was pulled after five innings, but Strasburg was so economical with this pitches that manager Davey Johnson thought he could have gone longer.
“He had another inning or two in him,” Johnson said.
Atlanta’s Dan Uggla struck out twice and grounded into a double play against Strasburg. In his previous at-bats against him, Uggla was 6 for 8 with two home runs and seven RBI.
Brandon Beachy (5-4) allowed only three hits in 6⅓ innings. He has lost three consecutive decisions and Atlanta has dropped nine of 11.
“Can’t make mistakes in a game like that and I made far too many of them. I put people on and they’re going to score,” Beachy said. “I just wasn’t locating my fastball again today which leads to me throwing way too many pitches. Bad things happen.”