Harper, Strasburg push Nationals past Red Sox
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Bryce Harper went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run, three RBI and two runs scored while Stephen Strasburg pitched six innings to help Washington take a 7-4 win over Boston in the opener of a three-game set from Fenway Park.
Strasburg (7-1) gave up just two runs and four with two walks and finished a strikeout shy of his career high with 13. He threw a career-high 119 pitches, 75 for strikes, to win his fourth straight start.
"He's a competitor and when he goes out there he's going to give you his best stuff," said Washington manager Davey Johnson. "He did great tonight against a good hitting ballclub."
Ian Desmond drove in two while Danny Espinosa had two hits, an RBI and two runs scored for the Nationals, who have won four of six.
Felix Doubront (6-3) gave up six runs on eight hits over just four innings of work for the Red Sox, who have dropped four of five. Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo home run and nearly had two in the loss.
"Our hitters battled him all night because he threw a lot of pitches," said Boston manager Bobby Valentine about Strasburg. "But he's a good pitcher and his fastball was alive all night. He's a special pitcher, obviously."
Boston got on the board in the second inning when Mike Aviles hit a two-out double to score David Ortiz and Ryan Sweeney for a 2-0 lead.
It was short lived, though, as Washington answered in the third. With one out, Espinosa walked and Harper followed with a double. Ryan Zimmerman then singled home one and Desmond later doubled to bring in two more for a 3-2 lead.
Boston nearly tied it in the bottom of the third when Gonzalez hit a fly ball to right that went over the wall, but Xavier Nady reached into the bullpen and pulled it out.
Washington added to its advantage in the fourth. Tyler Moore led off with a double and later scored on a ground-rule double from Espinosa. Harper homered later in the inning for a 6-2 score.
Harper singled in Moore, who led off with a single and stole second, in the sixth for a 7-2 game.
Gonzalez led off the eighth with a blast over the center field wall to make it a 7-3 game and Boston got closer in the ninth.
With Brad Lidge on the mound, Aviles grounded out to start the frame, but Nick Punto followed with a walk and took second on indifference. Daniel Nava then followed with a double to left to make it a three-run game.
Tyler Clippard then came on and induced fly outs from Dustin Pedroia and Gonzalez to end the game and pick up his sixth save of the season.
The last time these teams met was in 2009 when Boston took two of three in Washington...Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis was ejected by home plate umpire Doug Eddings for arguing a called third strike to end the sixth inning...Boston left eight men on base.