WASHINGTON -- Amid the dazzle of the ongoing MLB Draft, the Nationals saw one of their most acclaimed selections extend a franchise record Friday night.Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 Draft, did not look like himself early. But he retired the final 14 batters he faced
WASHINGTON -- Amid the dazzle of the ongoing MLB Draft, the Nationals saw one of their most acclaimed selections extend a franchise record Friday night.
Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 Draft, did not look like himself early. But he retired the final 14 batters he faced and gave Washington seven solid innings in a 9-6 victory over the Phillies. The big right-hander improved to 10-0 after recovering from the rocky start, allowing a homer and four runs on five hits in the first 2 1/3 innings. After that, he gave up nothing -- literally.
He improved his franchise-record (Nationals/Expos) winning streak to 13 games with the victory. He hasn't lost since Sept. 13, 2015, and the 13 consecutive victories ties Walter Johnson (1924) and Stan Coveleski (1925) for the third-longest winning streak in D.C. baseball history. The Nationals have won 16 of his last 17 starts.
The shaky start didn't affect Strasburg much. He allowed two runs in the second and then surrendered a two-run homer to Tommy Joseph in the third that gave the Phillies a 4-0 lead. After that, the final 14 batters went down -- seven by strikeouts as Strasburg fanned at least 10 (with only one walk) for the seventh time this season.
"Just kept focusing on execution and just got a little better as the game went on," Strasburg said. "I wasn't going to change my approach. I was just going to keep pounding away and keep them there."
The Nationals then scored two runs in the third, fourth and fifth plus another in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Washington hits well when Strasburg pitches, having scored 89 runs in his 13 starts this year.
"We gave him some run support, which always helps," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "After [the four runs], I mean, he got very determined not to give up any more. He goes out there and works hard, and he does his job."
Joseph, who homered later in the game off Felipe Rivero, said Strasburg is difficult to both figure out and hit.
"He's a hard-throwing guy," Joseph said. "He doesn't have any sort of pattern. He does a good job of throwing backwards, throwing forwards, doing a lot of different things along those lines."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington.