Nationals knock out Red Sox behind 1-2 punch of Strasburg, Harper

June 08, 2012

BOSTON (AP) — Stephen Strasburg struck out 13 in six innings, Bryce Harper homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Boston Red Sox 7-4 on Friday night for the franchise’s first victory at Fenway Park.

Harper hit a two-run shot in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth as the club improved to 1-9 at Boston’s iconic home. The Montreal Expos dropped all six of their games there before moving to Washington.

Strasburg (7-1) threw a career-high 119 pitches, including 33 in his final inning when he worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He finished one strikeout shy of his career high of 14, set on June 8, 2010 — exactly two years ago to the day Friday — against Pittsburgh in his major league debut.

Strasburg struck out five straight and seven of eight during a stretch from the third inning to the fifth. He gave up two runs and four hits while improving to 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA in his last four starts.

Boston starter Felix Doubront (6-3) was even better than Strasburg early on, striking out four in the first two innings, but the Nationals got to him for three runs in the third on three hits and a pair of walks. They added three more in the fourth — including a pair on Harper’s two-run shot to straightaway center — while building a 6-2 lead.

Doubront lasted just four innings and was charged with six runs and eight hits, five of them doubles.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his 200th career homer, a solo shot off Ross Detwiler in the eighth, and Daniel Nava delivered an RBI double in the ninth against Brad Lidge to get Boston within three. Washington brought in Tyler Clippard, who got two outs for his sixth save in seven tries.

* Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis was ejected for arguing a called third strike.

Youkilis stomped his foot and pointed toward the plate during a brief argument with umpire Doug Eddings, who tossed Youkilis once his second round of ranting began.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, Strasburg struck out Youkilis with a 96 mph fastball that the hitter thought was low.

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