Strasburg homers Nats to win over O's

Strasburg homers Nats to win over O's
May 20, 2012, 8:51 pm
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Game in a nutshell: Desperately in need of a win after dropping three straight, the last two to the Orioles, the Nationals dug themselves into another early hole, down 3-0 after a series of defensive miscues. Then Stephen Strasburg took matters into his own hands. Not to mention his bat. With a fourth-inning bomb into the left-field bullpen, Strasburg delivered his first career home run and sent the crowd of 41,918 into a frenzy. The right-hander also turned things up a notch on the mound, retiring the last 10 batters he faced, seven via strikeout, to improve to 4-1 for the season and send the Orioles back up the B-W Parkway with a lopsided loss.Hitting highlight: Sure, Bryce Harper's two-run triple was nice. So was Jesus Flores' solo homer. And so was Danny Espinosa's two-run homer. But who are we kidding here. The hitting highlight of the came from none other than Strasburg, who electrified the crowd with his fourth-inning homer into the left-field bullpen. Even more amazing: Strasburg's blast came on an 0-2 curveball from Wei-Yin Chen. Even more amazing than that: He took about five minutes to circle the bases. Even more amazing than that: He never smiled once, at least not until his curtain call.Pitching highlight: We've already given Strasburg plenty of praise. How about some love here for Tom Gorzelanny, who bridged the gap between the Nationals' starter and the back end of their bullpen with two scoreless innings of relief? Gorzelanny retired six of seven batters faced, the only "mistake" a two-out walk to No. 8 hitter Luis Exposito. It's a thankless job, but it was of vital importance this afternoon.Key stat: Today's crowd of 41,918 brought the Nationals' season attendance to 628,615. That's a 38 percent increase from attendance last year at this time, roughly 8,000 extra fans per game. The only major-league clubs with a larger increase this season: the Marlins and Tigers.
Up next: No break from a really tough stretch for the Nationals. They open a nine-game road trip Monday, all against NL East rivals. The trip begins at 7:05 p.m. Monday in Philadelphia, with Gio Gonzalez facing Kyle Kendrick before what should be a raucous crowd at Citizens Bank Park.