View Full Version : Bannister outduels Strasburg

06-23-2010, 08:26 PM
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com

06/23/10 7:05 PM ET
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WASHINGTON - Stephen Strasburg looked pretty good, but he wasn't invincible against the Royals on Wednesday.

The Royals dealt the Washington Nationals' pitching prodigy his first defeat, 1-0, in front of 31,913 fans in 93-degree late-afternoon sunshine at Nationals Park. Brian Bannister got the victory, which ended the Royals' five-game Interleague skid.

Strasburg made an instant impression on the Royals, two quick strikes, a foul back, a changeup in the dirt and a 97-mph fastball zooming past Scott Podsednik's swing.

And, when Strasburg struck out Podsednik looking on a changeup in the sixth, he had nine strikeouts in the game and 41 in his rookie season. The latter number established a Major League record for the most whiffs in a pitcher's first four games, passing Herb Score's 40 for Cleveland in 1955.

In between, however, the Royals took a 1-0 lead over the right-handed phenom. After two outs in the fifth, David DeJesus singled and so did Billy Butler. Up came Jose Guillen, who in the second inning had extended his hitting streak to 18 games with the first hit off Strasburg.

This time Guillen rifled a single over second baseman Adam Kennedy's glove to score DeJesus. The flurry ended there, as Alberto Callaspo's liner was caught by a sprawling Roger Bernadina in right field.

That was the only run off Strasburg, who completed six innings and gave up nine hits, all singles. He walked no one, for the third time in his four starts, and of his 95 pitches 75 were strikes.

Bannister, bouncing back after two poor starts, made a great escape in the fifth after the Nationals' Josh Willingham walked and Ivan Rodriguez singled him to third with no outs. But he got three quick outs, the last being Strasburg, who had singled for his first big league hit two innings earlier.

In the sixth, his last inning, Bannister was saved by Guillen's throwing arm. With two on and one out, Guillen fielded Adam Dunn's single and fired to the plate, where Bernadina, running from second base, was called out sliding home. Bannister fanned Willingham to end the threat, and his outing was over after six shutout innings.

Reliever Robinson Tejeda followed with two shutout innings.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

06-24-2010, 10:16 PM
I wouldnt say out dueled. More like survived because the Nationals bats are terrible right now.