(The Sports Xchange) - Stephen Strasburg allowed just one hit and tied a career high with 14 strikeouts while Bryce Harper homered twice for the Washington Nationals in a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
It was the third successive win for Washington (74-70), who gained ground in the National League East after the New York Mets (83-62) lost to the Miami Marlins.
For Strasburg, it was a strikeout number he had not reached since his highly anticipated debut on June 8, 2010.
For Harper, it was a continuation of his surge for the National League MVP award.
“You appreciate the effort and special talent they both have,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said of the duo of former top overall draft picks. “And it can be that special on any given night.”
Harper went 3-for-3 with a solo homer, two-run shot and an RBI single and raised his home run total to 39, which put him ahead of Colorado’s Nolan Arenado for the National League lead.
Strasburg (9-7) was as excellent during his eight-inning outing as he notched his 19th career game with 10 or more strikeouts and second successive game after he struck out 13 New York Mets on Sept. 9.
Third baseman Cody Asche’s leadoff single in the fifth inning was the only hit against Strasburg.
The Phillies did not have a runner reach second base the entire game, and the only other batter to reach base was shortstop Freddy Galvis, who drew a first-inning walk.
“That’s probably one of the best, if not the best pitched game I’ve seen all year,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said in reference to Strasburg.
Strasburg, who has had two separate disabled-list stints this season, established his fastball early and then worked in his off-speed pitches later to keep Philadelphia hitters off-balance.
“It’s a feel thing,” Strasburg said. “You have to trust your instincts and go out there and battle.”
Blake Treinen completed the one-hitter by throwing a perfect ninth inning.
Harper’s first-inning home run was a solo shot before he hit a single that brought home third baseman Yunel Escobar in the third inning and then a two-run shot in the eighth that also scored Escobar.
“He’s matured as a hitter and as a player,” Strasburg said of Harper.
“When you have a professional approach like he does, you can see what his talent can do.”
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury