WASHINGTON (AP) - Stephen Strasburg hit his first major league home run and struck out eight in five innings to carry the Washington Nationals past the Baltimore Orioles 9-3 Sunday.
Strasburg sent an 0-2 pitch from Wei-Yin Chen into the Baltimore bullpen in the fourth inning to put the Nationals ahead 5-3. After dusting off his home run trot and returning to the dugout, Strasburg responded to a curtain call by waving to the crowd of 41,918.
The hard-throwing Strasburg singled and scored in the third inning, then followed a shot by Jesus Flores with one of his own in the fourth.
Known more for his pitching than his hitting, Strasburg (4-1) excelled at both. The right-hander allowed three runs, one earned, four hits and a walk in his first career appearance against Baltimore. He retired the last 10 batters he faced.
Since returning from elbow ligament replacement surgery last September, Strasburg is 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 14 starts.
Danny Espinosa also homered, and Bryce Harper drove in two runs and scored three to help the Nationals avert a three-game sweep by their regional rivals.
Chen (4-1) yielded six runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings for his first major league loss. The Taiwan native was vying to become the first Baltimore starter to begin his Orioles career with five straight wins since Jimmy Key in 1997.