WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 to win a fast-ballers’ duel with newbie Chris Archer, Joel Peralta managed to pitch without having his glove inspected, and the Washington Nationals snapped a four-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Strasburg (9-1) won his sixth consecutive start by allowing five hits and two runs over seven innings while throwing 111 pitches, the second most in his career, while Tyler Clippard picked up his 10th save. The Nationals needed all the pitching they could get — because the lineup didn’t produce a hit after the first inning.
Strasburg was just a bit better than Archer (0-1), who faced the minimum over his final five innings after surviving a rough start in his major league debut. The final line for the 23-year-old right-hander: three hits, three runs, one earned run, seven strikeouts, one walk and a wild pitch.
Also effective was Peralta, who didn’t get a chance to pitch Tuesday night because he was thrown out of the game for having pine tar on his glove, setting off a series of testy exchanges between Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon and Washington counterpart Davey Johnson.
Peralta is likely to be suspended by Major League Baseball, but he remained eligible to pitch Wednesday while the league office continued its investigation. He entered the game with one out in the eighth inning and was soundly booed by the Nationals fans. He retired the two batters he faced.
Maddon didn’t like the fact that Johnson used inside information to catch Peralta, who pitched for the Nationals in 2010. On Wednesday, Maddon said Johnson’s move broke unwritten baseball rules and called it “an attempt to indicate a higher form of baseball intellect.”
On a summer solstice evening hot enough to melt tar off any surface, Strasburg and Archer brought the heat. Strasburg’s fastball clocked in the high-90s on the radar gun, Archer’s in the mid-90s, both besting the 93 on the thermometer when the game began.
Archer, a fifth-round draft choice by Cleveland in 2006, became the first pitcher to start for the Rays who wasn’t drafted by the team since Matt Garza on Sept. 30, 2010 at Kansas City — ending a major-league record streak of 232 games.
Archer gave up a double to Steve Lombardozzi to start the game, then an RBI single to Bryce Harper. Harper scored on a throwing error by shortstop Elliot Johnson, and Ryan Zimmerman later scored on a two-out single by Ian Desmond.
Jose Molina’s home run got the Rays on the board in the second, and Tampa Bay picked up another run in third on Hideki Matsui’s RBI single.
NOTES: Tampa Bay missed a chance to tie the major league record for consecutive road interleague wins. They fell one shy of the streak of nine set by the Seattle Mariners in 2006-07. … Rays OF Matt Joyce sat out with a tight back. He had to leave Tuesday’s game in the fifth inning when the back tightened up. … Tampa Bay formally placed RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation to make room for Archer.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.