Stephen Strasburg struck out four in five scoreless innings in his return to the Washington Nationals after a yearlong injury layoff.
Strasburg, 23, threw 40 strikes and allowed two hits with 56 pitches in a 7-3 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Nationals Park in Washington last night. The right-hander left the mound with the Nationals leading 3-0.
Strasburg, who signed a record $15 million, four-year contract with the Nationals, had so-called Tommy John surgery to replace a ligament on Sept. 4, 2010, two weeks after he injured his pitching arm in a win over Philadelphia.
Strasburg set a major league record with 41 strikeouts in his first four starts last season and went 5-3 with a 2.92 earned run average and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings.
Strasburg scored his first career run as the Nationals took a 3-0 lead in the second inning. The top pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft reached second base on an error by Dodgers starter Ted Lilly, went to third on Ian Desmond’s single and darted home on Jayson Werth’s groundout.
The Dodgers tied the game with three runs in the sixth inning.
Rain held up the seventh inning for 31 minutes and Rod Barajas hit a two-run double in the eighth to make it 5-3 to Los Angeles. Ethier doubled to add two more runs in the ninth.
Kenley Jansen (2-1) got the win after striking out three in the seventh inning. Henry Rodriguez (3-3), one of six Nationals pitchers, allowed two runs on three hits in one inning for the loss.