BOSTON – Two of baseball’s youngest stars made memorable debuts at the game’s oldest field.
Stephen Strasburg struck out 13 in six innings, Bryce Harper homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Boston Red Sox 7-4 on Friday for the franchise’s first victory at Fenway Park.
“It’s an unreal experience, coming in and playing for the first time at Fenway,” said Harper, the Las Vegan who had three hits and three RBIs. “It was so much fun. They just have a great fan base and it’s just great to play here.”
Harper hit a two-run homer in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth.
He admitted to being a little jittery before the game. Fenway is 100 years old this season. Harper isn’t quite 20. But he played like a veteran, dusting himself off after striking out in the first inning and helping the Nationals to three-run rallies in the third and fourth innings.
Strasburg settled down after allowing two runs in the second inning and tied his season high for strikeouts while throwing a career-high 119 pitches.
“You don’t want to go out there and throw that many pitches through six innings, but sometimes they’re just going to make you work,” he said.
Strasburg (7-1) needed 33 pitches to get out of his final inning when he worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He finished a strikeout shy of his career high of 14, set on June 8, 2010 – exactly two years ago to the day Friday – against Pittsburgh in his major league debut.
The Montreal Expos went 0-6 at Fenway before the club moved to Washington. The Nationals had been 0-3 in Boston.