WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals’ game Friday night provided a good example of the way things have gone for them during the early part of the season.
On a night when they pounded out 17 hits and posted their most lopsided win, there was still cause for concern.
Bryce Harper drove in a career-high four runs but left early with a jammed left thumb, and Stephen Strasburg pitched seven scoreless innings as the Nationals defeated the Padres 11-1.
“It feels all right. You know, pretty swollen right now, pretty tight,” Harper said.
Harper drove in a run with an infield single in the first and had a bases-loaded triple in the third. After his headfirst dive into third base on the triple, Harper flexed his left wrist.
“I slid into the bag, and I caught it a little bit,” he said of his thumb. “Went into the dugout, swung a couple in the cage, felt fine. Went out to the outfield, it swelled up a little bit. So (up 6-0) I thought we were in a good spot, and (manager) Matt (Williams) did, too, so I got in and got some treatment on it.”
He was replaced in left field
by Nate McLouth to start the fifth inning.
Williams said X-rays revealed no fracture and Harper would be re-evaluated today.
Strasburg (2-2) allowed seven hits and walked two, but struck out 11. He turned in his second straight effective start, lowering his ERA from 5.33 to 4.24.
“I’m just trying to make quality pitches and not necessarily be overaggressive but throwing the heater down the middle and challenge them,” Strasburg said.
San Diego’s Robbie Erlin (1-3) allowed eight runs and 13 hits over 5⅓ innings. He struck out three and walked two.
“It starts with the fastball, because that’s the pitch you are going to throw most often as a starting pitcher. If you’re not locating, you’re going to be in trouble,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “That’s what happened tonight.”
One night after going 0 for 16 with runners in scoring position in a 4-3 loss in 12 innings, the Nationals bounced back by going 7 for 17, including 5 for 7 over the first three innings as they built a 6-0 lead.