Strasburg fastest to 1,500 Ks, Nationals beat Cardinals 2-1
By HARVEY VALENTINE
WASHINGTON (AP) - Stephen Strasburg reached 1,500 strikeouts in fewer innings than any pitcher in major league history, and the Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 after a long rain delay Thursday to salvage the finale of a four-game series.
Despite the strong performance by Strasburg, the Nationals (13-17) fired pitching coach Derek Lilliquist after the game and replaced him with minor league pitching coordinator Paul Menhart. General manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement moments after the final out.
Strasburg (3-1) lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up a run on six hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. He got opposing starter Dakota Hudson looking in the fifth for his eighth strikeout of the game and the 1,500th of his career - in 1,272 1/3 innings.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Boston left-hander Chris Sale held the previous mark, reaching 1,500 in 2017 after 1,290 innings.
Sean Doolittle struck out pinch-hitter Paul Goldschmidt with the bases loaded to end the eighth, then finished for his fourth save.
Hudson (2-2) allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in six innings. Kolten Wong hit an RBI single and Yairo Munoz had three hits for St. Louis, which had won five straight.
The teams combined for 14 hits, all singles.
The Nationals scored twice in the fourth without an RBI.
Howie Kendrick came home when Munoz committed a throwing error from shortstop on Yan Gomes' grounder, and Matt Adams scored from third when Brian Dozier grounded into a double play.
The start was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 32 minutes.
Cardinals: RHP Luke Gregerson (shoulder impingement), who threw to seven batters during a pregame batting practice session Wednesday, came out of it fine, according to manager Mike Shildt. ... OF Dexter Fowler (illness) was better Thursday and Shildt was hopeful Fowler would be available off the bench after missing two games.
Nationals: RF Juan Soto (back spasms) was a late scratch for the second straight game but was available to pinch hit. . Manager Dave Martinez said SS Trea Turner (broken finger) could begin swinging the bat this week. . INF Carter Kieboom, who was 3 for 22 since his major league debut, was given a day off.
St. Louis had runners on first and second with no outs in the third before Gomes picked off Matt Wieters at second base from behind the plate. Hudson then sacrificed Munoz to second and the Cardinals settled for one run on Wong's single.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (3-1, 4.06 ERA) pitches when the Cardinals open a three-game series Friday at the Chicago Cubs. Flaherty has not allowed a run in 12 innings this season during day games.
Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 5.82) starts when the Nationals open a three-game series in Philadelphia on Friday night. Hellickson pitched six shutout innings against the Phillies on April 10.
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