As advertised: Nationals' Strasburg dazzles in debut

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the baseball game against the Pittsburg Pirates in Washington, Tuesday June 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

June 9, 2010 4:40:42 AM PDT
It took Nolan Ryan 27 seasons to strike out a major league-record 5,714 batters. If Stephen Strasburg continues the strikeout pace he set in his major league debut Tuesday night, he'll break Ryan's record sometime during his 13th season.

Strasburg lived up to the hype and anticipation in his major league debut Tuesday night, striking out 14 over seven innings of the Washington Nationals' 5-2 win over Pittsburgh. He struck out the side in the third, sixth and seventh innings. He whiffed the last seven Pirates in order and left after fanning every member of the Pirates' starting lineup at least once. By the time Strasburg completed his 94-pitch performance, he had limited the Bucs to a pair of runs, four hits and no walks.

It's the most strikeouts by a pitcher in his major league debut since J.R. Richard fanned 15 for Houston against San Francisco in September 1971. It's also the most by a Nats pitcher since the team moved from Montreal after the 2004 season.

Strasburg trailed 2-1 after serving up Delwyn Young's two-run homer in the fourth inning. It remained 2-1 until Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham belted consecutive homers to put the Nats ahead 4-2 in the sixth.