The much anticipated debut of Stephen Strasburg was well received in Atlanta. 42,889 fans made their way out to Turner Field and carried an excited enthusiasm that made the game feel like a playoff atmosphere. Most fans came just to catch a glimpse at the Nationals right hander who has been dominating in his first few starts in the Major League.
The Turner Field crowd became extra excited once the Braves chased Strasburg from the game with a five run outburst in the seventh inning. The Braves had an opportunity to put a run on Strasburg early but Josh Willingham gunned down Melky Cabrera at the plate.
More after the jump.
Through six innings, Strasburg was as good as advertised showing a blistering fastball and a devastating curve/slider. His final line was not as impressive as his performance: 6.1 innings 6 hits allowed 4 runs (3 earned) 7 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Braves starter Tim Hudson had to feel like the forgotten man in this match up but he came into the game with a sterling 7-3 record and left the game with his 8th win and looking like a lock for the All Star Game in July. Hudson pitched seven innings of shut out baseball while allowing only 5 hits. He struck out 6 Nationals while walking 3. In the process of gaining his 8th win Hudson also lowered his ERA to 2.37.
The seventh inning saw the Braves do a little bit of everything. A lead off walk, a sacrifice fly, a clutch hit, and a safety squeeze. Brian McCann and Yunel Escobar each had two hits on the night. Chipper Jones extended his hitting streak to eleven games and has raised his average to .257 in the process.
Overall it was a fun night at Turner Field. While attendance has been up most of the year it was nice to see an enthusiastic crowd for the Braves. Due to a New York Mets loss the Braves also picked up a game in the standings and now lead the Eastern Division by a game and a half.
The series will resume on Tuesday night with Derek Lowe on the mound for the Braves who will be looking for his tenth win of the season. The Nationals will start Craig Stammen. Game time is set for 7:10 ET.