By Mark Gallagher
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg went 3-for-3 with five RBIs — including a single and a 420-foot home run in one inning — in a 13-4 win over the Braves in Atlanta.
Strasburg became the first Nationals pitcher to drive in five runs in a game and have two hits in one inning. He’s the first pitcher in the majors to homer and record an additional base hit in the same inning since Edwin Jackson did it with the Diamondbacks against the Pirates on April 11, 2010.
But Strasburg, who won the Silver Slugger Award in 2012, said he may have been a little lucky at the plate.
“It’s just how crazy this game is,” he said. “Sometimes you just run into the ball.”
Strasburg led off the third inning with a single to center and scored the Nationals’ first run, tying the game. The Nationals batted around, and when Strasburg came up the second time with two outs and two on, he drove a 92 mph fastball from Touki Toussaint deep to left for his fourth career homer.
The blast was the longest by a pitcher this season and the longest by a Nationals pitcher since the Statcast era began in 2015. Strasburg celebrated by dancing with his teammates in the dugout, but reviews from his teammates weren’t kind.
“Stras isn’t much of a dancer,” first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “Maybe his wedding is the last time he danced.”
In his next at-bat in the top of the fifth, Strasburg picked up his third hit of the night, singling to left to drive in two more runs to give him five RBIs on the night. He had one RBI going into the game, and he had one all of last year.
Strasburg was due to lead off in the top of the seventh, but he couldn’t get through the bottom of the sixth, as his pitch count surpassed 100. He struck out seven Braves over 5⅓ innings while allowing three runs on eight hits.
“Stephen wasn’t as sharp as he could be, but man, he swung the bat really well,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He might be a pinch hitter coming up here for the rest of these games.”