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Strasburg sequel surpasses original
Fans seven over six hitless innings in second Triple-A start
05/12/2010 10:38 PM ET
Stephen Strasburg has yielded one hit over 12 innings in two Triple-A starts.
Stephen Strasburg has yielded one hit over 12 innings in two Triple-A starts. (Jim McGregor)
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Stephen Strasburg took the mound after two scoreless innings. On an 0-2 count, shortstop Pedro Lopez misplayed Blake Davis' ground ball for an error.

Strasburg could have let the misstep get to him. He could have let it affect his concentration and alter his focus. Instead, he remained calm, kept his composure and utilized his many tools to get out of the inning unscathed.

"I don't try and change anything," Strasburg said. "When you try and do a little bit more when those types of things happen, you tend to get yourself into more trouble. You need to put it in the past, focus on the next pitch and keep moving forward."

After Carlos Maldonado gunned down Davis trying to steal, Strasburg bore down. He started Adam Donachie off with a 96 mph fastball, then finished him off with a devastating 83 mph curveball that caught him looking.

Major League veteran Joey Gathright was the next victim. With the crowd of 6,702 on its feet anticipating another strikeout, Strasburg threw his hardest pitch of the night. The 98 mph heater painted the inside corner and also caught Gathright looking.

Strasburg (2-0) was brilliant again Wednesday night, striking out seven over six hitless innings, as the Syracuse Chiefs blanked the Norfolk Tides, 4-0.

The 21-year-old phenom again commanded the zone, throwing 55 of 80 pitches for strikes. Aside from Donachie's fly to left field that nearly took Chase Lambin to the warning track, not one ball was hit particularly hard.

Strasburg retired 12 consecutive batters after Lopez's error, then handed the ball to fellow first-round pick Drew Storen.

Gathright, who went 0-for-3 and struck out twice, was impressed with what he saw from the youngster. Blown away might be a better way to put it.

"He's the best first-year pitcher I have seen in my career," Gathright said. "I've seen a lot of great young pitchers, but he's the best one."

It was another overpowering performance for Strasburg, who's becoming nothing short of royalty in the Syracuse community. While the crowd paled in comparison to the 13,766 that attended his Triple-A debut on May 7, it roared whenever he got two strikes on a hitter.

When Strasburg strode to the dugout in the sixth inning, he received a second standing ovation. And his departure coincided with that of hundreds of fans.

The 2009 No. 1 overall Draft pick is set to pitch again on Monday at Pawtucket, though it's undetermined how many more starts he'll get before moving down to the nation's capital.

One thing is certain -- Chiefs manager Trent Jewett is pleased with what he's gotten from his young stud.

"I thought he used both sides of the plate with his fastball, and his changeup was phenomenal," Jewett said. "He's really comfortable with taking on information and putting it into his game. And obviously, there is a huge amount of talent there. But he did exactly what the pitching guys asked him to do. It was great work."

Storen lost the no-hit bid when he gave up a one-out single to Josh Bell in the seventh. But he got Scott Moore to bounce into an inning-ending double play and retired one batter in the eighth before Ron Villone closed it out for Syracuse.

The big blow came in the fifth when Josh Whitesell hit a two-out, bases-loaded triple.

Brad Kallet is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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