Harrisburg Senators manager Randy Knorr insists all of his starting pitchers are the same. But the Altoona Curve issued special media credentials Sunday when Stephen Strasburg made his much-anticipated Minor League debut.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 Draft dazzled an overflow crowd of 7,887 at Blair County Ballpark, reaching 100 mph on at least one radar gun and getting the win as the Harrisburg Senators beat the Curve, 6-4.
"I definitely was super excited," Strasburg told MLB.com. "There was a lot of anticipation for this outing."
Strasburg threw 82 pitches over five innings, with his fastball routinely sitting between 97-98 mph. He mixed in some breaking stuff and threw an occasional changeup, striking out eight and walking two.
Strasburg was a little shaky at the outset as Alex Presley doubled and scored on a base hit by Miles Durham with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. But the lanky right-hander retired the next seven batters, fanning five.
"At the beginning, Stephen was a little anxious," Knorr said at a postgame press conference. "And once he settled down, he threw the ball very well."
Errors in the fourth by Senators second baseman Michael Martinez and center fielder Leonard Davis led to three unearned runs as Jose De Los Santos and Curve pitcher Rudy Owens delivered RBI singles.
Strasburg helped himself with an opposite-field RBI double, then scored to cap Harrisburg's three-run fifth. The Senators grabbed the lead an inning later on Bill Rhinehart's two-run double, enabling Strasburg (1-0) to record the victory.
Erik Arnesen came on to start the sixth and closer Drew Storen, who was drafted by the Washington Nationals nine spots behind Strasburg last June, retired all four batters he faced to notch the save.
"Obviously, as a baseball player, you'd like to say that you're playing at the highest level possible," Strasburg told media after the game. "But right now, there's things that I need to work on and there's things that I need to improve on and I'm going to focus on that right now. And hopefully my time comes soon."