CLEVELAND - The Stephen Strasburg traveling circus and revival meeting pulled up stakes and left town Sunday afternoon. He threw hard and won going away, but he didn't last real long.
The Indians made him throw a lot of pitches, 95 in 51/3 innings, but still lost 9-4 to Washington to end their four-game winning streak. They did make some money, drawing 32,876 fans to Progressive Field.
It was the Indians' second biggest gate of the year next to the April 12 sellout against Texas.
When Strasburg hit 99 mph on his first pitch, an "oooooh" when through the crowd.
"Strasburg showed that power arm, and we were impressed by the breaking ball," said manager Manny Acta. "That was the most impressive thing because we knew the velocity was there."
Kerry Wood, who was Strasburg in 1998 as a rookie with the Chicago Cubs, watched him closely.
"He's got tremendous stuff," Wood said. "He has command of a couple off-speed pitches, which is huge for a young guy with his kind of arm. It was impressive."
After Travis Hafner hit a 100-mph pitch over the right-field fence in the second inning to make it
1-1, there were a lot fewer triple-digit fastballs from Strasburg (2-0) and a lot more 83-85 mph curves and changeups.
Through five innings, the Nationals led 2-1 thanks to Adam Dunn's leadoff homer in the fourth.
Strasburg struck out eight but walked five. The Indians, however, couldn't score against him besides Hafner's homer. Their best chance came in the fourth when rookie Carlos Santana and Hafner drew consecutive walks. Strasburg struck out Austin Kearns and Russell Branyan to end the inning.
Washington took control with four runs in the sixth after David Huff (2-8, 5.82) retired the first two batters. Ivan Rodriguez hit a two-run double, and Ian Desmond added a two-run triple.
Strasburg's biggest problem was the Progessive Field mound. The grounds crew came out in the fifth and sixth innings to fill in his landing spot in.
"I was just slipping a little bit," Strasburg said. "I wish I would have handled it a little better. It got me into a bit of a funk."