Final: Nationals 7, Red Sox 4: Red Sox threaten and nearly claw back against the Nationals bullpen, but the night belongs to the young guns. Stephen Strasburg had 13 strikeouts on 119 pitches and 19-year-old Bryce Harper was a triple short of the cycle with 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored.
Thanks for reading. We'll be back tomorrow with Gio Gonzalez vs. Dice-K.
Bottom 9th: Nationals 7, Red Sox 4: The Sox get one off a Nava double, but Tyler Clippard comes on to close the door with flyouts by Pedroia and Gonzalez to center.
Top 9th: Nationals 7, Red Sox 3: A couple nice defensive plays behind Andrew Miller for the Sox, including a barehanded pickup at third by Middlebrooks to nail Morse. Middlebrooks replaced Youk upon his ejection.
Brad Lidge on to close for the Nats.
Bottom 8th: Nationals 7, Red Sox 3: Adrian Gonzalez pulls the Sox within three, blasting his 200th career homer to lead off the inning.
Top 8th: Nationals 7, Red Sox 2: Scott Atchison gives up a leadoff single to Nady then induces flyouts from Moore and Flores, and a groundout to second from Espinosa.
Six outs left for the Sox, down four runs.
Bottom 7th: Nationals 7, Red Sox 2: Pedroia cranks one to deep right on a 3-2 count with Aviles (walk) and Nava (single) on, but it just stays in. Detwiler gets through scoreless. Although no Sox struck out this inning.
Top 7th: Nationals 7, Red Sox 2: Nationals threaten with a leadoff double by Zimmerman, but can't muster any more.
Ross Detwiler on to pitch for Washington.
Bottom 6th: Nationals 7, Red Sox 2: Strasburg gets Youkilis looking on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded. Youk didn't agree, and got ejected. Sandwiched around a Pedroia single, a Gonzalez double and a walk to David Ortiz, Strasburg struck out the side. Again.
Good news for the Sox, Strasburg will be done after 6.0 innings and his pitch count up to a season-high 119.
Top 6th: Nationals 7, Red Sox 2: Bobby V removes Albers after consecutive strikeouts in favor of the lefty Rich Hill to face Harper. Harper promptly singled home Moore, who had singled, but got caught between first and second. Washington puts one more up on the board. Strasburg out for the sixth.
Bottom 5th: Nationals 6, Red Sox 2: Things are getting absurd at Fenway. Strasburg has struck out seven of the last nine batters he has faced. Six of those were swinging. Four were on curveballs. Sox go down in order, and have in every inning except the second.
Top 5th: Nationals 6, Red Sox 2: Albers keeps things steady in relief, getting LaRoche, Desmond and Nady in order.
Strasburg out for the fifth, his pitch count up to 72. He's averaging 92 pitches per game this season.
Bottom 4th: Nationals 6, Red Sox 2: Strasburg strikes out the side swinging. All three were on curveballs.
Doubront is done after four. Matt Albers enters the game.
Top 4th: Nationals 6, Red Sox 2: Things are unraveling for Felix Doubront. Harper launches a homer to deep center, right by the 420-foot sign, that followed doubles from Moore and Espinosa. Doubront has allowed five doubles on the night.
Bottom 3rd: Nationals 3, Red Sox 2: Nady robs Gonzalez of his 200th career homer, reaching over the bullpen wall in right to end the inning. Strasburg gets through the third clean after striking out Nava (looking) and Pedroia (swinging). Strasburg has fanned each twice tonight.
Top 3rd: Nationals 3, Red Sox 2: Putting runners on base finally catches up with Doubront, who allowed three hits and walked two in the inning. He struck out LaRoche looking and had Desmond 0-1 with a chance to strand the bases loaded, but Desmond ripped a double, his second hit of the night. Doubront still left runners on second and third when Nady grounded out to short, minimizing the damage.
Update on Daniel Bard's AAA start:
Daniel Bardís control problems continued in his first start for Triple A Pawtucket.
In what was a planned one-inning stint, Bard hit two batters and allowed three runs against Indianapolis at McCoy Stadium.
Bard hit Chase díArnaud, who then stole second. Gorkys Hernandez singled to right. Bard then hit Starling Marte to load the bases.
Jeff Clement grounded to shortstop, forcing Marte at second as a run scored. Bard then struck out former teammate Yamaico Navarro before Jeff Larish doubled to center, driving in two runs.
Bard then finished the inning by striking out Brandon Boggs. He threw 25 pitches, 15 of them strikes. Bardís fastball did hit 96 m.p.h.
Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, Nationals 0: Sox on the board against Strasburg. Aviles cranks a two-out double off the Monster that scores Ortiz, who walked, and Sweeney, who singled. In his last four starts including tonight, Strasburg has given up two runs in the second inning three times. His pitch count is also up to 42, which bodes well for Boston.
Top 2nd: Nationals 0, Red Sox 0: Saltalamacchia turned the wrong way after a wild pitch got by him that brought Desmond, who singled up the middle, to third. But Doubront once again strands a runner in scoring position, setting Nady and Moore down swinging.
Bottom 1st: Nationals 0, Red Sox 0: Side goes down in order versus Strasburg: Nava swinging on a 91-mph changeup, Pedroia swinging on a 99-mph fastball (after seeing a 100-mph heater earlier in the at bat) and Gonzalez popping out to third.
Top 1st: Nationals 0, Red Sox 0: Espinosa led things off with a stand-up double off the Monster, so there goes the no-hitter. Doubront settled down after, getting Harper swinging on a curveball, Zimmerman to ground out to third and Morse looking on another curve.
Now, it's Stephen Strasburg time.
Pregame: Alex the Intern here, bringing you live updates for tonight's interleague series-opener with the Nationals at Fenway. Ace Stephen Strasburg (6-1, 2.35 ERA) will take the mound for first-place Washington (32-23). Felix Doubront (6-2, 3.75 ERA) gets the start for the Red Sox (29-28).
As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.