SPORTS

Nats' Strasburg impressive in return from surgery

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg allowed two hits over five scoreless innings Tuesday night in his first major league start since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Strasburg last took the hill on Aug. 21, 2010. (Photo: Associated Press)

His workload carefully monitored, Strasburg threw 56 pitches, 40 for strikes. He struck out four and his fastball peaked at 99 mph.

Strasburg left with the Nationals leading 3-0, but he was handed a no-decision when the Dodgers tied it in the top of the sixth.

The 2009 No. 1 overall draft pick wowed the baseball world last year during his rookie season. Those magical days of "Strasmus" came to an abrupt end when his elbow popped in a game at Philadelphia on Aug. 21, and his long road back began when he had ligament replacement surgery last Sept. 3.

Strasburg received a long standing ovation as he made his way from the bullpen to the dugout shortly after the national anthem. The crowd was sparse as the game began because of daylong rains that had threatened to postpone his much-anticipated comeback.

Strasburg made six minor league rehab starts this year, going 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA with 29 strikeouts and three walks.

However, after Strasburg left with the Nationals leading 3-0, the bullpen couldn't hold on. Andre Ethier had four RBIs, including a two-run single in the sixth that tied the score at 3 and a two-run double in the ninth. Rod Barajas gave Los Angeles a 5-3 lead in the eighth on a two-run double off Henry Rodriguez.

Nationals batters struck out 17 times as Los Angeles closed out a 7-3 win.

Strasburg last pitched on Aug. 21, 2010, when his elbow popped in a game against Philadelphia. He had ligament replacement surgery on Sept. 3 and made six minor league rehab starts this year, going 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA with 29 strikeouts and three walks.

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