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Indians Face Strasburg Looking For Weekend Sweep

(Sports Network) - The Washington Nationals hope that one day Stephen Strasburg can take them to the next level. Today, though, they will settle for a win, as the right-hander makes his second big league start, trying to help the Nationals avoid a sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians in the finale of a three-game at Progressive Field.

Perhaps the most hyped pitcher to ever enter the league, Strasburg more than lived up to his billing on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out 14 batters without issuing a walk, while consistently throwing in the 97-99 mph range and even reaching 100 mph a few times.

Strasburg's strikeouts were the most in a major league debut since J.R. Richard fanned 15 for Houston in 1971, and tied Detroit's Max Scherzer for most in any game this season.

"Everything was a blur. At one point I lost track of how many innings I threw. It's kind of like when you get married. You go into it wanting to remember everything and once it's done you can't remember a single thing," Strasburg said. "I just wanted to go out and have fun...It was a great experience."

He fanned the final seven batters he faced and his only true mistake was serving up a two-run homer to Delwyn Young in the fourth inning.

"The biggest challenge is understanding a lot of these hitters are very advanced, are professionals, but I've really learned not to give them too much credit," Strasburg said.

Today he faces an Indians team that ranks near the bottom of the American League in runs with 258, but one that has won the first two games of this interleague set and four in row overall.

On Saturday, Carlos Santana finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, including his first career home run, and Fausto Carmona notched his second complete game of the season in Cleveland's 7-1 win.

Russell Branyan went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and scored twice for the Indians, while . Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner and Luis Valbuena each added an RBI.

Carmona (5-5) evened his record by scattering three hits and one run, fanning seven without a walk to post his first victory since May 12.

"It was the most dominant performance from one of our pitchers," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta of Carmona. "One guy over the minimum (through seven), he threw over 70 percent of his pitches for strikes. He set the tone for us."

Ryan Zimmerman's homer was the lone run for the Nationals, who had won three in a row heading into this series.

J.D. Martin (0-2) was tagged in defeat for nine hits and seven runs -- six earned -- with three strikeouts in 7 2/3 frames.

Countering Strasburg today will be lefty David Huff, who is 2-7 with a 5.46 ERA. Huff was charged with the loss on Tuesday against Boston, despite surrendering three unearned runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss.

This will be his first-ever start against the Nationals.

The Nationals took two of three from the Indians the last time these teams met back in 2007.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.