In the end, the Nationals right-hander gave up the more costly home run in a critical third inning.
Evan Gattis’ two-run shot was the big offensive play for the Braves, but it was set up by a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error that allowed Justin Upton to reach base. Upton then stole second base when Strasburg was just a moment late in his pickoff attempt to first base.
“It is tough when you are thinking about picking and you hear something,” Strasburg told reporters. “The immediate thing to do is to just throw over there. They timed it. I could have easily stepped off if I was thinking about going home. I was definitely going to pick there. I kind of just went with it and was a little late.”
That left the door open for Gattis and he belted a two-run shot over the left field wall.
“The guy is up there hacking, throwing up at his neck and he tomahawks it out,” Strasburg said. “The previous at-bat I was missing up there a little bit. I decided to go fastball away and I did and he ran into one. You don’t face a guy like that (every day). I don’t really have any book to go off of.”
Strasburg said he tried to take some of the strategies he saw Ross Detwiler employ against Gattis from Friday night.
“I was just watching a little bit of what Ross (Detwiler) did,” Strasburg said. “He kind of went more lateral on him. I think if I was able to spot it down and away first, but I just kept missing on him even from the first at-bat. I think he was able to make the adjustment and he did.”
But after the homer, the Braves weren’t able to score again versus Strasburg and he started to get into a nice groove.
“I think I got more consistent at the end,” Strasburg said. “I wanted to go out there and try and go deep into the ball game. Unfortunately, I threw a lot of pitches early so kind of spoiled that. At least I was able to go out there and get six (innings).”
He finished with just the two unearned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out seven in six innings. Strasburg took the loss to fall to 1-2.