Strasburg sets strikeout mark, but calf cramps in no-decision vs. Reds

CINCINNATI - Right-hander Stephen Strasburg didn't finish his usual six or more innings in a rain-delayed start Saturday. But of more concern was what looked like a leg injury during a Reds comeback in the sixth inning.

The Reds won the game 6-3 on a late three-run shot by Adam Duvall, sending the Nationals to only their fourth series loss of the season.

Manager Dusty Baker revealed that Strasburg suffered from a cramp in his calf during the Reds rally.

"He says he's had it before when he gets dehydrated a little bit," Baker said. "We're just glad that it's not a calf strain or a calf pull. They just think it's a cramp. They're working on him in the training room. He'll get back on it."

Strasburg said he felt it come on after allowing a two-run shot to Joey Votto, which turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit.

Stephen Strasburg gray front close.jpg"Just got real dehydrated out there and just tried to stay hydrated, drinking a lot of water and stuff knowing it was going to be a hot one but just kind of grabbed at me a little bit," Strasburg said. "Got some treatment on it and it feels fine."

Strasburg stayed in the game after he first felt the soreness, striking out Brandon Phillips. But when Jay Bruce singled, Baker took Strasburg out.

"He was kinda short-legging it," Baker said. "You could sorta see it. It's kinda self-explanatory. He was grabbing it and rubbing it, so it was time to go. I think he had 90 pitches, so he was pretty close to his limit anyway. It was just time to take him out."

Strasburg received treatment postgame. Baker said he can't guess on how bad the cramp was and if it will bother Strasburg the next few days.

"I don't know, man. I'm not a doctor," Baker said. "All I know is they were massaging it and trying to get the cramp out of there. If anybody ever had a cramp, it's quite painful and kinda leaves when it wants to leave. He'll be alright. He'll be fine. He says he's had it before. Just gotta keep him hydrated in his next start."

Strasburg finished with 10 strikeouts in the no-decision. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits with two walks. It was the sixth 10-plus strikeout game of the season for Strasburg, the 27th of his career.

Strasburg struck out nine batters through five innings, becoming the first Nats pitcher to reach 1,000 career strikeouts. The record-setting punchout was to pitcher Dan Straily to end the fifth frame.

"It's great, great to get the ball I guess," Strasburg said. "But it seems like I have a few balls that have pitchers as strikeouts on there, so I don't know, maybe I'll just save the milestones to have a pitcher on there."

Danny Espinosa tied the game for the Nationals with a solo homer in the eighth.

But following another rain delay, this one of 64 minutes, Duvall cranked a three-run shot off Shawn Kelley to lift the Reds to a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the inning.

Kelley said he wasn't distracted on his pitch to Duvall with two men on.

"Those runners didn't mean anything to me with two outs, it was getting that hitter," Kelley said. "That was the only job. And if you get him, strikeout, popout, groundout, whatever, you are out of the inning. So I was focused on the hitter and didn't execute the pitch."

Espinosa said it was a strange game with the pair of rain delays and then having his homer to tie it go by the wayside the very next half inning.

"It's tough. The rain delays are always tough," Espinosa said. "It seems like every year we get a lot of rain throughout the season. I feel like it's something this team is kind of used to. We get rain year-round. It's something both teams have to deal with and today we just didn't come out on top."

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