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Strasburg strikes out 13 as Nationals beat Red Sox 7-4

Charles Krupa | AP
Charles Krupa | AP
Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia reaches into the stands for an out as he snags a foul by Washington Nationals' Adam LaRoche during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Friday, June 8, 2012, in Boston.
The Associated Press

BOSTON — Stephen Strasburg struck out 13 in six innings, Bryce Harper homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Boston Red Sox 7-4 on Friday night for the franchise’s first victory at Fenway Park.

Harper hit a two-run shot in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth as the club improved to 1-9 at Boston’s iconic home. The Montreal Expos dropped all six of their games there before moving to Washington.

Strasburg (7-1) threw a career-high 119 pitches, including 33 in his final inning when he worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He finished one strikeout shy of his career high of 14, set on June 8, 2010 — exactly two years ago to the day Friday — against Pittsburgh in his major league debut.

Strasburg struck out five straight and seven of eight during a stretch from the third inning to the fifth. He gave up two runs and four hits while improving to 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA in his last four starts.

Boston starter Felix Doubront (6-3) was even better than Strasburg early on, striking out four in the first two innings, but the Nationals got to him for three runs in the third on three hits and a pair of walks. They added three more in the fourth, including a pair on Harper’s two-run shot to straightaway center, while building a 6-2 lead.

Doubront lasted just four innings and was charged with six runs and eight hits, five of them doubles.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his 200th career homer, a solo shot off Ross Detwiler in the eighth, and Daniel Nava delivered an RBI double in the ninth against Brad Lidge to get Boston within three. Washington then brought in Tyler Clippard, who got two outs for his sixth save in seven chances.

Strasburg faltered a bit in the second when he walked David Ortiz to start the inning, Ryan Sweeney hit a two-out single and Mike Aviles doubled off the Green Monster to drive in both runners.

The lead was short-lived.

After striking out in his first at-bat, Harper showed why he’s among the early leaders for rookie of the year when he hit a line drive to center in the third that he stretched into a double.

Danny Espinosa, who was aboard after a leadoff walk, moved to third on Harper’s play and scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s single. Ian Desmond doubled to right-center to put Washington up 3-2.

Espinosa doubled in Tyler Moore in the fourth and scored on Harper’s sixth homer.

Dustin Pedroia singled with one out in the sixth for Boston’s first hit since the second inning, snapping an 0-for-14 slump and getting a loud cheer from Fenway fans who had watched Strasburg strike out batter after batter.

The Red Sox then caught up to Strasburg for a stretch. Gonzalez followed Pedroia with a double off the Green Monster and David Ortiz walked to load the bases with one out. But the right-hander then struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia swinging and got Kevin Youkilis looking on a 96-mph fastball.

Youkilis thought the final pitch was low and furiously argued the call before he was ejected by umpire Doug Eddings.

NOTES: Strasburg also struck out 13 in a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh on May 10. … Friday’s game was the first of 15 straight Washington will play against teams from the American League East, meeting every team three times. … Boston pitching coach Bob McClure was attending to a family matter and not with the team.

YANKEES 9, METS 1: Robinson Cano homered twice and hit one of three straight long balls off an ineffective Johan Santana to lead the New York Yankees to a 9-1 rout of the Mets on Friday night.

Hiroki Kuroda allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings before leaving with a bruised left foot. Cano ended Santana’s bid for a second straight no-hitter with a two-run shot in the second, then connected again in the third to begin a string of three consecutive home runs by the Yankees.

In the first Subway Series matchup of the season, Kuroda (5-6) gave up only a two-out double in the sixth to Omar Quintanilla.

Santana (3-3) was given two extra days of rest after throwing a career-high 134 pitches last Friday against St. Louis in the first no-hitter in Mets history. But he didn’t have it this time, serving up a career-high four homers during New York’s fourth loss in five games

Kuroda’s first appearance in the crosstown rivalry was cut short when Daniel Murphy scorched a liner off the pitcher’s foot, eliciting “oohs” from the crowd of 48,566 — just the second sellout at Yankee Stadium this season. The ball popped up high and was caught by third baseman Alex Rodriguez for the final out of the seventh.

Kuroda limped off the field and down into the clubhouse, followed by several teammates and trainers.

Cody Eppley worked the eighth and former Mets reliever Ryota Igarashi gave up an RBI double to Lucas Duda in the ninth in his Yankees debut before finishing the two-hitter.

With Jose Reyes in Miami, Mariano Rivera preparing for knee surgery and Kuroda on the mound, the start of 16th Subway Series had a different look. The Mets, who slashed $49 million from their payroll last offseason, have a roster full of youngsters participating in their first game between the New York teams.

Sam “The Bugler” Grossman, who will play Saturday at the Belmont Stakes, gave a new take on the national anthem. I’ll Have Another’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch along with the horse’s owner, Paul Reddam, and jockey Mario Gutierrez, but they pulled out after the colt was scratched from making a Triple Crown bid because of injury.

Little else changed, though.

The Yankees tagged Santana at the new Yankee Stadium again, improving to 50-35 against the Mets in the regular season.

After a perfect first inning, Santana walked Rodriguez to start the second, his last two pitches missing badly. Cano lined the next pitch into the right-field seats for the first runs off Santana since May 21, three starts ago. He had a scoreless streak of 19 innings.

Rodriguez singled with two outs in the third. Cano then set off a barrage of long balls in an 11-pitch span with a drive into the second deck in right, again on a first pitch, for his eighth multihomer game.

Nick Swisher followed with a liner to left field and Andruw Jones hit a high-arcing drive to left for a 6-0 lead. It was the first time Santana allowed three homers in a row.

Cano had two tries for a third homer but popped out and grounded out.

There was no need to worry about a pitch count for Santana. He was lifted after five innings, having allowed six runs and seven hits. He threw 86 pitches.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner has given up 19 earned runs in 14 innings and is 0-3 in three starts at the new ballpark in the Bronx.

Kuroda had a poor history against the Mets, going 1-5 with a 5.75 ERA against them with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This time he had the Mets flailing at a slider that fooled lefties and righties. There wasn’t a hard-hit ball until Quintanilla’s double. The most difficult play came after Josh Thole reached on Derek Jeter’s error at shortstop. David Wright broke his bat near the handle, sending much of it spiraling toward Rodriguez, while hitting a grounder to third. A-Rod calmly fielded the ball and started a double play as the bat soared over his head.

Kuroda has made three solid starts in a row, giving up just two runs in 22 innings. This time he struck out seven and walked one.

Swisher had an RBI double and Jones a run-scoring single in a three-run seventh.

NOTES: The previous time the Yankees hit back-to-back-to-back homers was Aug. 28 at Baltimore. … Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain threw off a mound for the first time since hurting his ankle jumping on a trampoline in March. Chamberlain made 25 throws in a batting cage at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, Fla. Chamberlain, also coming off Tommy John surgery, has no doubt he will pitch this season. “Is that even a question?” he said. … The Mets signed first-round draft pick Gavin Cecchini, giving him a $2.3 million bonus. The 18-year-old high school shortstop from Lake Charles, La., was selected 12th overall Monday night.

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