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Huff matched Strasburg through five innings, but gave up four runs in the sixth on Ivan Rodriguez's two-run double and Desmond's two-run triple.
Strasburg came out firing.
His first pitch -- a 99 mph fastball to leadoff hitter Trevor Crowe -- stirred the crowd, which reacted to the radar-gun posting with a collective gasp of excitement. He fanned Crowe and Shin-Soo Choo, giving him nine consecutive strikeouts over two games.
In the second, Hafner tied it at 1 with a laser shot into the Nationals' bullpen.
"With a guy like that, you have to look fastball," Hafner said. "He obviously has great stuff. He's really good."
Strasburg then retired Austin Kearns on a fly, fanned Russell Branyan and locked up Jhonny Peralta with an 83 mph changeup.
He ran, well, walked, into trouble in the fourth. After striking out Choo again, he issued the first two walks of his career. However, showing poise beyond his years, he responded by getting Kearns to flail at a low fastball and whiffing Branyan for the second time.
"He's amazing," catcher Rodriguez said, patting Strasburg on the shoulder. "He's a great teammate. His patience is tremendous. He's going to be fine."
Before he took the mound in the fifth, Strasburg summoned plate umpire Brian O'Nora for a look. The right-hander pointed to a rough spot and three members of the grounds crew added dirt and tamped the landing area seemingly to the satisfaction of baseball's new star.
He gave up his second hit, a broken-bat single to Santana in the sixth, then stumbled on a delivery to Hafner. He kicked the red clay in frustration after yielding his fourth walk and asked for further mound maintenance. As the workers were dispatched, Strasburg heard his first big league boos.
"When it comes to something like that, you could slip one time and roll an ankle and be out for a few weeks," Strasburg said. "The umpires were concerned about it, and they stepped up and got it right."
In the second, Santana learned a valuable lesson in his third major league game: Don't take your eyes off Dunn.
Santana was flattened near home plate by the 6-foot-6, 287-pound first baseman. Santana moved to his left to possibly catch an overthrow to first when he inadvertently stepped into the path of Dunn, who hit him so hard he did a backward somersault.
"It was a freak play," Dunn said. "He wasn't looking at me and I wasn't looking at him."
NOTES: According to Elias Sports Bureau, only one pitcher since 1900 has had more strikeouts before issuing his first career walk than Strasburg, who fanned 19 before walking Santana in the fourth. Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto struck out 22 before his first walk in 2008.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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