End of game: Capps sets down his former team 1-2-3 in the ninth to preserve the win for the rookie. 5-2 Nats victory. Well the Pirates certainly went with the script tonight as they struck out 16 times (14 by Strasburg). If you can believe it, Strasburg was as advertised and lived up to all the hype tonight. I can just imagine what people are predicting for him in Washington. He was pretty super tonight even throwing strong heat (97-99MPH) in the seventh inning. I think the most impressive thing for him tonight was when he got to a couple of full count and 3-1 count at-bats, he had the confidence to fire away and still blow it by the hitters and ended up walking none. Incredible. Let’s see how he does when he’s not facing the Pirates lineup though. At least the Bucs didn’t completely embarrass themselves and get shut out as they were able to hold a lead into the sixth inning. That’s all I got. Live blog is over.

End eighth: The Nats load the bases with no outs, but only get one run on a GIDP. 5-2 Nats and here comes Capps to try to close it out. Ugh.

Mid eighth: Wait a minute…Dunn just hit an opposite field single?? This truly is a night for firsts. This may not even be a save opportunity for Capps once the bottom of the eighth is finished.

9:06PM: I just realized unless the Pirates do something here in the eighth to generate some offense, they are going to get to face their former closer Matt Capps. Oh irony!

End seventh: About 90 percent of the country just realized Strasburg is out of the game and turned the channel once they figured out this was suddenly just a game between the Nationals and Pirates and nothing special going on anymore.

8:55PM: It’s official. Strasburg’s night is done. His line looks like this: 7.0IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, zero walks and 14 strikeouts and most likely a victory. No walks and 14 K’s—pretty incredible to live up to the hype for this game. Keep in mind this is the Pirates offense he faced tonight. They’re tied for the worst hitting team in the majors with a .237 average coming into tonight. Still though, it was an amazing performance.

Mid seventh: Wow. This is getting ridiculous. Strasburg strikes out the side again for his seventh consecutive strikeout. He’s one away from the rookie record, but I would have to believe his night is done considering he’s near 100 pitches. The Pirates hitters will be glad to see the bullpen come rolling in here.

End sixth: Baseball Reference is already on top of Strasburg’s 11 strikeouts. The most strikeouts in a debut was 15 strikeouts. Not bad, kid. But Strasburg’s night isn’t done yet as the Nationals bring him out to start the seventh.

8:40PM: Well that’s the end of the line for Karstens following the back-to-back home run by Willingham. Evan Meek coming on in relief. 4-2 Nats.

8:35PM: See what I mean? My intuition could just feel that coming on. Adam Dunn hammers a Karstens offering into the second deck in right field. 3-2 Nats.

Mid sixth: Strasburg’s fastball-changeup combo will be a dangerous tandem for National League hitters. Walker and Milledge had no chance in the top of the sixth. Something tells me the Pirates aren’t scoring any more runs, and something also tells me they probably won’t hold this lead very much longer. That’s just my pessimistic Pirates mentality.

End fifth: The Pirates broadcast made an interesting statement earlier about this being one of the most hyped regular season games in more than 25 years. Boy that seems a bit of a stretch. One-game playoff games count as regular season games so I would say those, maybe opening day when baseball returned after the strike? Just throwing a couple out here.

Mid fifth: The bottom of the Pirates order is awful with backup catcher Jason Jaramillo in there. Strasburg has eight strikeouts through 5. Yawn, he’s also losing which is more important. I find it funny how there’s so much importance and attention placed on just this game, but his next start will just be another game with much less attention. As if we are supposed to see something great just because it’s his first start in the majors. He’ll pitch better games later this season.

End fourth: Who knew there could be excitement in this game even when Strasburg isn’t pitching? Milledge mows down Josh Willingham at home plate for a double play and the third out to keep the score at 2-1. I’m kind of surprised they sent Willingham at all since the ball wasn’t too deep. Bottom of the order up for the Bucs…this should be bad.

Mid fourth: Delwyn Young was quoted before the game as saying jokingly: “Never seen people excited to see the Pirates in town.” Young just hit a two-out, two-run homer off Strasburg. 2-1 Pirates. Strasburg has been a little wild, working behind in a bunch of counts and Young made him pay with a big hit. Nationals Park is suddenly quiet.

7:55PM: UH OH! Walker doesn’t give a damn about this Strasburg hoopla as he and Milledge hit back-to-back singles.

7:52PM: ESPN has to be pretty pissed they weren’t able to televise this game and lost out to MLB Network. What are they countering with? Only about the 11th Sportscenter of the day.

End third: The crowd would have went bonkers if Strasburg’s first at-bat was a hit, but thankfully Ronny Cedeno rebounded to make a nice play to nail him at first. Still 1-0 Nats. Will the Pirates get to Strasburg in the fourth?

Mid third: One time through the lineup and I’m not feeling it for the battling Bucs. They are striking out two times per inning and Strasburg’s adrenaline seems to be charged up. Hey, now he gets to hit too!

7:31PM: So Strasburg is 21 years old and his battery mate Pudge Rodriguez is what…about 65? Pudge signed with the Rangers on July 27, 1988…Strasburg was just seven days old. Ridiculous.

Mid second: Well at least the Bucs won’t be no-hit tonight. Four strikeouts through two innings. Nationals fans must already think he’s a bust since he hasn’t struck out every batter he faced. They seriously expect him to win every single time out. Might be just a bit high on the realistic expectation bar.

7:20PM: Pretty impressive at-bat against Garrett Jones falling behind 3-0 before striking him out on the next three pitches. Good Lord do people in Washington know baseball? Every pitch Strasburg throws as a ball is heavily booed…even if it’s way outside.

Who had Andy LaRoche in your office “first hit off Strasburg” pool? You just won!

End first: The Pirates announcers were just building up the other starter in Jeff Karstens and how well he’s pitched this year and about two seconds later, Ryan Zimmerman homers to center. Nice one, guys. Hopefully that won’t be all they need in this one.

Mid first: A 1-2-3 inning for the rookie. McCutchen had the best hit off him, but lined it to short. Walker grounded out and former National Lastings Milledge struck out to end the inning. Speaking of which, does Washington want Milledge back by any chance??

7:08PM: 75 percent of the country just said “who in the hell is Neil Walker?” out loud. And Walker promptly grounds to first for the second out.

7:04PM: Well MLB Network just blacked out for me since I’m in the Pittsburgh viewing area, so it looks like I’m stuck with the Pirates announcers again. I was actually looking forward to hearing what some of the national guys said about the Pirates, but that was until I saw Bob Costas as the play-by-play man tonight. I guess if you really want to over hype something, Costas is a good way to do it. I’m surprised he was able to pull away from his busy schedule of preparing for the next Olympic Games to call this game. First pitch coming in seconds.

This was definitely a last-minute decision on my part, but I figured tonight’s game was big enough to make my live blog debut. I wouldn’t have done the live blog if it was just Stephen Strasburg making his ML debut, but since he’s facing my hometown Pirates I figured what the hell. I mean it’s not everyday that the Pittsburgh Pirates are on national freaking television…actually I couldn’t tell you the last time they were on the national stage. Such is the life of a Pirates fan. Anyway, I’ll be updating probably every half inning or more when it calls for it. Five minutes till first pitch…here we go.

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