Whenever you see Stephen Strasburg’s name on the lineup sheet, you expect that you’re going to see him have a good showing out on the mound. On Thursday night against the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals got more than they bargained for, however, as he not only delivered with his arm but also with his bat. He ultimately would give up three earned runs over five and a third innings pitched, but it was his bat that helped lead his team to the win. He went 3 for 3 from the plate, smacking a home run in the third inning that drove himself and two others in. Curiously enough, it was the second time he had gotten a hit in the frame, an amazing statistic in and of itself. Strasburg is, and never has been, a slouch at the plate, mind you. He won the Silver Slugger in 2012 for being the best hitting pitcher that year, so it’s no shock to see him do well at the dish. It’s just a surprise to see him do this well. The Nationals would go on to win 13-4 in the end, rollicking the Braves in the first game of a four-game set. They are now 5.5 back of them after handing the current NL East leaders their third ‘L’ in a row.
After an eventful first round of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, there is a surprising name atop the leaderboard in J.B. Holmes. The American leads in a major championship for the first in 11 years here at -5, and despite that has got to be considered an outsider to take home the Claret Jug come Sunday. Still yet, his 66 in tough conditions was excellent, and in links golf you just never, ever know. The big stories of Thursday’s opening round centered around much higher scores. Rory McIlroy’s awful quadruple bogey to begin play was bad, but former Open champion David Duvall made a 14 on one hole on the way to a 91. Tiger Woods had a rotten day, though not nearly that bad, by shooting a 78 and looking well and truly lost currently. Irishman Shane Lowry is in solo second at -4, while a host of players finished at -3, including Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, and Tommy Fleetwood.
Just when the Tampa Bay Rays looked like they were making up some of the gap in the AL East, the New York Yankees have clipped their wings. That kept up on Thursday as the Yankees won both games of doubleheader to assert their dominance and push their division lead to eight games once again. The afternoon affair was perhaps the most newsworthy. After a slow start in which the Rays had a 2-0 lead thanks to a couple of homers in the first, Aaron Boone was tossed for throwing profane barbs at an umpire. That only served to wake his team up, as the tied it up immediately and then would add four more runs later to seal up the game. In the nightcap, they also would win, by a 5-1 score, underlining how much of a threat they will be to anyone that dare face them.