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Bryce Harper rounds the bases after hitting his sixth career homer in the fourth.
Hitting highlight: How can you not go with the kid? Harper talked before the game about how psyched he was to stand in the same batter's box as Ted Williams. Then he went out and put on an offensive display that would have made Teddy Ballgame proud. Harper doubled in the third, crushed a homer near the 420-foot sign in deep right-center in the fourth and then singled in another run in the sixth. Most amazing: He recorded all those hits against left-handers. The 19-year-old is now batting a robust (.366, 15-for-41) against lefties. Pretty impressive, no?
Pitching highlight: Strasburg's entire evening deserves praise, but let's focus on the bottom of the sixth, maybe the biggest inning he's yet pitched in the big leagues. With his pitch count rising to levels he had never experienced before, the right-hander was allowed to stay in the game and face Jarrod Saltamacchia and Kevin Youkilis with the bases loaded. And what did Strasburg do? He struck out both guys, getting Saltamacchia swinging at a curveball and Youkilis looking at a (borderline) 3-2 fastball at the knees. That last K came on Strasburg's 119th pitch of the night, 11 more than he had ever thrown in a professional game.
Key stats: Before Harper, the last visiting 19-year-olds to homer at Fenway Park were Robin Yount, Al Kaline and Mickey Mantle. Before Strasburg, the last pitcher that young to strike out at least 13 batters at Fenway Park was Roger Clemens during his 20-strikeout classic in 1986.
Up next: The Nationals' No. 2 ace, Gio Gonzalez, takes the mound at 4:05 p.m. Saturday attempting to outdo his top-of-the-rotation mate. He'll be opposed by Daisuke Matsuzaka, making his 2012 debut after undergoing Tommy John surgery.