New York - The New York Mets celebrated their 50th anniversary Wednesday only to have former Torrington Twister Stephen Strasburg put a damper on their party.
Strasburg looks like he is back, and the Mets got an up-close look at a pitcher that appears ready to dominate the National League for years to come in a 4-0 victory by the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field.
The matchup was a good one, Strasburg vs. Johan Santana in a battle of aces looking to overcome recent injuries.
After missing all of 2011 following elbow ligament-replacement surgery, Strasburg's return is one of the bigger story lines of the opening week of the season.
So far, so good.
In two starts this season Strasburg has allowed one run in 13 innings. He has yielded 7 hits with four walks and 14 strikeouts.
Wedensday started a little rough but Strasburg got out of the first inning without giving up a run but needed over 20 pitches to do it.
He settled down from there, retiring 10 straight Mets at one point before leaving after six innings.
Strasburg threw 108 pitches and displayed his full arsenal, keeping New York off balance with a fastball that topped out at 97 miles per hour and a curve ball that would come in as slow as 79.
He had never thrown 100 pitches or more in the big leagues but Washington manager Davey Johnson let Strasburg go to 108 on Wednesday.
He got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
''By no means in the back of my head was I thinking, 'How many pitches was I at?'" Strasburg said. "I wanted to go out there and keep the team in the ballgame as long as I could.''
''I was going to hold him to 100 pitches but I didn't know who to go to to get out of the jam,'' Johnson said. "I probably would've had to strangle him to get the ball to get him out of the game.''
The crowd was announced at 34,614 and they had hoped to see their beloved Mets continue their hot start on their anniversary.
Former Met, and three-time World Champion Roger Craig threw out the first pitch and Santana was on the hill for the Amazins, but it was Strasburg's day.
He allowed a leadoff single and did not allow another hit until the sixth.
Strasburg struck out nine with three walks and left with a 1-0 lead.
Washington tacked on runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth off the New York bullpen.
The Nationals needed Strasburg to be every bit as good as he was today because they didn't get much going against Santana.
But Washington also knows that they have a chance to win every time they send the big righthander to the hill because he has the stuff to keep them in every game he pitches.
"He's good. I think everybody knew that before today," Mets left fielder Jason Bay said. "He's one of the best pitchers in baseball, and he's got great stuff. His ability to generate outs when he's behind in the count I think makes him very effective."