The Washington Times - September 11, 2011, 03:10PM

Stephen Strasburg’s second major league start in his road back from Tommy John surgery lasted one pitch longer than his first start, and two fewer innings.

Strasburg made it through three innings in 57 pitches against the Houston Astros Sunday afternoon but struggled in the first inning, allowing the first run of his 2011 season and needing 31 pitches to get the first three outs. He settled down after that, throwing just 15 pitches (11 strikes) in the second and 11 pitches (nine strikes) in the third.

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His velocity seemed to be a bit lower than it was on Tuesday, when he popped the mitt consistently at 96-97 mph. Sunday he sat more in the 92-94 mph range and touched 97 just once. He struck out four, three on changeups and one on a 96-mph fastball, and gave up three hits. 

When his spot in the batting order came up in the bottom of the third inning — after the Nationals had hit back-to-back-to-back home runs and tacked on another in the frame for a 5-1 lead — Corey Brown jumped out to pinch hit for Strasburg. 

In two major league starts, Strasburg has now thrown 113 pitches in eight innings of work, struck out eight, walked none and given up five hits.