Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg give Nationals Opening Day win over Marlins

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And while Harper was accounting for all of the Nationals’ offense, Strasburg was busy making an opening statement of his own.

There were the 19 straight batters retired between a game-opening single by Juan Pierre and a one-out seventh-inning double by Giancarlo Stanton. The 10 groundouts — balls pounded into the ground frustratingly and repeatedly — along with three strikeouts.

There were the radar gun readings, consistently building with each frame until there were 97s and 98s popping up on the stadium scoreboard with regularity, and the off-speed pitches for strikes that kept the Marlins off balance.

And, finally, there was the efficiency. Strasburg was through seven innings on just 80 pitches, scattering seven-pitch frames on multiple occasions throughout his day. His manager cited the draining nature of Opening Day for pulling him after seven, though acknowledging he saw no hint of fatigue, and went to Clippard before Rafael Soriano for the save.

“If it wasn’t Opening Day and the first start of the year, it would have been a different story,” Strasburg said.

“Stras was amazing,” Johnson added.

In the end, it was just one win. A start. Asked if he liked the way the script played out Monday, Harper said he’d rather they follow this script in a game that clinches a World Series title. They know there’s more to come.

“I can’t speak for everybody, but I’m glad [Opening Day] is over with,” Strasburg said. “It’s a long season and hopefully it’s much longer than the regular season for us. It’s one game of many. It’s in the books and it’s good to get a win.”

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