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WSH@PIT: Strasburg fans 13 over six solid innings

Entering Monday's action, Washington starter Stephen Strasburg was tied for the National League lead with 51 strikeouts, and Padres hitters had tallied the second-most strikeouts in baseball.

On Tuesday, the possibilities are endless when the right-hander toes the rubber against San Diego. After all, Strasburg punched out 13 Pirates in six innings in his last outing, in which he held Pittsburgh to two runs (one earned) in a 4-2 win. At one point, he struck out seven straight hitters to tie his own franchise record.

"He was unbelievable," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He was overpowering. He had everything working."

Strasburg is a San Diego native and played three seasons at San Diego State before the Nationals selected him first overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. The 23-year-old has never faced the Padres, who on Tuesday will counter with another young righty, Anthony Bass.

Bass has allowed 11 runs on 15 hits in his last two appearances, though four of the five runs he yielded in a loss on Wednesday were unearned.

Bass began the year in the Padres' bullpen. Manager Bud Black has been pleased with his progress.

"It's just learning," Black said. "You can get away with pitches from time to time, but it's really learning that every pitch is important. Overall, he has thrown the ball well. There's a big learning curve for him. But I feel good, and so does the team, every time he takes the mound."

Padres: Hermida to undergo surgery
Outfielder Jeremy Hermida will have sports hernia surgery on Tuesday and miss the next four to six weeks. Hermida has been on the disabled list since April 27 with a strained left adductor.

"It just got too painful and it wasn't going to go away," Black said.

Hermida has compiled a .250 average with two RBIs in 13 games.

• Veteran outfielder Mark Kotsay could return to the lineup by Wednesday. The 36-year-old left Saturday's game in Philadelphia with a tight lower back, and said Monday that he was feeling better after receiving treatment.

Black said Kotsay would likely miss Tuesday's game.

"Mark is doing better," Black said. "We hope that by the time we get back to California [Wednesday] that he will be healthy."

Kotsay is batting .294 with one home run in 18 games.

Nationals: Harper erases goose egg from homer column
• Right fielder Bryce Harper, the 19-year-old rookie, hit his first career homer on Monday.

Harper struck a 2-1 pitch from right-hander Tim Stauffer over the center-field wall to give Washington a three-run lead in an eventual 8-5 victory. Harper stepped out of the dugout for a curtain call after circling the bases and retreating to the dugout.

In 15 games, Harper is hitting .232 with four RBIs.

• Johnson stood behind closer Henry Rodriguez on Monday, but the hard-throwing righty didn't respond the way the skipper would've liked.

Rodriguez walked the bases loaded in the ninth inning, and was pulled for Sean Burnett, who shut the door on the 8-5 win.

"If there is something that is going to change, I'll volunteer it," Johnson said prior to Monday's tilt. "{Rodriguez] has done a great job."

Rodriguez has been filling in for Drew Storen, who could return from the disabled list shortly after the All-Star break. Rodriguez has eight saves in 11 chances and a 4.60 ERA.

Worth noting
• Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso is hitting .410 (16-for-39) in his last 10 games.

• Nationals left fielder Michael Morse, rehabbing from a torn left lat (shoulder) muscle, said he is shooting for a June return. Comments