The symmetry of the setup was perfect, and yet the performance was somehow better.
Against the backdrop of the ongoing First-Year Player Draft -- in which he was selected No. 1 overall in 2009 -- Stephen Strasburg made his highly anticipated big league debut Tuesday, setting a new Nationals record by fanning 14 Pirates in seven innings en route to the win. It also set a new record for most strikeouts without allowing a walk in a debut.
Strasburg's memorable unveiling was certainly the highlight of the night, but there were plenty of impressive performances elsewhere.
In St. Petersburg, Fla., Jeff Niemann continued his fantastic season, spinning a two-hit shutout -- the third blanking of his career -- against the potent Blue Jays offense. At Citi Field, the Mets and Padres were locked in a low-scoring tie until the 11th inning, when Ike Davis uncorked a Ruthian blast into the right-field stands for a walk-off victory for the Amazin's.
Another touted prospect, Mike Stanton of the Marlins, made his big league debut, as well, and he went 3-for-5 in Florida's loss to the Phillies. The slugger boasted prodigious power numbers in the Minors and ironically legged out an infield single in his first at-bat. While young players seemingly monopolized the headlines, an old standby delivered the Dodgers into first place in the National League West, as Manny Ramirez ripped a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning to sink the Redbirds.
Nationals 5, Pirates 2
Aside from a brief hiccup -- a two-run homer -- Stephen Strasburg was nothing short of astonishing in his big league debut, whiffing 14 Pirates, including his last seven, over seven innings to earn the win. Wrap >
Jeff Niemann tossed his first shutout of the year and Carlos Pena homered twice -- including a grand slam -- and drove in five as the Rays routed the Jays. Mike McCoy broke up Niemann's no-hit bid in the sixth. Wrap > Mets 2, Padres 1
Ike Davis' walk-off homer in the 11th delivered the Mets their fourth win in a row overall and ninth consecutive at Citi Field. Mike Pelfrey went nine innings, outdueling Clayton Richard. Jose Reyes also homered. Wrap >
Dodgers 1, Cardinals 0
The duel between Chris Carpenter and Hiroki Kuroda was decided by the bullpens, as Manny Ramirez knocked in the game's only run in the eighth and sent the Dodgers to first place in the West with the NL's best record. Wrap >
Brewers 3, Cubs 2
Down to their last strike in the ninth, Casey McGehee punched a two-run single up the middle to deliver a walk-off win for the Brewers, who earned their second victory against the Cubs in seven meetings this season. Wrap >
Giants 3, Reds 0
Matt Cain had two hits and an RBI, but he made the most noise on the mound, where he hurled his second shutout of the season. That bested Reds rookie Sam LeCure, who allowed just Juan Uribe's solo homer. Wrap >
Red Sox 3, Indians 2
Tim Wakefield allowed just one earned run over 7 1/3 innings to become the club's all-time leader of innings pitched, and the Red Sox took advantage of an Indians error to score all of their runs in the fourth. Wrap >
Nick Swisher set the tone with a two-run shot in the first, but it was Curtis Granderson who put the game away by launching a grand slam -- and the Yanks weren't nearly done at Camden Yards, securing a Phil Hughes win. Wrap >
Rangers 7, Mariners 1
Josh Hamilton doubled in the first, driving in two runs for the Rangers and providing Colby Lewis all the support he needed. He got more, however, when Vlad Guerrero ripped a mammoth home run. Wrap >
Tigers 7, White Sox 2
A six-run seventh-inning, highlighted by back-to-back homers from Brennan Boesch and Carlos Guillen rallied the Tigers past the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in the series opener between the AL Central rivals. Wrap >
In a back-and-forth game, it was the Phillies who emerged victorious, topping the Marlins on Ben Francisco's go-ahead two-run single in the eighth. The loss spoiled heralded prospect Mike Stanton's 3-for-5 debut. Wrap > A's 10, Angels 1
Kurt Suzuki homered and drove in four runs, collecting four of a season-high 18 hits for the A's, who ended the Angels' six-game winning streak and pulled within a half-game of the second-place Halos. Wrap >
Braves 7, D-backs 5
Six different Braves drove in runs, including starting pitcher Kris Medlen, who left the game after injuring himself on a slide home, as Atlanta bested Arizona in a back-and-forth battle in Phoenix. Wrap >
Kevin Slowey retired the first 13 batters and allowed only three hits in seven innings, while Jason Kubel supplied a two-run double and a solo homer. Wrap >
Astros 4, Rockies 3
Brian Moehler allowed three runs to Colorado in the first, but the Astros didn't let that hold them back. Houston scored four unanswered runs and capped its comeback on Carlos Lee's go-ahead RBI single in the eighth. Wrap >
Dan Mennella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.