BOSTON -- The Washington Nationals' brightest young stars both shined on Friday night.
Stephen Strasburg came charging onto the major-league scene exactly two years ago Friday, matching the promise and hype with an eye-popping performance.
He brought that same magic to Fenway Park, throwing six innings, striking out 13 -- at one point seven of eight batters -- to lead the NL East-leading Nationals to a 7-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.
Another one of the Nationals young stars, Bryce Harper, earned some attention, too, with a long two-run homer and three RBI. He's the second-youngest visiting player to homer.
"It's one game, obviously we want to win the series tomorrow, but it was good to see all the young guys here rise and know that you're playing in one of the most historic ballparks in the game and have the sellout crowd like that," Strasburg said. "It's awesome and it's awesome to be successful."
Mike Aviles had a two-run double and Adrian Gonzalez a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for the fourth time in five games and fell back to .500.
Strasburg (7-1) allowed Aviles' double in the second, then mowed down the Red Sox. The 23-year old star gave up two runs, four hits and walked two in a season-high 119-pitch effort. It was his fifth win in six starts, and his fifth career double digit strikeout game.
"I think (Nationals GM) Mike Rizzo did a heck of a job spending a lot of money, but getting two outstanding players in the first round of those drafts," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of the Nats' dynamic duo.
Felix Doubront (6-3) was tagged for six runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out six in four innings. He had allowed two runs or less in his previous five starts.
The Nationals/Expos organization had been 0-9 in Fenway.
Tyler Clippard got the final two outs for his sixth save.
Two years ago Friday, Strasburg fanned 14 in is debut against Pittsburgh.
He ended his outing with flare, striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kevin Youkilis with the bases loaded.
"Stras had a little bit of a tough start, but he was throwing the heck out of the ball," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "There was no way I was taking him out with the bases loaded. I didn't even care what his pitch count was."
What looked like a promising matchup between two of the better young pitchers in the majors this season quickly turned into a bit of an offensive display -- mainly by the Nationals -- in the early innings.
Strasburg retired the Red Sox in order in the first, fanning the initial two batters -- Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia -- before he gave up two runs in the second on Aviles' double high off the Green Monster.
But the Nationals scored three in the top of the third against Doubront, taking a 3-2 edge. Ryan Zimmerman had an RBI single and Ian Desmond a two-run, bases-loaded double.
They tacked on three more in the fourth, making it 6-2. Danny Espinosa had an RBI double before Harper belted a long homer over the Red Sox bullpen in right-center that traveled about 420 feet.
Harper doubled, homered and singled after striking out the first time.
"I think I had a little too much adrenaline with the atmosphere and tried to do a little too much," he said. "I looked over at the other dugout and see David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia. I'm 19 years old. I grew up watching these guys."
At that point, Strasburg settled down, striking out the side in the fourth and Ryan Sweeney and Aviles to open the fifth, giving him 10 overall and seven of eight batters.
"Seeing him for the first time, our hitters battled him. He threw a lot of pitches in six innings for sure. Like they were saying, he's not just a thrower, he's a pitcher," Valentine said. "He had pitches he could throw behind in the count. His split-changeup was a real devastating pitch. We hadn't seen that out of his hand before. And his fastball was alive all night long. He's special. He's a very good pitcher, obviously."
In the bottom of the third, Xavier Nady robbed Gonzalez of a homer when he went back to the five-foot bullpen wall, jumped and caught the ball as he crashed into the fence.
Doubront came in averaging 9.53 strikeouts per nine innings, second best among left-handed starters. He had four strikeouts in the opening two innings.
Youkilis struck out all three at-bats and was ejected by home plate umpire Doug Eddings after being called out in the sixth.
NOTES: Red Sox LF Carl Crawford, on the DL since the start of the season while recovering from left wrist surgery and a recent left elbow injury, threw and felt great. ... The Nationals opened a stretch where they play 32 straight games against teams from East divisions -- AL (18) and NL (14). ... Neither team took BP on the field due to a strong thunderstorm that hit the area around 4 p.m. ... It was Washington's first game in Boston since 2006. ... Boston RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his first major league start Saturday afternoon since having last season cut short by Tommy John surgery. ... Red Sox C Saltalamacchia made a nice grab into the first row of seats on Adam LaRoche's fifth-inning pop.
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