Strasburg improves to 3-0 with win

READING, Pa. -- Stephen Strasburg pitched five no-hit innings in his fourth professional start and drove in the game's only run as the Double-A Harrisburg Senators blanked the Reading Phillies 1-0 Tuesday night.

Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, a World Series hero in 2008, was making a rehab appearance for Reading, but Strasburg stole the show.

The San Diego State product retired the first 13 batters he faced in the opener of a doubleheader, striking out six. The only batter to reach base against Strasburg in five innings was Michael Spidale, who struck out swinging in the fifth but advanced to first on a passed ball.

Strasburg, the Washington Nationals' No. 1 pick last summer, threw just 64 pitches as his parent club continues to closely monitor his workload. He improved to 3-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.52. Strasburg has struck out 23 and walked just three through 17.1 innings this year.

The 21-year-old also collected his second hit of the season, singling through the middle with two outs in the fifth to score Sean Rooney, who doubled two batters earlier. Strasburg is 2-for-6 with two RBIs.

In the seven-inning contest, another top Nationals prospect drafted 10th overall last summer, Drew Storen, threw the final two innings and pitched around two singles to earn the save.

Lidge, meanwhile, has been on Philadelphia's disabled list since spring after offseason surgery on his knee and elbow, but appears close to returning to the Phillies.

The 33-year-old Lidge struck out four in two innings, with his only baserunner reaching on a throwing error by the shortstop. It was his eighth rehab appearance since April 10 and his second with Reading.

"From what I saw tonight, he was doing everything pretty much right," Lidge said about Strasburg. "It's not very often you'll see a guy who throws that hard with that kind of command. Hopefully our hitters will figure him out when he gets called up."