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Diamond digest: Baseball’s top storylines this week

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws in the second inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. Strasburg didn’t factor into the decision but reached 1,000 strikeouts for his career with 10 Ks in the game.
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws in the second inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. Strasburg didn’t factor into the decision but reached 1,000 strikeouts for his career with 10 Ks in the game. The Associated Press

Here are five interesting stories in Major League Baseball this past week:

Call him Strasburg 1K

With a 10-strikeout performance Saturday in Cincinnati, Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg reached 1,000 career Ks.

Strasburg reached the mark in 144 games; only seven other pitchers in major-league history have reached the mark by that many games or fewer.

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood holds the record, getting there in 134 appearances.

Another Red Sox streak ends

Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts had his 26-game hitting streak stopped Friday.

Bogaerts went 0 for 3 with two walks in Boston’s 5-2 home loss to Toronto.

His streak ends a little more than a week after teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 29-game run end. Bradley’s streak was the longest in the majors this season.

Bumgarner can rake

With his two-run shot in the fifth inning of the Giants’ 6-0 victory in Atlanta on Thursday, San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner became the second pitcher this season to hit multiple home runs.

Bumgarner, who has 13 home runs in his career, is putting the ball out of the yard at an impressive rate, equaling two of baseball’s best hitters.

ESPN’s Buster Olney says Bumgarner would like to participate in the Home Run Derby. Would the Giants let their ace do so? It would be fun to see him compete, even if it seems unlikely.

Win No. 10 proves elusive

Three pitchers had a chance to earn their 10th victory this week. All failed.

Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs: The defending National League Cy Young winner missed two chances to get his 10th win, taking a no-decision in Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers, then suffering his first loss in 21 decisions Sunday when the Arizona Diamondbacks won 3-2 at Wrigley Field.

Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox: Sale, who won his first nine starts of the season, has two losses and a no-decision in his last three outings. In his only outing this week, Sale (9-2) allowed four runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings Saturday and took the loss as host Detroit won 7-4.

Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals: Despite his strikeout feat, Strasburg left Saturday’s game at the Reds in line for his first loss before Danny Espinosa’s eighth-inning home run got Strasburg (9-0) off the hook. Cincinnati won the game 6-3.

Two other pitchers have nine victories this season: Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto (9-1) and Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez (9-2).

Longoria goes yard again

Evan Longoria has rediscovered his power stroke. Tampa Bay’s third baseman homered for the fourth consecutive game, connecting twice Sunday in the Rays’ 7-5 win over the host Minnesota Twins.

Longoria hit five home runs in the series and has 14 this season. He said he’s widened his stance at the plate, allowing him to see the ball better.

“It’s kind of one of those moments where you realize that sometimes what you did early on in your career doesn’t always work the whole time,” Longoria told The Associated Press. “It was a change that took place gradually, but now I feel like I’m in a really good spot.”

Compiled by Noel Harris

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