Roy Oswalt strikes out 11 in defeat in return to major leagues

USA TODAY Sports

The veteran finished Thursday's game with the second-most strikeouts in a single game in his career.

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt struck out 11 batters in his 2013 debut, which was only the sixth time in the right-hander's career that he struck out at least 11 batters, according to the team's Twitter feed.

Oswalt tossed five innings against the Washington Nationals, allowing four runs on nine hits. Ian Desmond smacked a solo home run against the veteran, while Adam LaRoche hit a two-run triple.

Rockies Game Recap: Purple Row

Nationals hitters did find some success when they made contact against Oswalt, but they often failed to hit the ball. Washington only made four outs against Oswalt on balls in play. Oswalt struck out Jayson Werth three times on Thursday and fanned Ryan Zimmerman twice.

Oswalt struggled for the Texas Rangers last season, posting a 5.80 ERA over 59 innings. He pitched more effectively for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011, but his last dominant season came in 2010, when he went 13-13 with a 2.76 ERA.

Athough the loss is disappointing for the Rockies, an effective Oswalt would greatly help Colorado's chances in a wide-open NL West. The Rockies are 37-37 on the season, sitting three games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the division.

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