Max Scherzer struggles late, ‘pen falters as Washington Nationals drop nightcap

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After beating the Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of today’s double-header, the Washington Nationals were unable to complete the sweep in the nightcap, falling to Toronto, 7-3.

Max Scherzer got the start for the Nationals as he looked to earn his sixth straight victory. Scherzer had dominated in recent starts, giving up one run or fewer in each of his last four appearances. Today, however, Scherzer allowed four runs on six hits over six innings of work. The right-hander struggled to keep the ball in the park, allowing two homers.

Things got off to a bad start for the Nationals as Kevin Pillar homered for the Blue Jays in the top of the second inning, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead.

But the Nationals came right back in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Bryce Harper led off the inning with a double to right field, Tyler Moore drove him in with a double to left field, tying the game at 1-1. Later in the inning Jose Lobaton singled to right field, scoring Moore from second and giving the Nationals a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Nationals looked like they were about to bust the game wide open. Washington loaded the bases on a walk, an error and a single by the pitcher, giving Moore a chance to put the game on ice with only one out. But all Moore was able to do was hit a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the Nationals a 3-1 lead. Clint Robinson then flew out to end the threat.

Normally when the Nationals give Scherzer a two-run lead, the right-hander will put the game away with ease and secure a win for his team. Today wasn’t Scherzer’s day, however, and the Blue Jays came roaring back in the sixth inning.

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With two on and two outs in the top of the sixth, Pillar belted his second homer of the game—a three-run shot that gave the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead. From that point forward, things went downhill for the Nationals.

The Blue Jays scored three more runs in the seventh inning as the Nationals’ bullpen continued to struggle. Toronto made it a 5-3 game on an RBI single off the bat of Chris Colabello, before stretching their lead to 6-3 on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia. The Blue Jays scored their seventh run of the game on a double steal that scored Russell Martin from third base. All three runs were charged to Nationals reliever Blake Treinen.

With a 7-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Blue Jays bullpen shut the Nationals’ lineup down the rest of the night, and Washington suffered it’s fourth loss in five games.

Next Up: The Nationals will be back in action tomorrow night as they look to complete a series win over the Blue Jays. Taylor Jordan will take the mound for Washington, as Mark Buehrle gets the start for Toronto.

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