Washington Nationals Recap: Max Scherzer Shuts Down Phillies In Nats’ 7th Straight Win


Max Scherzer (9-5, 1.79) turned in another fabulous pitching performance Friday night for the Nationals against the Phillies. He was perfect through 5.1 innings until Freddy Galvis doubled to right field in the bottom of the sixth. In the end, Scherzer went eight innings and only allowed two runs. The Nationals hung five runs on Aaron Harang (4-10, 3.56) and won their seventh straight game by the final score of 5-2.

The Nationals looked like a MASH unit by the end of the first inning on Friday. Anthony Rendon was placed on the 15 day DL with a quad strain on Friday. Bryce Harper was out of the lineup because of a leg cramp. Right before the game started, Denard Span had back spasms and was removed from the lineup. Yunel Escobar was hit on the hand by a pitch by Aaron Harang in the top of the first and was removed from the game before he played a minute of defense. After the game, Matt Williams gave this update on Escobar:

Not to be outdone, the Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg resigned his position Friday afternoon, and the Phillies were being managed by third base coach Pete Mackanin . The Nationals were down four starters and the Phillies were down a manager.

The Nationals playing behind Max Scherzer were Michael Taylor in center field, Clint Robinson in left, Matt den Dekker in right, Wilson Ramos behind the dish, Dan Uggla at second, Tyler Moore at first, Danny Espinosa at third and Ian Desmond at short. This was not how Matt Williams drew it up, but it was what was available.

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The Nationals scored a run in the top of the first. Taylor, batting lead off in the absence of Span, doubled to start the game. Espinosa struck out, but then Escobar was hit by a pitch to put two on. Two batters later,  Ramos came to the plate and Harang uncorked a wild pitch, which sent Taylor to third. Ramos reached on an infield single, which scored Taylor. Ramos had an assist from the umpire, who got in the way of the players trying to throw out Ramos at first base. Would that run be enough for Scherzer? Considering he didn’t allow a hit to the Philies until the sixth inning, one run with Max on the mound might be enough.

The Nationals scored again in the top of the fifth. Scherzer helped his own cause by hitting a single to start the inning, and then taking second on a wild pitch. Michael Taylor hit a bunt single, which sent Scherzer to third. Then, Espinosa hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Scherzer from third. After Uggla flied out, Robinson singled to put two on with two out. Ramos hit a routine fly ball to right field which was dropped by Domonic Brown. That allowed Taylor to score and extend the Nats lead to 3-0. Desmond struck out to end the inning, but the Nats had added two more runs.

Moore opened the top of the sixth with a hit, and then den Dekker hit a home run to put two more on the board for the Nats. den Dekker’s first home run of the season put the team up 5-0.

The scoreless inning streak by Nationals starters came to an end in the bottom of the seventh inning when Scherzer finally gave up a run. That was 48 innings in a row in which the Nationals starters did not allow a run. Cesar Hernandez doubled to start the inning. Maikel Franco struck out swinging, but Hernandez went to third on a wild pitch. Max got Ryan Howard to strike out, but gave up a double to Brown to score Hernandez. Cody Asche singled, but Scherzer got the final out of the inning on a pop up by Cameron Rupp. The Phillies were on the board, but the Nats were still ahead 5-1.

Scherzer came out to start the eighth inning, which probably wasn’t a good idea because he appeared to be tiring in the seventh. Freddy Galvis popped out trying to bunt for the first out of the inning, but then Ben Revere hit a home run to right, his first of the season, to make the score 5-2. Odubel Herrera grounded out and Hernandez flied out to end the inning. Scherzer escaped with no more damage.

The Nationals bench was so short handed that Doug Fister got the opportunity to pinch hit in the top of the ninth. He popped out to short.

Drew Storen pitched the ninth inning. It became a bit of an adventure. Franco ground out to start the inning. Ryan Howard singled, but then Moore made a terrific play on a ball hit sharply to right by Brown, throwing out Howard at second. Brown stole second uncontested. Asche singled up the middle and Brown tried to score. He was caught in a run down at home and was out. That was the ballgame as Storen secured his 22nd save of the season.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals (41-33) and Philadelphia Phillies (26-49) continue their weekend series on Saturday afternoon at Citizens’  Bank Park. You can watch the game on MASN at 3:05 PM ET. Gio Gonzalez (5-4, 4.41 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Nationals, and the Phillies are sending Adam Morgan (1-0, 1.59) to the mound for his second major league start.

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