Washington Nationals Recap: Zack Greinke Wins Battle Of Aces Against Max Scherzer

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Runs were at an absolute premium this afternoon at Nats Park when the Washington Nationals (49-41) took on the Los Angeles Dodgers (53-40) in the final game of their three game series. Arguably, the two best pitchers in the National League were on the mound as Zack Greinke (9-2, 1.30) went up against Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.09). In the end, the Dodgers were able to defeat the Nats, 5-0 and take two out of three games in the series.

The Dodgers had the first chance to score a few runs against Max Scherzer. They would load the bases with two outs in the opening inning, but Scherzer would strike out Yasiel Puig swinging (one of his four strikeouts on the day) to end the inning. However, Los Angeles would find a way to get on the board three innings later.

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In the top of the fourth, Andre Ethier led off the inning with a double to left field. Two batters later, with Ethier on third because of a Yasmani Grandal sacrifice bunt, Scherzer threw a wild pitch to Alberto Callaspo that allowed Ethier to score. Scherzer’s fourth wild pitch of the season put the Dodgers in from,  1-0.

The wild pitch would be the only mistake Scherzer would make all day, but it would end up costing him the game. The Nats’ ace went six innings, gave up one run on seven hits, walked one, and struck out eight batters on 98 pitches (70 strikes). He was good, but Zack Greinke was better.

Greinke, who entered the day with a 35.2 inning scoreless streak, was dominant today. He went eight innings, gave up no runs on three hits, struck out 11 (a season high), and walked one on 119 pitches (76 strikes) in the victory. His 43.2 scoreless inning is the longest scoreless streak in Dodgers history since Orel Hershisher threw 59 scoreless innings in 1988. The Nats were not able to have any runner reach second base against him.

Felipe Rivero ran into trouble in the seventh inning when he loaded the bases with one out in relief of Scherzer, but he would strike out Ethier for the second out. Then, Aaron Barrett came in the game and struck out A.J. Ellis swinging to end the inning.

After Casey Janssen kept the Dodgers off the board in the eighth with two strikeouts, it was up to Blake Treinen to keep the deficit at one run, but he could not get the job done. With the bases loaded and one out, the Dodgers would get RBI singles from Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and a two-run single from Puig to break the game open and take a 5-0 lead. Matt Williams would take Treinen out after only 1/3 of an inning and bring in Sammy Solis would walk Jimmy Rollins with two outs to load the bases, but he struck out Justin Turner, who was batting for the second time in the inning, to finally end the inning.

The Nationals best chance to score a run came in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Harper reached base on an infield single and went to second on a Jimmy Rollins throwing error. However, J.P. Howell would complete the shutout by getting Clint Robinson to ground out to Rollins to end the game. 

Next Game: The Washington Nationals will begin a three game series against the New York Mets tomorrow night at Nats Park. You can catch the game on MASN and ESPN at 7:05 PM ET. Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.99) gets the start for the Nats against Matt Harvey (8-6, 3.07) for the Mets.

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