Washington Nationals Recap: Max Scherzer Sharp as Nats Tie Cardinals
Max Scherzer pitched a solid four innings as the Washington Nationals tied the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon.
The Washington Nationals tied the St. Louis Cardinals 4-4 on Sunday afternoon in Viera, Florida. Max Scherzer started for the Nationals and went four strong innings while post five strike outs. The Nats went with a lineup very similar to what you may see on Opening Day, including Ryan Zimmerman getting his first action of the spring as he hit cleanup and was the designated hitter.
The Nats’ offense got going early against St. Louis starter Michael Wacha after Scherzer struck out the side in the first. Ben Revere led off with a single and Jayson Werth smoked a ball to right-center for a single of his own that put runners on first and third. Bryce Harper came through with a RBI ground ball double to right field that scored Revere and moved Werth to third.
With Zimmerman at the plate, a Wacha wild pitch scored Werth and moved Harper to third as the Nats took a 2-0 lead. With the Cardinals’ infield in, Zimmerman came through with the fourth hit in a row, as his seeing eye single scored Harper to put Washington up 3-0.
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The Cards struck back in the top of the second, scoring a run off of Scherzer on a two-out RBI double to left by catcher Carson Kelly that made the score 3-1. After a walk to Cardinals’ designated hitter David Washington, Scherzer was able to work out of the jam by retiring Kolton Wong on a popup to second baseman David Murphy.
Neither team scored from innings three through seven, and the Nats got scoreless innings from relievers Matt Belisle, Burke Badenhop, and Rafael Martin. The trio combined to give up one hit.
The Nationals turned to Erik Davis to hold the two run lead in the eighth, but the right-hander got into quick trouble by surrendering a single to Greg Garcia and hitting Dean Anna to put two men on with no one out. Davis got the next batter Jonathan Rodriguez to hit a sharp grounder to Nats’ third baseman Jason Martinson, who forced Garcia at third but threw wildly to first, allowing to Anna score making it a 3-2 game.
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Two batters later, Jeremy Hazelbaker singled to right field scoring Rodriguez to tie the game at 3-3. After Hazelbaker stole second, Paul DeJong blooped a single to center, scoring Hazelbaker and putting the Cards ahead 4-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Cardinals brought in hard-throwing 19-year-old Sandy Alcantara, who allowed an infield single to Martinson and walked Tyler Moore to put runners on first and second. Pedro Severino‘s single to left scored Martinson to tie the game at 4-4. Alcantara got Trea Turner to ground into a force out that retired Severino at second, but struck out Michael Taylor and Matt den Dekker to end the Nats’ chances at taking the lead
Neither team was able to plate a run in the ninth and the two teams decided to end the game in a tie.
Although they could not pull out a win, the Nationals starters looked good at the plate. Wilson Ramos went 3-for-3 and Harper added two hits. On the mound, Scherzer looked as dominant as he did in 2015, giving up just two hits in addition to the five K’s in his four innings of work. Also, the Nats avoided an injury when Ben Revere was struck by a pitch in his left shoulder as he struck out in the bottom of the fourth, but appears that he will be okay:
Next Game: Tomorrow, the Nationals take on the Houston Astros at Space Coast Stadium at 1:05 PM ET. The Astros will send reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel to the mound against Joe Ross for the Nats.