Max Scherzer Ties MLB Strikeout Record In Washington Nationals’ Win Over Tigers
Jordan Zimmermann and Max Scherzer matched up on the mound both facing their old teams as the Nats and Tigers wrapped up a three game series Wednesday night at Nationals Park.
Jordan Zimmermann, the winningest pitcher in Washington Nationals history, made his return to Nationals Park tonight as he took on his old team. Max Scherzer also faced the Tigers for the first time since he signed with the Nationals in 2015.
The Nats offense got going early against their old teammate Zimmermann. Anthony Rendon got things started with a line drive double to right, and was followed by a single by Bryce Harper. With men on first and third, hits machine Daniel Murphy ripped an RBI single to left, scoring Rendon and giving the Nationals an early 1-0 lead.
After Scherzer struck out the side in the second, in the top of the third shortstop Jose Iglesias hit a homer to left, his first of the year, and tied the score 1-1. This was Scherzer’s 10th home run given up this year in just eight starts.
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When Jordan Zimmermann stepped to the plate for the first time in the bottom of the third he received a standing ovation from the crowd and tipped his cap to the fans. It was nice to see the fans recognize all Jordan did for this team and how much of a legacy he left in D.C.
After giving up the homer both starters settled down. Scherzer got his strikeout stuff going, striking out seven of the next nine batters and Jordan Zimmermann only allowed one hit after the first inning. The score remained locked 1-1 through five innings.
In the bottom of the sixth Anthony Rendon got things started again. He led off the inning with a single and then stole second with Bryce Harper batting. Zimmermann walked Harper, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Daniel Murphy came through yet again with an RBI single to left scoring Rendon and giving the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Zimmermann walked the next batter, Ryan Zimmerman, setting up a big spot for Jayson Werth.
Werth could not come through and extend the Nats lead, as he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, ending the inning.
In the top of the seventh the Tigers threatened for the first time against Scherzer. With one out Victor Martinez laced a single to center, and next batter Justin Upton crushed a double off the right centerfield wall, putting runners at second and third with just one away. Scherzer bared down and struck out the next two batters, putting his total to 15 on the night, and kept the score 2-1.
In the bottom of the inning Danny Espinosa increased the Nats’ lead to 3-1 with a solo homer to center. Zimermmann would get through this inning though, and completed his return to D.C. with a solid outing. His final line was seven innings, three runs on seven hits, and three strikeouts.
Max Scherzer continued his dominance in the top of the eighth inning. He struck out the side again, increasing his total on the game to 18, and giving him a chance at breaking the single game strikeout record of 20 held by Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood.
The ninth inning did not start well for Scherzer, as J.D. Martinez led off the inning with a solo homer to center, cutting the Nats lead to 3-2. This gave Dusty Baker a tough decision to make, but he stuck with his starter, as he has been prone to do early in the season.
Scherzer struck out the next batter Miguel Cabrera, increasing his total to 19. After a one out single by Victor Martinez, Scherzer struck out Justin Upton, making his total 20 and tying the single game strikeout record for Major League Baseball. The next batter James Mccann grounded out to third, ending the game and giving Scherzer a complete game, and the Nationals a 3-2 win.
Although he did not break the record, this was another outstanding start for Scherzer, and showed that there is no cause for concern with his slow start to the season.
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Next Game: The Nationals return to action Friday night when they take on the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park at 7:05 et p.m. Gio Gonzales (2-1 2.19) will get the ball for the Nats and will be opposed by Tom Koehler (2-3 5.83) for the Marlins. You can catch the game on MASN