Max Scherzer flirts with no-hitter, but Washington Nationals fall to Cleveland Indians

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Aug 9, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws to the Cleveland Indians during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 9, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws to the Cleveland Indians during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Max Scherzer picked up his 200th strikeout and flirted with a no-hitter, but the Washington Nationals’ offense fell flat in a 2-1 loss to the Indians.

When Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer is on his game, anything can happen. He can give you eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts. He can (and has) strike out 20 batters in one game, or he could easily throw a no-hitter or a perfect game.

Scherzer at his best is second to no one in the game, and you almost always expect something special to happen when he’s on his A-game.

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For 6 1/3 innings tonight, it looked like Scherzer was on his way to accomplishing what only two Nationals pitchers (he being one of them) have done before. He had held Cleveland hitless, and it didn’t look like the Indians would be able to figure him out.

Unfortunately for Scherzer, Francisco Lindor ended Scherzer’s latest no-hit bid with a one-out single in the seventh. After that, a throwing error by Scherzer sent Lindor to third, before a double by Jose Ramirez gave the Indians a 1-0 lead.

Cleveland scored another run later in the inning on a bloop RBI single by Lonnie Chisenhall, giving them a 2-0 lead.

Scherzer got out of the inning, but the damage was done. On the night, he allowed two runs over seven innings of work while striking out 10 batters and walking just one. It was a tough loss for Scherzer, his seventh of the season.

But the main issue for the Nationals tonight was that the offense wasn’t able to do much of anything against the Indians’ pitching staff. The Nats scored their lone run on a solo home run by Jayson Werth in the eighth inning.

The Indians made it a 3-1 game on an RBI single by Ramirez in the top of the ninth, and that was all they needed to secure a win in the series opener.

Next Up: The Nationals and Indians will be back in action tomorrow afternoon for the second game of the three-game series. Gio Gonzalez gets the start for the Nationals, while Josh Tomlin takes the mound for the Indians. First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m. ET.

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