Washington Nationals Recap: Max Scherzer’s Dominant Start Fuels Win
By Matt Weyrich
The Washington Nationals beat the Phillies, 3-2, behind eight strong innings from Max Scherzer. The Nats’ ace carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and rookie Trea Turner slapped two hits in the win.
Max Scherzer (15-7, 2.89 ERA) may give up a few home runs, but there is no question he is right in the thick of the National League Cy Young race. The 2013 American League winner of the award tossed eight innings allowing two runs on three hits, a walk, and eleven strikeouts.
Scherzer carried a no-hitter into the sixth for the ninth time in his Nationals career. It was his twelfth double-digit strikeout of the season, breaking the club record he set in 2015.
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The Nats got ahead early and never looked back. Daniel Murphy hit a two-out double in the top of the first, and promptly scored when Bryce Harper smacked a two-bagger of his own. After an Anthony Rendon walk, Wilson Ramos hit an RBI-single to score Harper.
In the top of the fourth, the Nats padded their lead with a little help from their pitcher. Ryan Zimmerman drew his 26th walk of the season with one out in the top of the fourth. Danny Espinosa singled to put runners on the corners for Scherzer. Max laid down a perfect bunt down the first base line with Zimmerman running on contact. The Nats’ first baseman scored easily, putting Washington ahead 3-0.
That run proved to be crucial. In the bottom of the seventh, Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera led off the inning with an infield single that Daniel Murphy nearly saved. Murphy made a fantastic play with the glove, but threw the ball away from his knees. Ryan Howard made the Nats pay with a two-run homer to left that made it a one run game.
The score remained 3-2 heading into the ninth, leaving Nats manager Dusty Baker no choice but to send out Mark Melancon for the save. Melancon allowed a leadoff walk to Cesar Hernandez, but that was all the Phillies could manage off of him. Herrera struck out swinging and Maikel Franco grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
The Nationals now sit at 77-55, nine games up on the Mets in the NL East.
Next Up: The Nats will go for the sweep Wednesday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. Gio Gonzalez (9-9, 4.25) will take the mound against Adam Morgan (1-8, 6.50).