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Cardinals 1-0 over Nationals: Max Scherzer Ks 9 in six scoreless in Nats' loss

Washington Nationals' starter Max Scherzer struck out nine St. Louis Cardinals' batters in six scoreless frames in this afternoon's game, but the Cards scored a run on the Nats' bullpen in the eighth and held on for a 1-0 Grapefruit League win...

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

#MadMax: Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams named Max Scherzer the Opening Day starter for the Nats' April 6th game against the New York Mets on Monday.

After three straight years of Stephen Strasburg taking the mound in the season opener, Scherzer got the nod this time, after the one-time Cy Young Award-winning starter signed a 7-year/$210M deal with the Nats this winter.

In his fifth Spring Training outing this afternoon, in Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium, Scherzer hit Cardinals' second baseman Matt Carpenter in the front leg with his second pitch of the game, bringing former Atlanta Braves' outfielder Jason Heyward to the plate with a runner on and no one out, but the new Cards' right fielder erased the first runner of the game for St. Louis when he grounded into a 3-6-1 double play. Matt Holliday stepped in with no one on and two out and went down swinging at a slider outside. Seven-pitch frame by Scherzer.

Tyler Moore's Updated Spring Training #s: Tyler Moore improved to 14 for 38, with seven doubles, a triple and a home run so far this Spring after he lined a hanging slider from Cardinals' right-hander Michael Wacha to left for a one-out single in the top of the second. Nats' outfielder Michael Taylor singled to right in the next at bat (13 for 38, w/ two doubles, two triples and three home runs), but both runners were stranded two outs later as Wacha completed his second scoreless frame.

Massive Cardinals' first baseman Matt "Mt." Adams lined into the dramatic shift on a 2-2 fastball from Scherzer, who had to duck to avoid a one-hop liner to center off Jhonny Peralta's bat in the next AB. Single for Peralta. Cards' catcher Yadier Molina spit on an 0-2 slider outside, fouled off a 1-2 bender, but went down swinging at a fastball knee-high outside for out no.2. Jon Jay's flyout to left ended a 14-pitch second by Scherzer, who was up to 21 pitches total after two.

Max Scherzer's 24th pitch of the game was lined right into Ryan Zimmerman's first baseman's glove by Cardinals' second baseman Kolten Wong. Michael Wacha fell behind 0-2 and K'd swinging at a fastball in under the hands from Scherzer. Cards' infielder Pete "[expletive deleted]" Kozma, hitting in Matt Carpenter's place after the HBP in the first, chased a 2-2 slider outside for out no.3 of the inning and K no.4 of the day for Scherzer. 32 pitches total after an 11-pitch third.

Jason Heyward sent Nationals' left fielder Tyler Moore back a few steps with a line drive to left on a 1-1 fastball from Scherzer in the first at bat of the Cardinals' fourth. After two pitches, Matt Holliday was down 0-2 and after fouling a fastball off Nats' catcher Jose Lobaton's forehead, the Cards' hard-hitting outfielder spit on a breaking ball in the dirt outside before striking out on a diving slider away. 5 Ks. Matt Adams sent a 2-2 fastball to right for out no.3. 45 pitches overall for Scherzer after a 13-pitch fourth.

Danny Espinosa took the first walk Michael Wacha issued this Spring with one down in the top of the fifth, stole second base on Wacha and Molina and moved to third on a bunt by Max Scherzer, but was eventually stranded at third.

Scherzer threw a 2-1 bender by Jhonny Peralta inside and hung one up on the next offering that Peralta lined out to Tyler Moore in left for the first out of the Cardinals' fifth. Yadier Molina fell behind 0-2, worked back to 2-2 and lined a single to right on a hanging slider outside. Jon Jay lined a 1-0 fastball inside to right-center for a double that moved Molina around to third base. Kolten Wong stepped in with runners on second and third and one out and was down 0-2 quickly before striking out swinging over a filthy, diving change from Scherzer. Two down. 6 Ks. Michael Wacha too was down 0-2 quickly and he went down swinging at a 2-2 bender. 7 Ks. 68 pitches.

0-0 after five quick innings in Roger Dean Stadium.

Pete Kozma fouled off a 3-1 fastball in on the hands from Scherzer and K'd chasing a full-count slider off the plate outside for the Nats' right-hander's eighth K of the game. Jason Heyward took a letter-high 2-2 fastball outside for a called third strike and Scherzer's ninth K. Holliday sent an 0-1 pitch out to third to end Scherzer's sixth scoreless frame. 82 pitches overall after a 14-pitch inning.

Max Scherzer's Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 Ks, 82 P, 2/4 GO/FO.

Matt Thornton took over on the mound for the Nationals in the home-half of the seventh and promptly surrendered a single to left by Matt Adams, who beat the shift and headed off, replaced by a pinch runner. Thornton retired the next three Cardinals in order, however, keeping it scoreless through seven.

Aaron Barrett hit Kolten Wong in the first at bat of the Cardinals' eighth and with pinch runner Charlie Tilson off to the races, Sandy Leon failed to catch a breaking ball from Barrett as he popped out of the crouch trying to make a throw. The passed ball let Tilson move all the way around to third and a sac fly by pinch hitter Ty Kelly made it 1-0 St. Louis after eight.

That's how it ended, after Cards' reliever Jordan Walden struck out the side in the ninth. Ballgame.