Max Scherzer took the mound this afternoon in the regular season finale in Nationals Park in search of his 20th win of the 2016 campaign.
Scherzer talked to reporters after his 20-K start against the Detroit Tigers in May, about the mystique of the No. 20.
“There's something about 20 in the game, 20 strikeouts, 20 wins,” Scherzer said, “those are huge numbers, and to be able to go out there tonight and accomplish one of those, that was a huge feat."
This afternoon, Scherzer accomplished the other, earning his 20th win of the season in what ended up a 10-7 win in which he drove in four of the runs himself with two, two-run singles.
Here’s how it happened:
Tom Koehler didn’t pay for a leadoff walk to Trea Turner in the first, though Turner did steal his 33rd base before he was stranded.
Back-to-back-to-back walks in the second hurt the Marlins’ starter, however, with one of the three batters he put on scoring on a sac fly by Jose Lobaton and the other two coming in on an RBI single to center by Max Scherzer that made it 3-0 Nationals after two.
Former #Nats’ prospect Destin Hood hit his first major league homer on a 1-0 fastball from Scherzer with one on and two out in the top of the fourth. Hood bounced it off the top of the out-of-town scoreboard to make it a 3-2 game.
Jose Lobaton made the somewhat odd decision to bunt two runners over in the 8-spot with the pitcher due up after him in the fourth, but it’s Max Scherzer’s world, we’re just living in it, and Lobaton knows this. Scherzer came through with his second two-run hit of the game, singling up the middle to make it 5-2 Nats after four.
Marlins’ catcher Tomas Telis hit the second two-run blast of the game off Scherzer with one on and one out in the fifth, sending one over the GEICO wall in center to make it a 5-4 game.
With Scherzer still the pitcher of record, Bryce Harper doubled (No. 24) to start the Nationals’ half of the fifth, and moved up on a groundout by Clint Robinson before scoring on a grounder to first by Wilmer Difo, 6-5.
Danny Espinosa followed with a two-run home run to right to make it 8-5 Nationals.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HRs, 96 P, 62 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
Trevor Gott retired two batters in the Marlins’ sixth before Dusty Baker turned to Oliver Perez for the final out of the inning.
Perez retired the Marlins in order in the seventh.
Reynaldo Lopez came on for an inning of work in the eighth and gave up two runs on a two-out, bases-loaded single to right by Tomas Telis, 8-7.
Sammy Solis came on and the Marlins countered with Jeff Francoeur hitting for Derek Deitrich, but the Nats’ lefty struck Francoeur out to end the frame.
Pedro Severino doubled on a line drive to left to start the Nationals’ half of the eighth, and Spencer Kieboom, in his first MLB at bat, drew a walk. Trea Turner stepped in one out later and hit an RBI single to center to make it a 9-7 game. Ben Revere brought in another run with a single to left, 10-7.
That’s how it ended after Mark Melancon finished off the ninth. Ballgame.
Nationals finish 95-67
- Washington’s 94-67 record heading into this afternoon’s regular season finale is the second-best record in the National League, behind only the Chicago Cubs (102-58).
- Washington’s +148 run differential on the season is the second-best in the NL as well, behind only, again, Chicago’s +249.
- Miami is 116-102 vs the Washington Nationals in the all-time series between the two teams (2005-present), but in today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment; the Marlins are 29-45 against the Nats... since 2013.
- Washington and Miami have split the 18 games they’ve played so far this season, so this afternoon’s matchup will decide the series between the divisional rivals.
- The Nationals are one of four teams with six players with 20+ HRs, along with the Orioles, Blue Jays and Cardinals.
- With 104 hits in games, Trea Turner is the first player in Expos/Nationals franchise history with more than 100 hits in fewer than 100 games.
- In a bonus “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: The Nationals’ three division titles since 2012 are the second-most in the in the majors, behind only their NLDS opponents, the LA Dodgers, who’ve won five.
- Max Scherzer started the afternoon with a seven-start winning streak, the longest active streak in the majors.
- Marlins’ starter Tom Koehler started the day (1-2) with a 3.00 ERA in four starts vs the Nationals this season and (4-8) with a 4.18 ERA in 13 career starts vs Washington.
Nationals finish 95-67