Max Scherzer alternated wins and losses throughout the month May, going (3-3) in six starts with a 3.83 ERA and a .190/.244/.418 line against in 42 ⅓ IP.
In his first start of June, the 31-year-old right-hander gave up five hits, two walks and two runs, both earned, over eight innings in a win against the Philadelphia Phillies, striking out eleven batters along the way.
Scherzer took the mound in Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field tonight with a 4-0 lead, courtesy of an RBI single by Daniel Murphy, an RBI groundout by Wilson Ramos and a two-run blast to left by Ryan Zimmerman off White Sox' starter James Shields in the opening frame, and retired the first nine batters he faced before Adam Eaton lined a double to left to start the fourth.
Scherzer went on to throw seven scoreless, giving up just five hits and striking out six in what ended up an 11-4 win for the Nationals. He got plenty of support early and cruised to his seventh win of the season (W, 7-4).
Stephen Drew, who started the night 7 for 17 with two doubles and a home run vs Shields, took the Sox' starter deep to right on a 3-2 change to make it a 5-0 game in the second.
Danny Espinosa's 9th home run of the season and his 6th in his last 12 games made it 6-0 one at bat later. Shields was up to 79 pitches total after a 42-pitch second.
Shields' disaster of an debut for the Sox ended after Anthony Rendon singled to start the third on the right-hander's 84th pitch.
Rendon scored from third later in the inning on an RBI single by Ben Revere that added a seventh run to Shields' line on the night. 7-0 Nats.
• James Shields' Line: 2.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 3 HRs, 84 P, 44 S, 3/1 GO/FO.
Zach Putnam and Dan Jennings combined for three scoreless in relief, keeping it 7-0 through five.
Zach Duke gave up a single by Jayson Werth and a double by Bryce Harper in the sixth, but both runners were stranded. Nate Jones worked a quick, scoreless top of the seventh.
• Max Scherzer's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 97 P, 68 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
Werth padded the Nationals' lead with a three-run blast off White Sox' righty David Robertson in the eighth, hitting a no-doubter to left field to make it a 10-0 game. That also made it three straight games with 10 runs for the Nats, who only did that once before in franchise history (2005-present). Werth's 10th.
J.B. Shuck, in his MLB debut as a pitcher, gave up a double by Danny Espinosa and a run in the top of the ninth. 11-0 Nationals..
Jose Abreu doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a double by Melky Cabrera in the ninth to get the White Sox on the board, 11-1.
Two more runs scored when Oliver Perez came on with the bases loaded and two out and gave up a two-run single by Avisail Garcia. 11-3 Nationals. Adam Eaton drove in a run too to get the White Sox within seven, 11-4.
That's how it ended. Ballgame.
Nationals now 36-23
- Last night's win gave Washington a 6-4 advantage and five straight wins in the all-time series with the Chicago White Sox and the Nationals have still not lost to the Sox since June 25, 2011.
- Washington's win last night left them 35-23 on the year, good for the third-best record in the majors, behind only the Texas Rangers (36-22) and the Chicago Cubs (40-17).
- Chicago's loss last night was their fourth straight, their 11th loss in their last 13 and their 19th in the last 25 games.
- Seven of the Sox' last eight losses have come after they had a lead.
- In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Anthony Rendon is 7 for 18 (.389 AVG) with two doubles and two home runs... so far in June.
- Since May 10th, Rendon has a .348/.442/.596 line, good for 4th/.2nd/10th across the line in the National League.
- In today's White Sox-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Austin Jackson is 15 for 31 (.484 AVG)... over his last nine games, raising his average from .218 to .266 over that stretch.
- White Sox' third baseman Todd Frazier hit his 19th home run of the season last night, and he currently ranks second in the majors in home runs. He's hit four in his last six games and seven in his last 15.
- Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos currently leads all MLB catchers (with a minimum of 170 PAs) in AVG (.348) OBP (.392) and SLG (.561).
- Washington has 77 home runs total as a team this season, tied with the New York Mets for the NL lead. With two in the first two innings, the Nationals were up to 79.
- James Shields is (0-1) with a 6.00 ERA in four career starts vs the Nationals. It didn't start well tonight either, as he gave up four runs in the first.
- Max Scherzer started the night (12-6) with a 2.54 ERA in 23 career starts against the White Sox, and he's allowed 2 ER of fewer in 16 of those 23 starts and 1 ER or fewer nine times.
- White Sox' 1B Jose Abreu starts the night 5 for 19 (.294 AVG) with a double vs Scherzer in their respective careers.
- Washington and Chicago currently rank 1st and 2nd, respectively, in fld% at .990 and .988.
- The White Sox were errorless in 27 of their last 33 games heading into tonight's matchup.
Nationals now 36-23