Arizona’s Diamondbacks started the afternoon with a chance to win their first series in D.C. since August of 2011, after splitting the first two games of the three-game set in Nationals Park, but Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals took the finale in the nation’s capital, 4-2.
Scherzer tossed six scoreless before giving up a solo home run in the first at bat of the seventh, and finished the day with seven strong innings of work over which he gave up just two hits and the one earned run, striking out 11 of the 26 batters he faced.
Max Scherzer: 51st game with 10+ strikeouts, second-most among active pitchers (Clayton Kershaw, 52). pic.twitter.com/QEVO0xhzPc— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 4, 2017
Scherzer drove in a run as well, and Anthony Rendon hit a two-run double in the third inning to give the Nationals all the offense they would need to take the rubber match with the D-Backs.
Nationals now 19-9
Here’s how it happened:
• Michael A. Taylor singled to left field, loading the bases after a Ryan Zimmerman walk and Daniel Murphy single started the bottom of the second inning.
D-backs’ right-hander Braden Shipley popped Jose Lobaton up for the second out of the inning, but Max Scherzer sent a bases-loaded dribbler toward third that Shipley had trouble picking up, 1-0 Nationals.
• Bryce Harper, Zimmerman and Murphy took back-to-back-to-back one-out walks from Shipley in the Nationals’ half of the third, pushing his pitch count up to 63 pitches and Anthony Rendon lined a 1-1 curve to left field for a two-run double that made it a 3-0 game.
• Michael A. Taylor took the fourth walk of the third inning, loading the bases back up in front of Jose Lobaton, but the Nats’ catcher sent a grounder to second to start an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP.
• Braden Shipley’s Line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 2 Ks, 92 P, 49 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
• Max Scherzer and Trea Turner hit back-to-back singles off of Randall Delgado to start the Nationals’ half of the sixth, but three outs later, both were stranded, the 9th and 10th runners left on base through six.
• Bryce Harper was replaced by Chris Heisey in right after the bottom of the sixth, no word on the reason for Harper’s departure.
• Jake Lamb was hunting first-pitch fastball and he got one that he sent out to left-center for a solo blast that broke up Scherzer’s shutout bid, 3-1 Nationals.
• Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 Ks, 107 P, 72 S, 4/6 GO/FO.
• Michael A. Taylor was 2 for 2 with a walk after taking a two-out free pass in the bottom of the seventh, and he stole his 2nd base of the season to put himself in scoring position, but he ended up being the 11th runner left on base.
• Matt Albers retired the D-Backs in order in a nine-pitch frame in the eighth.
• Trea Turner singled and Jayson Werth walked with one down in the Nationals’ half of the eighth, and Chris Heisey drove Turner in with an RBI groundout, 4-1.
• Joe Blanton came on for the ninth and gave up his sixth home run in 11 IP this season after he gave up seven total in 80 IP last season in LA.
Paul Goldschmidt sent a 1-0 heater out to left to lead off the ninth and make it a two-run game, 4-2.
• Enny Romero took over for Blanton and struck out two straight with one 100 mph fastball after another, before giving up a two-out single by Chris Iannetta. Daniel Descalso stepped in next and grounded out to second to end it. Ballgame. Romero gets the save.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- In today’s “Fun with Arbitary End Points” segment: Washington held a 48-33 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona before today’s series finale, and the Nationals were 24-11 against the D-Backs... since 2012, with wins if 15 of the last 20.
- Washington’s 18-9 record heading into today’s finale was the best record in the NL and the second-best in the majors, behind only the Houston Astros (19-9).
- Ryan Zimmerman started the series finale with the D-Backs with a 10-game hit streak. He extended it to 11-straight games with a leadoff single in the fifth.
- Zimmerman also started the series finale leading the majors in AVG (.427), SLG (.875), RBIs (30), OPS (1.337), hits (41), multi-hit games (14) and extra base hits (21).
- Trea Turner started the day with a 12-game on-base streak going over which he was 19 for 52 (.365 AVG), with a .411 OBP and .654 SLG.
- Washington’s hitters, as a group, started the finale with the D-Backs leading the majors in runs scored (175), hits (278), doubles (62), AVG (.290), OBP (.364), SLG (.497), and OPS (.861).
- Max Scherzer, who was drafted the Diamondbacks in the first round in 2006, was (4-0) in five career starts heading into this afternoon’s series finale, with a 2.65 ERA in those outings.
Nationals now 19-9