Max Scherzer lived up to his end of the billing in the battle of the last two NL Cy Young award winners tonight in Nationals Park, but Washington’s hitters knocked Jake Arrieta around and drew a season-high six walks from the Cubs’ right-hander, who went just 4+ innings, giving up six runs, five earned, in what ended up a 6-1 loss for Chicago.
Scherzer went six strong on 93 pitches, ending his night with a stretch of 10-straight Cubbies set down, retiring 16 of the last 17 batters he faced.
He also went 2 for 3 at the plate, driving in a run to help his own cause with an RBI single in the fourth.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 93 P, 62 S, 1/4 GO/FO.
Trea Turner ran wild on the basepaths, stealing four bases in the first three innings and the Nationals swiped seven bases total as they evened things with the Cubs after they lost last night’s series opener in the nation’s capital.
Final Score: 6-1 Nationals.
Nationals now 46-31
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Max Scherzer got up 0-2 on Anthony Rizzo in the first at bat of tonight’s game, but after Rizzo fouled off a few, he took a 1-2 fastball to the shoulder and took his base.
With two down in the inning, Kris Bryant hit a long fly to center field that Michael A. Taylor tracked to the wall, but Taylor couldn’t make the leaping catch and it fell in for an RBI triple that put the Cubs up early, 1-0 after the top of the first.
• It was tied up pretty quickly, however. Trea Turner singled, hustling to first to beat the throw on a fairly routine (though slow) grounder to second, then promptly took second (SB No. 29), and third (SB No. 30), before scoring on an infield single by Brian Goodwin, 1-1.
• Turner walked to start the Nationals’ third, took second on a delayed steal with Brian Goodwin at the plate (SB No. 31), and third two outs later (on indifference really, but SB No. 32), and scored on a Daniel Murphy grounder to second when a throwing error by Tommy La Stella pulled Anthony Rizzo off the bag, 2-1, but Ryan Zimmerman, who walked with two down, was thrown out at third base trying to take an extra base.
• Anthony Rendon and Michael A. Taylor hit leadoff and one-out singles, respectively in the Nationals’ half of the fourth, and Taylor stole second with Max Scherzer up before the Nats’ starter hit a chopper over the mound to bring Rendon in with an RBI single, 3-1. Taylor stole third in the next at bat, then came in on a throwing error by the Cubs’ catcher Miguel Montero, 4-1.
• Daniel Murphy singled to right, and Anthony Rendon walked in the first two at bats of the Nats’ fifth, and that was it for Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta, whose night ended after 98 pitches in 4+ IP.
Felix Pena took over with two on and no one out, and retired Matt Wieters, but Michael A. Taylor worked the count full and doubled to right off the out-of-town scoreboard to bring Murphy and Rendon in for a 6-1 lead.
• Jake Arrieta’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 6 BB, 4 Ks, 98 P, 52 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
• Max Scherzer was up to 10-straight batters retired and 16 of his last 17 after he set the Cubs down in order in an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth.
• Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 93 P, 62 S, 1/4 GO/FO.
• Enny Romero took over for the Nationals in the seventh and worked around a one-out walk for a scoreless, 13-pitch frame.
• Blake Treinen retired the Cubs in order in a 14-pitch eighth, and Oliver Perez and Matt Albers handled the ninth. Ballgame.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Washington’s loss last night left them 40-41 against Chicago in the all-time series between the two teams.
- Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta took the mound tonight four strikeouts short of 1,000 for his career, and when he hits 1,000, he will have collected 723 with Chicago.
- In today’s Cubs-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Cubs’ starters have a 2.15 ERA over 75 1⁄3 innings pitched... in the last 13 games.
- Last season at this point (76 games), the Cubs were 50-26. With last night’s win, they improved to 39-37 this season.
- Nationals’ first baseman Daniel Murphy started the night with a 10-game hit streak going, over which he’s 14 for 40 (.350 AVG), and extended it to 11-straight with a single to right in the fifth.
- Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo has reached base in 18 of his last 19 starts heading into the second of three for Chicago in D.C., and posted a .426 OBP since May 7th.
- Washington’s offense started the night leading the NL in AVG (.278), OBP (.343), SLG (.477), home runs (117), hits (749), extra-base hits (284), runs scored (428) and RBIs (418).
- Tonight’s Jake Arrieta vs Max Scherzer matchup features the 2015-2016 NL Cy Young award winners, and it’s the first matchup between the previous two NL Cy Young winners since 2008 when D-Backs’ starter Brandon Webb (2006) and the Padres’ Jake Peavy (2007) matched up.
Nationals now 46-31