Max Scherzer reached double digits in strikeouts for the 12th time in 19 starts this season, and the 61st time in his career, collecting 10 total over six scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds in what ended up a 10-7 win for Washington.
Nationals’ All-Star Daniel Murphy started the scoring against Reds’ right-hander Luis Castillo with an RBI double in the fourth.
Anthony Rendon followed with the first of his two home runs on the night later in the fourth inning, putting the visiting Nats ahead 3-0 at the time.
Rendon’s second home run of the night (and 18th of the season) was a seventh-inning grand slam off reliever Blake Wood that made it 10-0 in Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati scored their first runs of the series with Austin Adams struggling on the mound in his MLB debut in the eighth inning, 10-2, but Oliver Perez came on retired three straight without another run coming in.
Trevor Gott gave up five runs in the ninth, 10-7, but that’s how it ended...
Nationals now 54-36
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Max Scherzer worked around a leadoff double and walk by the first two Reds’ batters he faced tonight in GABP, striking out three straight (Joey Votto, Adam Duvall, and Scooter Gennett) to strand both baserunners in a 19-pitch first.
Look, we're not saying you should cancel your Saturday night plans to watch Max Scherzer pitch, but... pic.twitter.com/bjVUNDjnWx— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 15, 2017
• Scherzer was up to six Ks from the first six Reds’ batters he retired after he worked around a leadoff walk in the second.
• Billy Hamilton singled to right on the second pitch he saw from Scherzer tonight (2 for 2) to lead off the Reds’ half of the third, and he stole his 39th base of the season in the next at bat.
Zack Cozart battled his way to a 10-pitch walk to put two on again, but Scherzer got Votto looking with a 94 mph, 3-2 fastball inside, popped up Duvall, and got Gennett looking with a 1-2 fastball for out No. 3.
• Bryce Harper’s one-out single in the fourth was the Nationals’ first hit off Reds’ right-hander Luis Castillo, and it also extended Harper’s hit streak to 10-straight games and his on-base streak to 18-straight. He scored from first one out later on an RBI double to left-center by Daniel Murphy, 1-0 Nationals.
Anthony Rendon, who walked the first time up, homered in his second trip to the plate tonight, taking a 3-2 fastball from Castillo for a ride to left for a two-out, two-run blast that made it 3-0 Nats. No. 17 for Rendon.
This is why Anthony Rendon is (one of) our favorite player(s). pic.twitter.com/991C4M2wSg— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 16, 2017
• Max Scherzer hit 10 Ks on the night and reached double digits for the 12th time this season and 61st time in his career when he got Adam Duvall swinging to end the Reds’ half of the fifth.
• Luis Castillo’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 54 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
• Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 10 Ks, 95 P, 67 S, 0/3 GO/FO.
• Ryan Raburn crushed an 0-2 curve from Michael Lorenzen for a leadoff home run in the top of the seventh, 4-0.
Brian Goodwin walked, stole second, took third on a single by Stephen Drew and scored on a Bryce Harper liner to left on a 3-0 pitch from the Reds’ right-hander, 5-0. Daniel Murphy’s bases-loaded single made it 6-0, and that was it for Lorenzen.
• Anthony Rendon’s second home run of the night and 18th of the season was a grand slam that put the Nationals up 10-0 in the seventh.
• Enny Romero struck out the side in a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh inning after taking over on the mound for Scherzer.
• Austin Adams’ MLB debut did not go well at the start, with an error, walk, wild pitch, and hit batter loading the bases with no one out. Adams then threw four straight balls to Scooter Gennett to force in a run, 10-1. Eugenio Suarez followed with an RBI single to left, 10-2, and that was it for Adams. That was... not fun to watch.
• Oliver Perez took over with the bases still loaded and retired three straight to limit the damage.
• Trevor Gott got the ball in the ninth and gave up back-to-back hits, a single and RBI double to start the frame, 10-3. Stuart Turner singled to put runners on the corners with no one out, and Adam Duvall drove in the Reds’ fourth run, 10-4.
Scooter Gennett followed with a three-run blast, 10-7, and Dusty Baker had to go to the pen again for Matt Grace, who retired three straight to end it.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Washington improved to 40-43 with last night’s win in the series opener in Cincinnati, and the Nationals have now gone 20-17 against the Reds since 2012.
- Last night’s loss in Great American Ball Park snapped a streak of six-straight wins for the Reds when they opened the second-half at home in GABP.
- With last night’s loss, the Reds have won 5 of the last 7 games and 6 of the last 9 games against the Nationals.
- Bryce Harper’s multi-homer game in last night’s 5-0 win was the 14th multi-homer game of his career. Only six players in MLB history (since 1913) to have had more multi-home run games before their 25th birthday, Eddie Matthews (19), Hal Trosky (18) Mel Ott (17), Bob Horner (17), Boog Powell (15), and Willie Mays (15).
- Harper extended his current hit streak to nine straight games and his on-base streak to 17-straight with the first of his two home runs last night, he extended both of his streaks in the fourth.
- Washington’s offense started the night leading the NL in AVG (.277), OBP (.345), SLG (.467), hits (864), extra-base hits (325), runs scored (491) and doubles (184).
- Max Scherzer’s start in Great American Ball Park was his first career outing in Cincinnati, and his first against the Reds since 2015.
Nationals now 54-36