Max Scherzer gave up four runs total and just one home run in the first innings of his first 19 starts of 2017 before tonight.
In the home-half of the first in Arizona, Scherzer gave up three solo home runs to the first three batters he faced in the Nationals’ series opener with the Diamondbacks in Chase Field.
The D-Backs added a fourth run on a two-out RBI single in what ended up a 37-pitch first for Scherzer, and scored one more in the second to take a 5-0 lead.
Washington battled back to get within one after six, however, with Scherzer holding the home team off the board after the second, and the Nationals tied it up at 5-5 in the eighth with a Wilmer Difo groundout bringing Anthony Rendon in from third to complete the comeback, but it wasn’t tied for long.
A.J. Pollock tripled off Enny Romero (on a 99 mph two-strike heater) to start the ninth, and after Dusty Baker loaded the bases with two intentional passes, Brandon Drury hit a one-out, walk-off single to win it, 6-5 D-Backs.
Nationals now 57-38
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• David Peralta (on a 93 mph 2-1 fastball), A.J. Pollock (on a 96 mph 2-0 heater), and Jake Lamb (on a 1-1 slider) hit back-to-back-to-back homers off Max Scherzer to start the bottom of the first inning and put the D-Backs up 3-0 early.
• Before tonight, in his 19 starts, Scherzer had allowed just one home run, and four earned runs total in the first innings of his outings.
Back-to-back-to-back @Dbacks. pic.twitter.com/XK5szMndWR— MLB (@MLB) July 22, 2017
• Jeff Mathis hit a two-out liner to left that a charging Ryan Raburn couldn’t get to and Paul Goldschmidt scored to make it 4-0 Arizona, as the D-Backs matched the run total Scherzer had allowed in the 19 first innings he pitched this season before tonight.
• Pollock and Lamb hit back-to-back, one-out doubles to right field in the second, with Pollock (No. 16) scoring on Lamb’s 20th two-base hit of 2017, 5-0. Scherzer was up to 55 pitches total after two.
• Bryce Harper broke up Zack Godley’s nascent no-hit bid with a one-out double to left-center in the fourth, (No. 23 for Harper), and he scored on a two-out, opposite field RBI double by Daniel Murphy, whose 31st double of the season made it 5-1 D-Backs.
• Harper also extended his career-best hit-streak to 14-straight games with the two-base hit, after he’d extended his on-base streak to 22-straight with a walk in his first plate appearance.
• Matt Wieters doubled to right to start the fifth, and after a Wilmer Difo walk, moved to third on a Max Scherzer bunt before scoring on a groundout to the pitcher by Brian Goodwin, 5-2. Ryan Raburn drove Difo in with a two-out liner to center, 5-3.
• Scherzer struck out the side in the fifth, giving him nine Ks total on 98 pitches as he settled in after the rough start.
• Daniel Murphy singled with one down, and Anthony Rendon (you guessed it) walked in the next at bat, but Godley struck Matt Wieters out for the second out of the top of the sixth before he was lifted in favor of reliever Andrew Chafin, who gave up an RBI single to right by Wilmer Difo, 5-4.
ONE RUN GAME! pic.twitter.com/ANBC1K1oPc— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 22, 2017
• Zack Godley’s Line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 10 Ks, 95 P, 55 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
• Max Scherzer’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 9 Ks, 3 HRs, 98 P, 63 S, 3/1 GO/FO.
• Joe Blanton and Matt Grace combined for a scoreless sixth, to keep it a one-run game, 5-4 D-Backs.
• Grace came back out for the seventh and struck out the side.
• Daniel Murphy (3 for 4, 2 doubles) led off the eighth with a two-base hit to center on a 95 mph 2-1 fastball from Archie Bradley, but he got caught off second on a grounder back to the mound off Anthony Rendon’s bat in the next AB. Matt Wieters bounced a one-out double off the wall in left-center to send Rendon around to third and put the tying run 90 feet from home, and a Wilmer Difo grounder brought Rendon in, 5-5.
• Ryan Madson gave up a one-out double to left by D-Backs’ shortstop Ketel Marte in the bottom of the eighth inning, and a walk to Jeff Mathis, earning himself a visit to the mound from pitching coach Mike Maddux before he retired the next two batters to keep it tied.
• Fernando Rodney (with some help from Ketel Marte on a sliding backhand stab and strong throw to first on a Bryce Harper grounder) retired the Nationals in order in the top of the ninth.
• Enny Romero gave up a leadoff triple to center field by A.J. Pollock on a 99 mph 1-1 fastball, so Dusty Baker issued consecutive intentional walks to load’em up and set up an out at any plate. Romero popped Blanco up for the first out of the inning, but Brandon Drury hit a single through the right side for a walk-off winner.
FINAL SCORE: 6-5 D-Backs.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Washington’s won 25 of the last 36 and 16 of the last 21 against the Arizona D-Backs, with a 12-4 record in the last 17 in Chase Field.
- Washington’s 31-18 record on the road this season is the second-best in the majors, behind only the Houston Astros (33-11).
- Arizona’s 33-15 home record is the second-best in the majors, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers (39-12).
- Bryce Harper started the night with a 13-game it streak going, over which he’s 24 for 51 (.471 AVG) with three doubles, a triple, six homers, 10 walks, and 19 runs scored.
- Harper also has a 21-game on-base streak going heading into tonight’s game.
- Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon started the night ranked second in the majors in fWAR at (5.0), behind only the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge (5.3 fWAR).
- In today’s “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” update: Anthony Rendon is 37 for 90 (.411 AVG), with nine doubles, nine homers, 19 walks and 21 runs scored... since June 15th.
- Washington’s offense started the night leading the NL in AVG (.278), OBP (.345), SLG (.473), hits (917), extra-base hits (347), and runs scored (525).
- D-Backs’ starter Zack Godley’s .199 BAA is the third-lowest in the NL, behind only Alex Wood (.183) and Max Scherzer (.162).
- Max Scherzer started the night (5-0) with a 2.41 ERA in six career starts vs the D-Backs.
Nationals now 57-38