Max Scherzer hit his first career home run (a three-run blast) in his 308th career plate appearance in the top of the second tonight in Miami, then left the mound after one warmup pitch before the bottom of the inning with what was later described as neck spasms.
Scherzer took the mound for the bottom of the second, but threw the one warmup pitch well wide of the plate and immediately gestured to the dugout he was done.
In a rare instance of the team breaking with Washington’s long-standing policy of not announcing injury information during games, the Nationals issued an announcement in the press box in Marlins Park, letting reporters know that Scherzer slept funny, and was dealing with the neck spasms.
Scherzer’s home run put the Nationals up 4-0 early, and Howie Kendrick’s two-run blast in the second made it a 6-0 game, but the Marlins got to the Nats’ bullpen, scoring one in the third, two in the fourth, and four in the fifth inning to take a 7-6 lead with a home run by Marcell Ozuna in the fifth tying things up before Derek Dietrich hit an RBI triple to put the Fish ahead for good, 7-6 final.
Nationals now 63-42
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Daniel Murphy ended an 0 for 11 stretch at the plate with a leadoff, line drive double to right in the top of the second, and he scored when Anthony Rendon lined a second consecutive two-bagger to center field. Murphy’s 34th. Rendon’s 25th. 1-0 Nats early in Miami.
• Brian Goodwin beat out an infield single one out later in the second, sending Rendon over to third, and Max Scherzer stepped in next, and after failing to get a bunt down, he faked like he’d try again on an 0-2 pitch and pulled back and launched a three-run bomb to left on an 82 mph cutter. 4-0 Nationals.
Scherzer’s first career home run in his 308th career plate appearance... it. was. majestic.:
• Howie Kendrick took Chris O’Grady deep after Wilmer Difo singled, sending a two-run blast to center to put the Nationals up 6-0 in the second.
• Max Scherzer threw one warmup pitch before the bottom of the second, threw it well wide of home, and motioned to the dugout that he was unable to continue, making a throat-slashing “I’m done” gesture before leaving the game with what the Nationals later announced were “neck spasms” after he slept wrong on it last night.
• Miguel Rojas tripled off Matt Grace in the Nats’ left-hander’s second inning of work in the third, and scored one out later on a groundout, 6-1.
• Marcell Ozuna singled, and J.T. Realmuto walked to start the fourth, with Grace still on the mound, and both runners moved up on a groundout before Ozuna scored on a sac fly by Tomas Telis, 6-2. Rojas drove Realmuto in with a two-out liner to center on a 3-2 sinker from Grace, 6-3.
• Sammy Solis finished up the fourth and came back out for the fifth inning, giving up a Dee Gordon single, a walk to Giancarlo Stanton, and recording one out before he was lifted in favor of Matt Albers, who gave up a game-tying three-run homer by Marcell Ozuna, 3-3. Ozuna crushed a 2-2 sinker knee-high inside and sent it sailing out to left for a no-doubter.
• J.T. Realmuto singled after the homer, and scored on an RBI triple to center by Derek Dietrich, 7-6 Fish.
• Oliver Perez worked around a two-out Giancarlo Stanton single in nine-pitch sixth inning.
• Howie Kendrick was 4 for 4 (with the two-run homer) after he singled off Marlins’ right-hander Drew Steckenrider to lead off the seventh, but he was stranded three outs later, still 7-6 Fish.
• Junichi Tazawa retired the Nationals in order in the eighth, and after Joe Blanton’s second scoreless frame, Brad Ziegler came on for the save opportunity and retired the first two Nationals he faced in order, but Howie Kendrick (5 for 5) singled to keep hope alive and get Bryce Harper up, and Harper... singled to right field to send Kendrick to third. Harper almost got picked off first when the Marlins threw behind him.
Ryan Zimmerman stepped in with runners on the corners, and grounded out to third.
Ballgame, 7-6 Marlins.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Miami held a 119-107 lead in the all-time series with Washington heading into tonight’s game, though the Nationals have a 51-32 record against the Marlins since 2013.
- Washington’s offense started the night leading the NL in AVG (.275), SLG (.474), runs scored (575), hits (tied, 1,003), extra-base hits (391), and home runs (158).
- The Marlins’ streak of 11 consecutive games with at least three runs was snapped in last night’s 1-0 loss to the Nationals.
- Max Scherzer (201 Ks on the season), is one of just 23 pitchers since 1913 to post at least six seasons of 200+ Ks.
- Anthony Rendon started the night at 5.3 fWAR, leading the NL, and third in the majors, behind only the Astros’ Jose Altuve (5.6) and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (5.9).
- Dee Gordon started the night with an 11-game hit streak, over which he was 17 for 49 (.347 AVG).
- Max Scherzer started the night lading the majors in opponents’ batting average (.170), WHIP (0.85), and hits allowed per nine innings (5.39), and he was ranked first in the NL in Ks (201), K/9 (12.45), and opponents’ SLG (.312).
- Marlins’ starter Chris O’Grady started the night with a .143 BAA vs LHBs, and a .288 BAA against right-handers this season (in four starts).
Nationals now 63-42