Max Scherzer was a late scratch before tonight’s game in Petco Park, and the 33-year-old right-hander was placed on the 10-Day Disabled list, (retroactive to August 15th), with what was described as “left neck inflammation” similar to what he dealt with in Miami, though on the other side of his neck this time.
Matt Grace was pressed into action, making his first career start in the majors, and his second start of the season (along with one at Triple-A), after working exclusively out of the ‘pen since 2013.
Grace ended up tossing 4 1⁄3 scoreless against the San Diego Padres, and the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and went on to take their second straight from the Friars, 7-1 final.
Howie Kendrick started the scoring with a leadoff home run to left off Luis Perdomo in the first at bat of the game, and the Nats added to their lead with four RBI singles by Michael A. Taylor, Adam Lind, Daniel Murphy, and Kendrick, and a sac fly by Alejandro De Aza.
After Grace, Dusty Baker pieced together the rest of the game with Shawn Kelley, Joe Blanton, Oliver Perez, Matt Albers, and Sammy Solis getting the Nationals through the game.
Nationals now 73-47
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• It didn’t take long, three pitches actually, for the Nationals to get on the board tonight, as Howie Kendrick hit a hanging-a$$ 1-1 slider from Padres’ starter Luis Perdomo off the scoreboard/facade of the second-deck in left field.
Leadoff home run for Kendrick in the first at bat of tonight’s game. 1-0. Kendrick’s seventh.
It's Friday night and we feel alright.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 19, 2017
The party's here on the west side. pic.twitter.com/PgPfy2pnJ3
• Matt Wieters showed off his speed game, beating out a potential double play on a grounder by hustling down to first, then he scored on a sharp grounder to short by Michael A. Taylor when Padres’ shortstop Dusty Coleman made a diving play before throwing it away going for the force at second, 2-0 Nationals.
• Yangervis Solarte got all of a 1-1 changeup from Matt Grace in the first at bat of the Padres’ second, but Michael A. Taylor tracked it to the wall and made a leaping catch at the 396 ft sign on the fence. Great grab, MAT.
Yoink! pic.twitter.com/qI24vIqXuT— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 19, 2017
• Grace retired the first six Padres’ hitters he faced before giving up a leadoff single by Austin Hedges in the third. Three outs later, however, the Padres’ catcher was stranded at second base.
• Carlos Asuaje (single) and Jose Pirela (walk) reached base in the first two at bats of the Padres’ fourth, but a double play grounder and lineout to right ended a 16-pitch frame that left Grace at 49 pitches.
• Grace came back out and recorded the first out of the fifth before he was lifted.
• Matt Grace’s Line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 52 P, 32 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
Goodness Grace-ous pic.twitter.com/zDPESFcERz— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 19, 2017
• Shawn Kelley took over for the Nationals with one down in the Padres’ fifth, and after retiring one batter, gave up a solo shot to left on a first-pitch fastball to Padres’ shortstop Dusty Coleman, who cut the Nats’ lead in half with his 4th of 2017, 2-1.
• Anthony Rendon broke a streak of nine-straight batters retired by Luis Perdomo with a two-out single in the fifth, and he scored from second, after a wild pitch moved him up, when Adam Lind sent an RBI single to center, 3-1.
• Joe Blanton tossed a scoreless sixth as the relievers kept coming for the Nationals.
• Andrew Stevenson singled to start the seventh, stole second, and took third on an errant throw by Austin Hedges, before scoring on a fly to left by Alejandro De Aza, that Padres’ center fielder Manuel Margot overran and missed, off the glove, 4-1.
De Aza then scored on an RBI single by Howie Kendrick, 5-1.
• Luis Perdomo's Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 94 P, 58 S, 11/1 GO/FO.
• Oliver Perez and Matt Albers combined for a scoreless seventh, and Albers came back out for the eighth and retired the Padres in order.
• Ryan Zimmerman, Wilmer Difo, and Daniel Murphy connected for singles in the ninth, with Murphy’s driving in a run, and a sac fly by Anthony Rendon put the Nationals up, 7-1.
• Sammy Solis finished things off with a scoreless bottom of the ninth. Final Score: 7-1 Nationals.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- With last night’s loss, San Diego’s advantage in the all-time series with the Washington Nationals was down to 43-37, and the Nats have gone 23-14 against the Padres since 2012.
- Washington’s 37-22 road record after last night’s win, is the third-best in the majors, and second-best in the National League.
- Ryan Zimmerman had reached base safely in 17 of his last 34 plate appearances heading into tonight’s game, and he’s 12 for 29 with two doubles, five home runs, five walks, and nine runs scored over that span (which covers eight games).
- In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Washington’s starters have posted a 2.25 ERA, good for the best ERA in the NL... in the last eight starts and 52 IP.
- In today’s Padres-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: San Diego’s starters have accumulated a 2.93 ERA, which is the third-best ERA among starters in the majors (with the Nationals ranking second-best with a 2.31 ERA)... in their last 43 IP since August 11.
- Padres’ outfielder Manuel Margot started the night with a career-long eight-game hit streak going back to August 9th, and he’s hitting .273 (9 for 33) over that stretch.
- Washington’s starters started the night leading the NL in Ks (745), and opponents’ batting average (.230), and ranked second in opponents’ OBP (.299) and SLG (.386).
- Washington’s offense started the night leading the NL in SLG (.469), runs scored (635), and extra base hits (433), and the Nationals ranked second in AVG (.277), OBP (.338), and home runs (177).
Nationals now 73-47