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Nationals avoid sweep with 15-2 win over Giants: Max Scherzer Ks 10 in six in AT&T

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Max Scherzer put together a solid start and the Nats’ bats woke up in time to avoid a sweep in AT&T Park with an 18-hit, 15-run barrage in the series finale.

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Washington Nationals  v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Max Scherzer struck out 10 of the 25 batters he faced in a six-inning, 99-pitch outing, and the Washington Nationals provided plenty of run support for their ace as they avoided a three-game sweep with a 15-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in the series finale in AT&T Park.

Andrew Stevenson had a big day at the plate, going 4 for 5 with two doubles, one walk, two runs scored, and four RBIs. Trea Turner picked up five hits, going 5 for 6 with a double, and Matt Adams went 3 for 5 with a three-run home run, two-run double, two runs scored, and six RBIs.

Scherzer vs the Giants: Max Scherzer took the mound this afternoon trying to bring an end to the Nationals’ four-game losing streak and extend his personal three-start winning streak, which went back to his second start of the season.

Over those three starts, the 33-year-old right-hander had a 1.23 ERA, four walks (1.64 BB/9), 30 Ks (12.27 K/9), and an .099/.169/.183 line against in 22 IP.

Scherzer had already helped bring an end to three and five-game losing streaks this season and he was put in the role of stopper again today in AT&T Park, in the finale of the Nationals’ three-game set with the San Francisco Giants.

Scherzer took the mound with a 3-0 lead, courtesy of a two-out RBI single by Matt Adams and a two-run double by Andrew Stevenson, and tossed a quick, scoreless first, but back-to-back, one-out doubles in the second inning by Brandon Crawford and Nick Hundley got the Giants on the board, down 3-1 after two.

With three runs in the fourth and two more in the top of the fifth, the Nats gave Scherzer an 8-1 lead, and he worked around a walk in a 17-pitch bottom of the fifth, which left him at 72 pitches total on the day.

Brandon Belt hit a one-out triple into Triples Alley in the Giants’ half of the sixth, and scored on a double to right field by Pablo Sandoval in the next at bat, 10-2. Scherzer wrapped up a 27-pitch frame with his 10th K on his 99th overall pitch.

Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 Ks, 99 P, 74 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

S-a-m-a-r-d-z-i-j-a [DING!]: Giants’ starter Jeff Samardzija dealt with a strained pectoral muscle this Spring, so he didn’t make his 2018 debut until last week (4/20). In that start, Samardzija threw five scoreless on 80 pitches, working around two hits and four walks, earning the decision in an 8-1 win over the LA Angels.

Samardzija fell behind 1-0 this afternoon when Wilmer Difo singled, took second base on a wild pitch, third on a fly to center, and scored on two-out RBI single by Matt Adams, 1-0.

Michael A. Taylor walked in the next at bat, and Andrew Stevenson hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run double to left to make it 3-0 early in the series finale in AT&T.

Matt Adams was 1 for 2 on the day and 8 for 16 career vs Samardzija when he stepped in with two on in the fourth and hit a 2-1 fastball to right for a three-run blast.

Make that 9 for 17 with two doubles and three home runs vs Samardzija, and 6-1 Nationals.

That was it for the Giants’ starter...

Jeff Samardzija’s Line: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 86 P, 51 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

Safety Squeeze Happy: Davey Martinez apparently likes the safety squeeze. Martinez’s Nats have pulled off a couple already this season, but they blew an early opportunity to add runs to their lead when one went awry in the third.

Michael A. Taylor and Andrew Stevenson hit back-to-back, one-out singles, with Taylor taking third on the Stevenson hit, but he stopped short on the way home when Adrian Sanchez bunted toward third base and Jeff Samardzija jumped on it and threw home to start a rundown. #Daveyalwaysbesqueezing

Stevenson = Hair Bat on Fire: In limited action (5 games) since he was called up, Andrew Stevenson was 1 for 5 going into today’s game. Davey Martinez gave him a start, and the Nationals’ 2015 2nd Round pick collected hits in each of his first three at bats, doubling in the first to drive in two runs, and singling in each of his next two trips to the plate.

Stevenson scored his first run of the game in the fifth, when he and Adrian Sanchez came in on a two-out, two-run single through the right side by Trea Turner off of Giants’ right-hander Pierce Johnson that made it an 8-1 game.

His fourth hit of the day was a two-out double to center in the sixth (4 for 4, 2 2B, 3 RBIs) that drove Michael A. Taylor in to make it a 9-1 game.

It was 11-2 when Stevenson stepped in looking for a fifth hit with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh and... he walked to force in the Nationals’ 13th run, 12-2.

Stevenson flew out to left in the ninth. BOO!! 4 for 5 on the day.

Turner Too: Trea Turner joined Andrew Stevenson with his own fourth hit of the game in the top of the seventh inning, taking 1-1 change from Josh Osich to left field, just out of a diving Gregor Blanco’s reach for a one-out double, his 5th of 2018. 4 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBIs. Turner came home from third on a wild pitch to make it 11-2 in the seventh. He picked up his fifth hit (5 for 6) with a single in the eighth, that sent Pedro Severino around to third before he scored to make it 13-2 Nationals.

BULLPEN ACTION: Trevor Gott threw a scoreless, 13-pitch seventh after taking over on the mound for Scherzer, and Austin L. Adams worked a scoreless eighth. Carlos Torres got the ninth, and worked around a one-out hit-by-pitch for a scoreless frame. Ballgame.

Final Score: 15-2 Nationals

Nationals now 11-14