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Max Scherzer scores winning run in extras after pinch hit single in 14th, 5-3 Nationals over the Braves...

With no one but their backup catcher left on the bench, Max Scherzer got a pinch hit appearance in the 14th, singled, and scored the winning run, 5-3 final.

Washington Nationals  v Atlanta Braves Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Gio Gonzalez retired the first 12 batters he faced before giving up back-to-back-to-back hits in the Atlanta fifth, two singles (by Nick Markakis and Tyler Flowers) and a three-run blast by Johan Camargo that put the Braves ahead 3-2 after five. Juan Soto hit a solo homer to right in the seventh, however, tying it up at 3-3, and they went to extras in SunTrust Park, but in the 14th, Max Scherzer connected for a pinch hit single with one out, and scored from first base for the eventual winning run on an RBI triple by Wilmer Difo, 5-3 final.

GIO vs ATL: Gio Gonzalez took a six-start unbeaten streak to the mound today in SunTrust Park, over which the 32-year-old left-hander was (4-0) with the Nationals 4-1 in his outings. [ed. note - “Not a typo.”]

In 37 23 innings pitched over that stretch, the lone left-hander in the Nationals’ rotation put up a 1.43 ERA, 16 walks, 34 Ks, and a .201/.283/.306 line against, but this afternoon he was facing an Atlanta Braves team he’s struggled against over the course of his career, with an ugly (5-11) record and 5.11 ERA in 22 starts before today.

Gonzalez got off to a good start, setting down the first 12 batters he faced before giving up back-to-back singles ... and a three-run home run with Nick Markakis breaking up the lefty’s bid for perfection then taking third on a Tyler Flowers’ single before both came around on a bomb to center (430 ft) by Johan Camargo, 3-2 Braves.

After the blast, he retired three in a row to end the fifth, and then worked around a two-out double by Freddie Freeman in the sixth.

Gonzalez came back out for the seventh after a Juan Soto home run tied things up at 3-3, and gave up a two-out single, but nothing else.

Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 102 P, 69 S, 5/1 GO/FO.

Brandon McCarthyism: Brandon McCarthy put together two solid outings in May, but made five starts total, over which the veteran right-hander had a 7.46 ERA, seven walks, 20 Ks, and a .373/.410/.545 line against in 25 13 IP.

This afternoon in Atlanta, Georgia’s SunTrust Park, the 34-year-old was facing the Nationals for the second time in 2018 after holding Nats’ hitters a run on four hits in five innings when he faced them in Nationals Park back on April 11th.

McCarthy gave up two runs early when Michael A. Taylor hit a 2-1 curveball to center field for a two-run home run after Juan Soto singled with one down for the Nats’ first hit, 2-0.

Taylor’s 5th of 2018...

McCarthy retired 14 of the next 16 batters of Taylor’s blast, working around singles by Bryce Harper in the third and Soto in the fourth to complete six innings on 84 pitches. That was it for McCarthy.

Brandon McCarthy’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 84 P, 63 S, 7/2 GO/FO.

MAT GOES Y-A-R-D!: Michael A. Taylor has been swinging a hot bat on the current road trip, and he got an endorsement as the Nationals’ everyday center fielder from his manager on Friday, though he got the night off (only coming on late as a defensive replacement).

Coming into this afternoon’s matchup in SunTrust Park, Taylor was 8 for 25 (.320/.414/.640), with three doubles, a triple, and a home run over the last eight games (seven starts).

He got hold of a 2-1 curve from Braves’ starter Brandon McCarthy in the top of the second, hitting his fifth home run of the season, which was just his second over his last 28 games and 109 plate appearances.

Turn, Turn, Turner: With a single in the ninth inning last night, Trea Turner extended his hit streak to 13-straight games, over which the Nats’ shortstop has gone 16 for 57 (.281 AVG) with four doubles, a home run, seven RBIs, two walks, three steals, and six runs scored, and he entered the third of three with the Braves in SunTrust Park leading all NL shortstops in OBP (.357), runs scored (32), walks (30), stolen bases (16), and fWAR (1.6).

Turner went 0 for 3 against Brandon McCarthy, putting his streak in jeopardy, and he struck out in an eight-inning at bat against Shane Carle, 0 for 4.

Turner ended up going 0 for 7 with five Ks on the day.

BULLPEN ACTION: Lefty Sam Freeman took over on the mound for the Braves in the top of the seventh, with a one-run lead, and gave it up on an 0-2 splitter up in the zone to rookie outfielder Juan Soto that the 19-year-old hit out to right field for a game-tying solo shot, 3-3. Soto’s third hit of the game, 3 for 3, and second home run of the season.

Braves’ righty Shane Carle tossed a scoreless top of the eighth to keep it tied, 3-3.

Ryan Madson got the bottom of the eighth for the Nationals, and retired the Braves in order.

A.J. Minter tossed a quick, 1-2-3 top of the ninth. Sammy Solis got the bottom of the inning for the Nationals, in his 31st appearance in 57 games, and retired two batters before Davey Martinez went to the pen with right-handed hitting catcher Tyler Flowers due up.

Shawn Kelley came on for the Nats and fell behind 3-1, got a full count, and threw a 92 mph fastball by the Braves’ catcher to send it to extras.

Peter Moylan retired the 10th, 11th, and 12th straight Nationals following Soto’s home run in a quick, 16-pitch top of the tenth inning.

Brandon Kintzler needed just eight pitches to get through the bottom of the tenth, after which the Nationals’ bullpen had set down nine in a row.

Jesse Biddle hit Brian Goodwin in the first at bat of the eleventh, and Goodwin stole second as Bryce Harper K’d swinging for the second out of the frame. Anthony Rendon was walked intentionally to get to Mark Reynolds, who took the second consecutive walk to load’em up for Juan Soto, who fell behind, 1-2, and got punched out by the third base ump on a really questionable check-swing strike three.

Justin Miller tried to keep it tied in the bottom of the eleventh, and did, completing a 17-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.

Biddle tossed a scoreless top of the twelfth, working around a two-out single by Spencer Kieboom.

Miller came back out for the bottom of the twelfth, and retired the 14th, 15th, and 16th straight Braves’ batters. Still 3-3.

In his third inning of work in the 13th, Biddle struck out the side to keep it tied. Miller came back out too, and made it 19-straight outs for Nats’ pitchers.

Miguel Socolovich gave up a one-out single by pinch hitter Max Scherzer, and two outs later, he scored on an RBI triple to right-center by Wilmer Difo, 4-3.

Difo scored on an RBI single by Spencer Kieboom, 5-3.

Sean Doolittle came on for the save opportunity in the bottom of the 14th, and threw a quick scoreless frame.


Final Score: 5-3 Nationals

Nationals now 33-24