WASHINGTON, D.C.: Max Scherzer walked Jackie Bradley, Jr. intentionally to load the bases in front of friend and former Detroit Tigers teammate Rick Porcello, and the Boston Red Sox’ pitcher lined a base-clearing double to left for the first extra-base hit of his career and a 3-0 lead early in the first of three for the Sox in D.C. Porcello won bragging rights and the Sox won the series opener, 4-3 final in Nationals Park.
Scherzer vs the Sox: Max Scherzer had an 11-start unbeaten streak snapped with a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants back on June 10th, then took another L in a 2-0 loss to the Blue Jays on the road in Toronto.
He finished the month of June (1-3) with a 2.31 ERA and a .176/.231/.320 line against over 35 innings.
Scherzer found himself in a 3-0 hole early in the opener with the Boston Red Sox tonight in Nationals Park, when he gave up a bases-loaded, three-run double to left by his friend and former teammate, Rick Porcello, who lined a 96 mph 0-2 fastball to left after a single my Mitch Moreland, hit-by-pitch on Brock Holt, and an intentional walk to the Sox’ No. 8 hitter Jackie Bradley, Jr. set the Sox’ pitcher up with an RBI opportunity.
Scherzer was up to 73 pitches following a 35-pitch third, but he slowed things down with a nine-pitch fourth, and 12-pitch fifth.
With a runner on and two out in the sixth, Scherzer walked Bradley intentionally again, but this time he got up 0-2 and put the pitcher away with a 1-2 fastball down the pipe for strike three on his 108th and final pitch.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 Ks, 108 P, 74 S, 1/4 GO/FO.
Porcello vs the Nationals: Red Sox’ right-hander Rick Porcello went (2-1) in five June starts with a 3.48 ERA and a .218/.295/.361 line against in 31 IP on the month, which wrapped up with seven scoreless against the Minnesota Twins.
He went 5 2⁄3-inning outing against the LA Angels in his last start before tonight’s, in which he gave up eight hits, two walks, and four earned runs.
In addition to helping his own cause with a base-clearing, three-run double in his first at bat, Porcello tossed three scoreless to start the series opener with the Nationals, but he threw a first-pitch slider to Anthony Rendon in the fourth that ended up flying out to left field for a solo shot that made it a 3-1 game in the Red Sox’ favor. Rendon’s 12th.
Daniel Murphy hit a leadoff home run in the sixth, taking a first-pitch fastball to right for a solo shot that made it a one-run game, 3-2 Sox.
Rick Porcello’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 92 P, 66 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
Ban the DH: Rick Porcello has spent his entire career in the American League, with Detroit and Boston, so his at bats have been limited, and he had just five hits in 32 at bats coming into tonight’s game, none of them extra-base hits, but he somehow squared up a 96 mph, 0-2 fastball from Max Scherzer in the second, after the Nationals’ ace loaded the bases on an intentional walk to the Red Sox’ No. 8 hitter, Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Porcello lined a base-clearing three-run double to left-center field to put Boston up 3-0 early in the series opener in the nation’s capital.
#RENDONISREADY: Coming into tonight’s game, Anthony Rendon had hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games, with a .403 AVG, 10 doubles, five home runs, six walks and 13 runs over that stretch, and multi-hit games in nine of those 16. He extended it to hits in 15 of 17 with a solo shot to left in the fourth, getting the Nationals on the board with his 12th of 2018.
BULLPEN ACTION: Brandon Kintzler took over for the Nationals in the seventh, after a solo shot to right by Daniel Murphy made it a one-run game, but it was two-run game after three pitches when Mookie Betts hit a 2-1 sinker to left for his 21st home run of the season, 4-2.
Matt Barnes took over Porcello in the bottom of the seventh and worked around a single and a walk for a scoreless frame.
Tim Collins worked around a one-out single for a scoreless eighth, and Red Sox’ righty Joe Kelly fell behind Bryce Harper and threw him a 2-0 fastball that ended up halfway up in the second deck in right field. Harper’s 21st, 4-3 Red Sox.
A two-out walk to Mark Reynolds ended Kelly’s night.
Craig Kimbrel came out looking for the first out of a four-out save against Michael A. Taylor. They went to a full count, but Taylor popped out to right to end the threat.
Shawn Kelley tossed a scoreless top of the ninth to keep it close, but Kimbrel came back in the bottom of the ninth and worked around a two-out walk to earn the save.
Final Score: 4-3 Red Sox
Nationals now 42-41