Max Scherzer retired the first ten batters he faced, took a no-hit bid into the fifth, and held the Miami Marlins to two hits total in eight innings in which one unearned run crossed the plate in what ended up a 9-1 win for the Washington Nationals. He also picked up 11 Ks for 200 total in 2018.
Matt Adams (RBI single), Juan Soto (solo HR), and Bryce Harper (sac fly) drove in runs in the first three innings (with Scherzer scoring from third on a wild pitch for the fourth in the first three).
Soto’s home run was his 13th of the season, and he finished the night 3 for 4, a double shy of the cycle.
The win was Washington’s third straight overall and their eighth in nine games against their divisional rivals from Miami this season.
Scherzer vs the Fish: Max Scherzer went (2-0) in his first two starts against the Marlins this season, in spite of the fact that he put up a 5.54 ERA and a .269/.333/.577 line against in 13 innings pitched in those outings. He took the mound tonight in Miami trying to win a fourth straight decision overall after beating the Marlins, Mets, and Braves the last three times out.
He talked after the start against Atlanta last time out about the difficulty of facing division rivals on a regular basis, noting that the teams in the NL East, “know everything I’ve got.”
The back-to-back NL Cy Young winner took the mound (9-3) in 16 starts against Miami, with a 3.51 ERA, 23 walks (2.02 BB/9), 109 Ks (9.56 K/9) and a .232/.285/.414 line against in 102 2⁄3 IP against the Marlins in his career.
Scherzer retired the first nine Marlins’ batters, completing three scoreless and hitless on 30 pitches, striking out four of the first nine batters he faced. He hit the 11th batter, putting the Marlins’ right fielder, Brian Anderson, on with one out in the bottom of the fourth, but got a force at second on a J.T. Realmuto grounder to short, and a swinging K from Justin Bour to complete four hitless on just 44 pitches.
Martin Prado ended any hope of a no-hitter with a one-out single to center in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Scherzer stranded the second runner to reach base and completed his fifth scoreless on 55 pitches.
Scherzer worked around an error (E:4) in a 20-pitch sixth, striking out three batters for nine Ks total on the night.
Mark Reynolds was charged with two E:5s on a ground ball toward third base off the bat of Starlin Castro with one out in the seventh.
Martin Prado hit another grounder his way in the next at bat that Reynolds couldn’t handle, allowing Castro to score from second for the first run of the game for the Marlins, 4-1.
A leadoff walk and one-out single put two on with two out in the bottom of the eighth, with Scherzer up to 103 pitches, but he picked up his 11th K of the night (which was his 200th of the season) and completed an 18-pitch frame that left him at 106 total.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 106 P, 74 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Lopez vs the Nationals: Marlins’ rookie Pablo Lopez gave up five hits, two walks, and five runs in five innings when he faced the Nationals in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, receiving no decision in what ended up a 14-12 loss for Miami.
Three of the hits, two of the walks, and four of the runs he allowed came in a rough, 36-pitch fifth that ended his outing.
“I didn’t have my best secondary stuff and you could see that towards the end of the game, they were on the fastball,” Lopez said.
“I feel like I was trying to be too fine with some of those pitches, instead of just letting them swing the bat and make them hit a ground ball.
“I was being too fine, and then I needed to throw the pitch in the zone and that’s when later on they put good swings [on them] when I did come in the zone.”
Lopez found himself behind early tonight in Marlins Park, with Trea Turner doubling on a 2-2 fastball with one down in the first and scoring on a two-out single by Matt Adams, 1-0. Juan Soto hit a solo shot to right off Lopez in the first at bat of the second, and the Nationals put up two more in the third, with Max Scherzer singling, taking third on an Adam Eaton double, and scoring on a wild pitch. Eaton took third on a groundout and scored on a sac fly to left field by Bryce Harper, 4-0.
Lopez kept it at 4-0 through 5 2⁄3 innings, but a hit-by-pitch on Max Scherzer’s left elbow put two on in the sixth and ended his night.
Pablo Lopez’s Line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 58 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Tune in Turner On: Trea Turner finished a double short of the cycle last night, in the series opener in Miami, but he picked up a two-base hit in his first at bat tonight, lining a one-out double to center on a 2-2 fastball from Pablo Lopez, and he scored one out later on an RBI single by Matt Adams, who lined a 93 mph first-pitch fastball back up the middle. Turner’s first hit of the night was his 14th in 40 ABs against the Marlins this season (.350 AVG). He went 2 for 5 overall.
Trea Turner is all of us watching Juan Soto hit. pic.twitter.com/8lY8Mg4qsc— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 27, 2018
#JuanPursuit: Juan Soto hit a 95 mph 2-2 fastball out to right-center in the second, putting the Nationals up 2-0 on Pablo Lopez and the Marlins.
It was Soto’s 13th home run, tying NY Yankees’ legend Mickey Mantle for the seventh-most HRs by a teenager in MLB history.
Mantle hit 13 in 96 games and 396 plate appearances as a 19-year-old rookie in 1951. Soto’s 13th came in his 58th game and 237th PA.
Next on the list?: Phil Cavarretta, who hit 14 HRs as a teenager with the Chicago Cubs in 1934-36.
Soto was 2 for 4 on the night after he lined a 2-2 fastball from Elieser Hernandez to left with two out in the seventh, taking second base on a miscue in the outfield by Cameron Maybin.
BULLPEN ACTION: Elieser Hernandez took over for the Marlins with two on and two out in the top of the sixth and walked Adam Eaton to load them up in front of Trea Turner, who K’d looking at a low 3-2 fastball outside to end the threat.
Juan Soto singled on an opposite field liner and Hernandez walked Daniel Murphy (IBB) with two out in the top of the seventh, but Mark Reynolds sent a fly to center to end a scoreless inning by the Marlins’ reliever.
Javy Guerra gave up five runs in the top of the eighth with Bryce Harper driving in a run with a two-out opposite field single, Matt Adams driving in a run with a line drive to center, Juan Soto driving in two with a triple to center, and Daniel Murphy driving Soto in with a single to right field, 9-1.
Kyle Barraclough tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, and Sammy Solis wrapped things up with a scoreless bottom of the inning.
Final Score: 9-1 Nationals
Nationals now 52-51