Bryce Harper was 0 for 1 with three walks as the St. Louis Cardinals did their best to not let him beat them all afternoon, but the Washington Nationals’ outfielder finally got something to hit and he hit hit, out to center for a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth as the Nats knotted things up at 3-3, and then he hit a walk-off sac fly to left in the tenth to win it, 4-3 final.
Scherzer vs St. Louis: Max Scherzer posted a 1.89 ERA with nine walks, 49 Ks, and a stingy .165/.224/.301 line against in six starts and 38 innings pitched in August, wrapping up the month with a five-inning, 99-pitch outing against the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park last week.
“I threw a lot of good pitches today,” Scherzer told reporters after receiving no decision in what ended up a 5-4 win for Washington.
“They did a heck of a job of fouling a lot of pitches off and grinding AB’s,” he added, though he managed to avoid walking anyone in what ended up a relatively brief outing.
Going up against the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon in the nation’s capital, Scherzer gave up a one-out single and a walk, and, after he balked both runners into scoring position, a two-out, two-run single to left by Paul DeJong, who hit a hanging 1-0 slider down the line to put the Cards up 2-0 early.
Scherzer struck out three in the first, picked up two Ks in the second, and added two more in the third for seven total, and he was up to eight Ks and nine straight batters retired after his 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth. He added his ninth K in the fifth, and was up to 12-straight batters set down after a 15-pitch frame.
Yairo Munoz ended the streak of retired Cardinals with a solo home run to right on an 0-2 fastball from Scherzer in the first at bat of the sixth, 3-1.
We lead 3-1 as we stretch at Nationals Park. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/xc3Bb7X02f— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 3, 2018
Scherzer came back out for the top of the seventh at 96 pitches, and picked up his 10th and 11th Ks in a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 frame that left him at 104 pitches with 18 of 19 batters retired after Harrison Bader’s leadoff single in the second.
This is the 79th 10+ strikeout game of Max Scherzer's career.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 3, 2018
It's his 15th of 2018. pic.twitter.com/OZ3n91AlzM
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 1 HR, 104 P, 73 S, 3/5 GO/FO.
Max Scherzer passed Dennis Eckersley, moving into 45th place on @MLB's all-time strikeout list. pic.twitter.com/2skf5SWRnA— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 3, 2018
250 Ks... again!: With Max Scherzer’s first strikeout of the day this afternoon, he reached 250 Ks for the fifth consecutive season, moving ahead of Fergie Jenkins (Cubs, 1968-1971) and Pedro Martinez (Expos/Red Sox, 1997-2000) who each did it in four straight years, so that he trails only Randy Johnson (Mariners/Astros/D-backs, 1997-2002) who did it in six straight seasons around the turn of the century. Scherzer picked up 11 Ks total on the day.
2️⃣5️⃣0️⃣ Ks for Mad Max. pic.twitter.com/VCjVja9t7t— MLB (@MLB) September 3, 2018
Flaherty vs Washington: Jack Flaherty, 22, took the mound this afternoon in Nationals Park unbeaten in his last five outings (4-0) with a 1.13 ERA, nine walks, 38 Ks, and a .136/.212/.223 line against in 32 IP over that stretch.
The 2014 1st Round pick tossed seven strong in his last start before today’s, holding the Pittsburgh Pirates to a run on four hits in a 4-2 win in St. Louis.
Flaherty gave up a run on the first hit he surrendered this afternoon when Trea Turner hit a 96 mph 0-1 fastball out to left for a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the first inning, 2-1 Cards. Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, and Ryan Zimmerman all walked to load the bases with two out and push Flaherty up to 29 pitches in the first, but Wilmer Difo K’d swinging to end the threat.
A walk to Bryce Harper, double by Anthony Rendon, and intentional pass to Juan Soto in the fifth loaded the bases again against the Cards’ starter, but Ryan Zimmerman sent a fly to left field for out No. 3 of the home-half of the fifth.
Jack Flaherty’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 96 P, 54 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
22 years old with an ERA of 2.83 this season pic.twitter.com/6AiNam8fAh— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 3, 2018
Turn, Turn, Turner: With his one-out home run in the first, Trea Turner had reached base safely in 11 of his last 13 games, going 17 for 51 (.333 AVG) with two doubles, two homers, five RBIs, four walks, three stolen bases, and eight runs scored over that stretch, and he ended up going 1 for 3 with a walk on the day.
BULLPEN ACTION: John Brebbia came on in relief for the Cards in the sixth, striking out the side in a 19-pitch frame.
Carlos Martinez got the seventh for St. Louis and stranded two runners in a scoreless, 16-pitch frame.
Pet Peeve Alert: Martinez walked two in a row with one out, and then the next two batters (Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto) swung and flew and grounded out, respectively on the first pitch each saw. Grrrrrrrrrr.
Jimmy Cordero hit the first batter he faced in the Cardinals’ eighth, an issued an intentional walk to Matt Carpenter, then Yairo Munoz singled (3 for 4) to load the bases and force Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez to go to the pen for Justin Miller.
Miller got a 4-2-3 DP on a grounder to second by pinch hitter Jose Martinez, two down, and struck Marcell Ozuna out to end the threat.
Jordan Hicks got the eighth for the Cardinals and worked around a one-out double to keep it a 3-1 game in the Cards’ favor.
Greg Holland retired the side in a 15-pitch top of the ninth.
Bud Norris walked Adam Eaton to start the Nationals’ half of the ninth, and one out later, gave up a game-tying, two-run home run by Bryce Harper (No. 31) on a 96 mph 3-1 pitch that sailed out to center field and landed on the batting eye green, 3-3. Juan Soto took a third walk on the day in the next at bat to give Ryan Zimmerman a shot, and Zimmerman singled to end Norris’s outing.
Chasen Shreve came on to face Wilmer Difo, who worked the count full after falling behind 0-2, and walked to load the bases for catcher Matt Wieters, who K’d swinging to send it to extras.
Holland returned in the top of the tenth, and issued a leadoff walk to Francisco Pena that was erased on a 4-3 DP in the next AB. Matt Carpenter K’d swinging to end the inning.
Mark Reynolds doubled to right off Shreve to start the Nationals’ tenth, sending a fly to the wall that outfielder Tyler O’Neill got a glove on but couldn’t catch. Adam Eaton bunted the runner (Michael A. Taylor) over to third in the next at bat, and beat the throw to first. Bryce Harper stepped in next with runners on the corners and hit a sac fly to left for the walk-off winner...
Final Score: 4-3 Nationals
Nationals now 69-69