Max Scherzer reached double digits in strikeouts for the 80th time in his career and 16th time in 2018 and the Washington Nationals snapped a three-game losing streak, beating Chicago’s Cubs 10-3 in the first game of today’s doubleheader in D.C.
Scherzer vs the Cubs: Max Scherzer tossed seven scoreless innings against Chicago back on August 12th in Wrigley Field, striking out 11 of the 25 batters he faced in what ended up being a 4-3 loss when the bullpen blew a lead in the bottom of the ninth inning.
In four starts since, the defending, back-to-back, NL Cy Young award winner was (1-1) with a 2.88 ERA, six walks, 33 Ks, and a .172/.234/.310 line against in 25 IP, before going up against the Cubs again today.
Going up against the Cubs today, the Nationals’ ace tossed four scoreless on 41 pitches, with 11-straight set down after a Tommy La Stella double with one out in the first.
With the score 3-0 Nationals, a 1-2-3 fifth gave Scherzer 14 in a row retired, and he picked up two Ks in the 12-pitch frame for six on the night on 53 pitches.
Ian Happ took a cutter to the elbow with one down in the sixth, ending Scherzer’s streak of retired batters at 15, and Daniel Murphy lined a first-pitch curve to left for the Cubs’ second hit of the game in the next at bat, but La Stella sent a sharp grounder up the middle to start an inning-ending 6-3 DP.
A five-run bottom of the sixth made it 8-0 Nationals, but Victor Caratini, Ben Zobrist and Willson Contreras singled off Scherzer in the seventh to get the Cubs on the board, 8-1.
It was 10-1 when Scherzer returned to the mound in the eighth and picked up two Ks for 10 total on the way to a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 frame that left him at 92 total after eight.
Hi, is there a penalty for scoring too much? pic.twitter.com/pUO23nmpBQ— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) September 8, 2018
Scherzer came back out for the ninth and gave up three straight singles as the Cubs loaded the bases, and a sac fly by Taylor Davis made it a 10-2 game. Addison Russell added another single, 10-3. That was it for the Cubs...
Max Scherzer’s Line: 9.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 Ks, 111 P, 83 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
Garcia vs the Nationals: Jaime Garcia was released by the Toronto Blue Jays on August 29th and quickly snatched up by the Chicago Cubs, who signed him on August 31st.
Garcia, 32, was called up on September 4th, and after last night’s rainout, the Cubs decided to give the veteran left-hander the start in this first game of today’s doubleheader in D.C.
He didn’t last long. After loading the bases with a leadoff walk and back-to-back, one-out free passes, Garcia gave up a grounder toward first by Juan Soto that skipper underneath Anthony Rizzo’s glove and bounced out into right, 2-0. That was it for Garcia.
Juan Soto keeps doing Juan Soto things... pic.twitter.com/IMOm1BKoB3— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 8, 2018
Soto Good: With a two-run single in the home-half of the first, Juan Soto improved to 19 for 49 in his last 14 games, reaching base in 11 of the 14, with three doubles, a homer, nine RBIs, 10 walks, and six runs scored during that stretch.
BULLPEN ACTION: Brandon Kintzler took over on the mound for the Cubs with two on and one out in the bottom of the first, and had one of the runners he inherited score on an RBI single by Matt Wieters, 3-0.
Kintzler got through the second as well, before handing the ball off to left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, who tossed a scoreless third and a 1-2-3 fourth then worked around a one-out hit and walk with a 6-4-3 DP getting him out of a jam.
Matt Wieters walked and Adrian Sanchez singled with one out in the sixth and lefty Randy Rosario on the mound for the Cubs. Max Scherzer dropped a bunt down in the next at bat, but Chicago’s catcher, Willson Contreras threw wide of third trying to cut down Wieters.
Trea Turner took a bases-loaded walk, 4-0, and with James Norwood on the Cubs, Anthony Rendon popped up to shirt left where Anthony Rizzo dropped the ball on an attempt at an over-the-shoulder catch, 5-0, and 6-0 when Scherzer scored on a wild pitch. Bryce Harper got up 3-0 in the next at bat, and sent a hotshot to second, where Daniel Murphy fielded it and threw wide of home, E:4, 7-0. Mark Reynolds grounded into a force at second, but the eighth run of the game scored, 8-0.
Tyler Chatwood was the sixth pitcher of the game for the Cubbies, and he gave up a HBP (on Victor Robles), walk (to Adrian Sanchez), and RBI single (by Max Scherzer), 9-1, and a run scored on force at second on a Trea Turner grounder, 10-1.
Chatwood managed to keep the Nationals off the board in the bottom of the eighth, and the Cubs scored three vs Max Scherzer in the ninth, but fell short of a miraculous comeback...
Final Score: 10-3 Nationals
Nationals now 70-72