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Washington Nationals 3-1 over St. Louis Cardinals for 2-0 lead in NLCS: Max Scherzer fans 11 in seven scoreless...

Max Scherzer was dominant in seven scoreless on the hill in Busch Stadium, and the Nationals’ offense did enough in what ended up a 3-1 win which gave them a 2-0 lead in the NLCS with the Cardinals.

League Championship Series - Washington Nationals v St Louis Cardinals - Game Two Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

One night after Aníbal Sánchez flirted with a no-hitter, finally giving up a hit with two out in the eighth in Game 1 of the NLCS, Max Scherzer held the St. Louis Cardinals hitless through six innings on the mound in Busch Stadium before giving up a leadoff single in the seventh.

Scherzer got an inning-ending double play one out later, to get through seven scoreless on the hill with a 1-0 advantage, and the Washington Nationals added to their lead in the top of eighth on Adam Eaton’s two-run double, which made it a 3-0 game.

It ended up a 3-1 win, and the Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with the Cards...

Scherzer vs St. Louis: Max Scherzer faced the Cardinals twice in the regular season, going (0-2) with a 5.27 ERA (8 ER in 13 23 IP) and a .273/.298/.473 line against in those outings, in which he walked two and struck out 19 of the 57 batters he faced, with the second start in Busch Stadium on September 18th.

Scherzer gave up seven hits and five runs in that appearance, striking out 11 of 27 batters.

“They put some good at-bats against me,” he said after the loss, “and they were able to capitalize when they needed to in some big situations when the game was on the line.”

Scherzer, who was born in St. Louis, grew up in the suburbs around the city, and went to college at the University of Missouri, was asked in his pregame presser yesterday what it meant to him to pitch here again, against the team he grew up watching?

“Yeah, grew up here,” he said, “... but at this point in time, really doesn’t mean anything, because I got a bigger task at hand and that’s to go out here and win it for the Nats. So that’s where my mind’s at.”

Scherzer was focused, and dominant, on the mound this afternoon in Game 2 of the NLCS, tossing five scoreless innings on 78 pitches to start, striking out nine of 16 batters he faced while allowing only a walk.

He picked up his 10th K in a 14-pitch sixth, in which he worked around a two-out walk to get through another scoreless and hitless frame, on 92 pitches overall.

Paul Goldschmidt singled to left to lead off the seventh, breaking up Scherzer’s no-hit bid with a liner on an 0-2 slider up in the zone, but he was doubled up one out later, ending a nine-pitch frame that left Scherzer at 101 total.

Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 Ks, 101 P, 65 S, 6/1 GO/FO.

Wainwright vs Washington: Adam Wainwright put together a solid outing, giving up eight hits and one unearned run in seven innings in a 5-1 win in Busch Stadium, when he faced the Nationals back on September 18th.

That was his second start of the year against the Nats, after he gave up two runs on six hits in 6 13 IP in Nationals Park back on April 30th.

Wainwright, 38, tossed two scoreless to start this afternoon, but the first pitch of the third ended up in the left field seats with Michael A. Taylor hitting a solo shot that made it a 1-0 game in the Nationals’ favor.

Wainwright held it there through six, striking out the side after a leadoff single by Trea Turner in the top of the inning, and came back out with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh.

Matt Adams (hitting for Max Scherzer) and Trea Turner connected for back-to-back singles in the top of the eighth, with Wainwright up to 92 pitches at that point, and Adam Eaton hit a two-run double to right in the next at bat, driving in both runners and making it 3-0.

Adam Wainwright’s Line: 7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 1 HR, 99 P, 73 S, 7/3 GO/FO.

Turn-on: Trea Turner extended his on-base streak to 19-straight games with a single in his third trip to the plate last night in St. Louis, and the 26-year-old shortstop’s 1 for 5 game in Busch Stadium left him with a .321 AVG, nine doubles, six home runs, 11 RBIs, four walks, three steals, and 17 runs scored during that stretch, which went back to September 17th.

Turner extended it to 20-straight with a leadoff single in the top of the sixth inning.

M-A-T goes Y-A-R-D: Davey Martinez talked before today’s game about once again starting Michael A. Taylor in center, with Victor Robles (hamstring) still not completely recovered or ready to return to the lineup.

“Michael’s doing fine,” Martinez said, after Taylor went 0 for 4 with 2 Ks in Game 1 of the NLCS, leaving him 4 for 12 in five games and three starts this October.

“For me, yesterday he had good at-bats, he did,” Martinez said.

“He didn’t get a hit but he battled, put a ball in play with 3-2 and that’s all you can ask for. But his defense, as we all know, we don’t miss much on defense with him out there.”

Taylor was 2 for 2 this afternoon through five innings, homering to start third, on a first-pitch cutter from Cards’ starter Adam Wainwright, and singling with one out in the fifth, before he was stranded.

[ed. note - “Since you homered, we’ll forgive you for the misread in center in the 8th, MAT.”]

BULLPEN ACTION: Sean Doolittle got two quick outs in the Cards’ eighth, but Paul DeJong kept the inning alive with a single to center, and scored when Michael A. Taylor misread and misplayed a line drive to center by pinch hitter José Martínez into an RBI double, 3-1, before Doolittle got out No. 3 from the next batter.

Ryan Helsley came on for the Cardinals in the top of the ninth, and retired the side in order.

Patrick Corbin, the Nationals’ Game 4 starter, started the bottom of the ninth against Kolten Wong, and got a groundout to second for the first out of the frame.

Daniel Hudson came on trying to get the final two, got a fly to left from Paul Goldschmidt, 2!!!, and a pop to foul territory off first base for out No. 3!!!


Final Score: 3-1 Nationals

Nationals lead Cardinals 2-0 in NLCS