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Washington Nationals lose to St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2: Max Scherzer hurt by defense in loss...

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Max Scherzer made his fourth start of the Spring this afternoon in what ended up being a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Martinez joked early this Spring that he knew who his Opening Day starter was going to be long before pitchers and catchers even arrived in West Palm Beach, telling reporters if he said anything different he knew he’d have to answer to the Washington Nationals’ ace.

“Right now, the way it looks, of course, we’ve got our guy,” Martinez explained, referring, of course, to Max Scherzer, in his first press conference from Florida.

“If I said anything different, he might be waiting for me out the door right there.”

Nothing that’s happened in Scherzer’s first three starts changed the manager’s plans, and he put together another solid outing in Jupiter, FL this afternoon, where he took on the St. Louis Cardinals in Grapefruit League action.

[ed. note - “And after today’s game, Martinez made it official...”]:

Scherzer had a 1-0 lead when he started today, and he worked around a one-out single for a scoreless bottom of the first this afternoon, and then worked around a two-out hit/E:5 in the second.

A leadoff single and a walk, by Harrison Bader and Matt Carpenter, respectively, set the Cards up with two on and no one out in the home-half of the third.

Dexter Fowler hit a single to center to bring Bader home, and Paul Goldschmidt followed with an RBI double to center that got over Michael A. Taylor’s head, driving in two to give the Cardinals the lead, 3-1.

A 1-2-3 fourth, in which Brian Dozier made a diving catch for out No. 3, kept it a two-run game, and Scherzer came back out with a 1-2-3 fifth that left him at 68 pitches overall.

He returned to the mound in the sixth, retired a batter, gave up a single, and was done for the day after throwing 75 pitches total. 3-1 Cards.

Run Support: Scherzer took the mound this afternoon with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of a one-out double by Trea Turner and an RBI single by Juan Soto, who drove Turner in with a fly ball out to center that fell in for a hit.

Adam Eaton got thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on a Juan Soto single, but a throw home from Dexter Fowler in right field to Yadier Molina at the plate got Eaton for the final out of the Nationals’ half of the third, still 1-0.

Bullpen Action: J.J. Hoover recorded the final two outs of the Cardinals’ sixth after taking over on the mound for Max Scherzer.

Moar Runs: Anthony Rendon doubled to start the seventh inning, and his pinch runner (Matt Reynolds) scored two outs later on an RBI single by Kurt Suzuki, 3-2 Cards.

Sean Doolittle retired the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the seventh inning, throwing 13 pitches total in the frame.

Wander Suero stranded the only runner to reach base in a scoreless eighth (as Gameday tried desperately to keep up with all the lineup changes), but the Nationals came up empty in the ninth. 3-2 Cardinals final.