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Max Scherzer strikes out 15 in Washington Nationals’ 4-1 win over Cincinnati Reds

Washington’s Nationals took 2 of 3 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Max Scherzer struck out 15 of 29 batters faced over eight strong in what ended up a 4-1 win.

Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Max Scherzer held the Cincinnati Reds to a run on three hits in eight innings on the mound in Great American Ball Park this afternoon, striking out 15 of the 29 batters he faced in a 4-1 win for the Washington Nationals, who took 2 of 3 on the road in Ohio.

Scherzer vs the Reds: Max Scherzer snapped a five-start winless streak, over which he had put up a 4.05 ERA, four walks, 44 Ks, and a .271/.292/.414 line against in 33 13 IP with a solid start against the Dodgers on the road in Los Angeles, but in three starts that followed he was (0-1) with the Nationals 0-3 in spite of the fact that he had a 2.00 ERA, seven walks, 23 Ks, and a .246/.316/.362 line against in 18 IP in those outings.

This afternoon in Cincinnati, Ohio’s Great American Ball Park, Scherzer took on the Reds in the series finale of this weekend’s three-game set, throwing three scoreless and hitless to start, but Joey Votto and Derek Dietrich hit back-to-back doubles in the first two at bats of the fourth to get the home team on the board, down 2-1 at that point.

Scherzer held the Reds to that one run through five, and was up to 10 Ks in 5 13 IP after he got Votto looking with a high 3-2 fastball in the first at bat of the Reds’ sixth. He threw a 97 MPH 1-2 heater by Dietrich for K No. 11, and struck out Jesse Winker for K No. 12 from the 22 batters he’d faced.

A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, in which he picked up his 13th strikeout (from 25 batters faced) left the Nationals’ ace at 104 pitches overall, with ten straight and 13 of 14 batters set down after the second of the Reds’ back-to-back doubles in the fourth.

Scherzer came back out for the eighth and gave up a leadoff double (the Reds’ third hit) on a first-pitch fastball to Tucker Barnhart.

Scherzer picked up K No. 14 for out No. 2 on his 117th pitch, and got Votto looking for K No. 15 with his 120th offering... Not bad.

Max Scherzer’s Line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 15 Ks, 120 P, 84 S, 1/5 GO/FO.

Gray vs the Nationals: Sonny Gray was winless in six outings in April (0-4) with a 3.64 ERA, eight walks, 36 Ks, and a .198/.254/.274 line against in 29 23 IP, but the veteran righty went (2-0) in five starts in May with a 3.42 ERA, 14 walks, 28 Ks, and a .253/.345/.394 line against in 26 13 innings.

He started the month of June in a 1-0 hole after Trea Turner doubled to start today’s game and scored on a one-out RBI single to left by Anthony Rendon, 1-0.

Juan Soto grounded into a force in the top of the fourth, moved to second on a groundout by Matt Adams, and scored on a two-out RBI double to left-center by Kurt Suzuki, who hit an 0-2 slider from Gray for his 5th two-base hit of 2019, 2-0.

That was all Gray gave up through five, and the Reds hit for him in the bottom of the fifth...

Sonny Gray’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 88 P, 55 S, 9/0 GO/FO.

RendOBP Streak: Juan Soto’s hit streak ended after 14 games, but Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon singled in the second inning to extend his on-base streak in Saturday’s win over the Reds. Rendon had reached base in 18-straight going into Sunday’s series finale in Great American Ball Park, with 22 hits and 16 walks over the course of the streak, which is the fourth-longest on-base streak of his career, with the longest a 33-game on-base streak which stretched from August 21st to September 25th last season.

Over his 18-game on-base streak this season, Rendon was 22 for 64 (.344/.475/688) with six doubles, two triples, four home runs, the 16 walks, and 19 runs scored before today.

Rendon singled the first time up against Sonny Gray this afternoon, driving in a run for a 1-0 lead and extending his on-base streak to 19-straight games. The streak lives!!

BULLPEN ACTION: Amir Garrett came on for the Reds in the top of the sixth and the left-handed reliever worked around a one-out walk in a 15-pitch frame to keep it a one-run game.

Michael Lorenzen was lifted with a runner on second and two out after giving up a leadoff single by Brian Dozier, who took a base on a sac bunt by Max Scherzer. David Hernandez took over and got out No. 3 on a line drive to short off Trea Turner’s bat.

Hernandez returned to the mound in the top of the eighth and gave up a one-out walk to Anthony Rendon and a single to right by Juan Soto.

Raisel Iglesias came on to face Kurt Suzuki with two on and two out and walked the Nats’ catcher, loading them up in front of Brian Dozier, who sent a 97 MPH 0-2 fastball through the right side for a two-run single, 4-1 Nationals.

Wandy Peralta kept it a three-run game with a scoreless top of the ninth.

Sean Doolittle came on for the bottom of the inning and retired the Reds in order to end it.

Ballgame. 4-1 Nationals final.

Nationals now 26-33