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Washington Nationals drop rain-shortened season opener, 4-1 to New York Yankees...

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Max Scherzer and the Nationals dropped the season opener to the Yankees in a rain-shortened 4-1 loss in D.C.

MLB: New York Yankees at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer gave up a two-run home run by Giancarlo Stanton in the top of the first, an RBI double by Aaron Judge in the third, and an RBI single by Stanton in the fifth as the NY Yankees jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the Nationals in the season opener in Nationals Park.

Scherzer was up to 99 pitches (and 11 Ks from 26 batters) in the sixth when the rain started coming down hard in Washington, D.C., sending the first game of the 2020 MLB campaign into a delay which eventually ended the matchup. Final Score: 4-1 Yankees.

Scherzer vs NYY: “It’s getting back in the swing of things,” Nationals’ starter Max Scherzer said of the experience of getting the season going as an Opening Day starter.

“Every little thing you do that day is just enhanced. You’re in your routines of what you do at home, what you do in the field, you know, just getting ready for everything it takes to go into making a start. And you try to simulate those routines as best as possible leading up to this, but there’s nothing like the real thing, so that’s what makes it the best.”

Scherzer’s 16th pitch of the 2020 campaign got absolutely demolished. Giancarlo Stanton sent the 96 mph cutter out to left-center for a two-run blast that drove in the first two runs of the season and put the Yankees up, 2-0, after a 1/2-inning of play.

Scherzer was up to four-straight Ks following the home run, after he struck out the side in the Yankees’ second, but he issued a leadoff walk to Tyler Wade in the top of the third and the runner came around to score one out later on an RBI double by Judge (2 for 2), 3-1.

Another leadoff walk and a bunt single in the top of the fifth gave the Yankees two on with no one out. Scherzer got a force at second base on an Aaron Hicks’ ground ball, and a swinging K from Judge for the first two outs, but, after a base-loading, four-pitch walk to Gleyber Torres, Stanton hit an RBI single to right in the next at bat to make it a 4-1 game.

Scherzer picked up two Ks in the fifth, for 10 total from 23 batters, and the 22-pitch frame left him at 86 pitches total, but he came back out for the sixth and gave up a one-out walk and a single that put runners on the corners before the skies opened up and led to a delay.

Max Scherzer’s Line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 11 Ks, 1 HR, 99 P, 62 S, 4/0 GO/FO.

Cole vs D.C.: Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez didn’t seem too concerned about going up against Gerrit Cole, in what was the hard-throwing righty’s first start for New York after the pitcher signed a 9-year/$324M free agent deal with the Yankees this past winter.

“We’ve seen it before, on a big stage,” Martinez said of the Scherzer/Cole matchup which happened last back in October, in Game 1 of the World Series between the Nationals and Houston Astros.

“It’s going to be exciting. Obviously Gerrit is an unbelievable competitor, so for us, we tell the guys, ‘You’ve got to swing at strikes.’ And, ‘We’ve got to get the ball down in the zone.’

“‘Get ready for the fastball and get the ball down,’” Martinez added. “But he’s going to go out there and compete.”

Adam Eaton was ready for a low-ish fastball, taking a 98 MPH 2-2 offering from Cole out to right in the bottom of the first for a solo shot that got the Nats on the board, down 2-1.

That was all (hits or runs) Cole gave up through five, which he completed on an efficient 75 pitches...

Stanton ❤️s D.C.: Giancarlo Stanton started the night 65 for 218 (.298/.375/.651) with 17 doubles and 20 HRs in 57 games and 248 career plate appearances in Nationals Park.

The one-time Marlins’ slugger hit his 21st career home run in the nation’s capital in the first, sending a two-run blast to left-center to improve to 5 for 19 with three home runs head-to-head with Max Scherzer in their respective careers.

Stanton was 6 for 21 after adding a bases-loaded, RBI single in the fifth that put the Yankees up 4-1 on Scherzer and the Nationals.

So 2020: Of course rain ended this one early, because it’s 2020, and nothing good is going to happen all year.

Nationals now 0-1