Davey Martinez stuck with Max Scherzer again, sending the Washington Nationals’ ace out for the sixth inning in a 1-1 game, and stayed with him, even after the Miami Marlins loaded the bases with two out.
Scherzer got the ground ball he wanted out of pinch hitter Starling Marte on the 119th pitch, but Eric Thames couldn’t handle a short throw from Carter Kieboom and the go-ahead run scored, 2-1 Fish.
Scherzer vs MIA: Max Scherzer tossed four scoreless against the Marlins in his August 22nd start in Nationals Park, but he gave up four runs in the fifth, with Miami’s hitters pushing his pitch count up, with a 31-pitch frame leaving him at 108 overall before he was done with a 4 2⁄3-inning outing.
Scherzer expressed frustration after the start with the fact that he didn’t finish strong in the appearance.
“I believe that I can pitch in tough spots in the game, even late in the game,” Scherzer said.
“Even when my pitch count is over 100. I still believe I can execute in those situations.
“Unfortunately the last couple games I haven’t done that, and I need to get better at that.”
In four starts that followed, Scherzer put up a 3.70 ERA in 24 1/3 IP, holding opposing hitters to a .280/.321/.450 line.
Going up against the Marlins for the second time this season, Scherzer gave up leadoff and one-out singles in the first, but got a two-out grounder into the shift that should have been out No. 3. Luis García was out in short right in the shift, however, and had to charge it, and his throw to first pulled Eric Thames off the bag and allowed the first run to score, 1-0.
Scherzer held the Marlins there through four, though his pitch count was up to 85 pitches after stranded one- and two-out singles in a 27-pitch fourth.
A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left the Nats’ ace at 95 pitches, and he came back out for the sixth and gave up a two-out single, an intentional walk, and an unintentional, base-loading free pass.
Starling Marte came on as a pinch hitter with Scherzer up to 112 pitches, and his 119th went out to third where Carter Kieboom fielded it and threw to first ... where it short-hopped Eric Thames, who dropped it, 2-1.
FWD: Marlins Lead— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 20, 2020
Max Scherzer’s Line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 119 P, 78 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Alcantara vs D.C.: Marlins’ right-hander Sandy Alcantara made five starts this season before this afternoon’s outing against the Nationals, putting up a 3.45 ERA with 11 walks, 26 Ks, and a .222/.300/.380 line against in 28 2⁄3 IP.
“He’s pretty good,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said of Sandy Alcantara last night.
“He’s throws up in the upper 90s, but so was the guy yesterday that we faced [Sixto Sánchez] and the lineup did well, so we’ll come back tomorrow and we’ll do it again.”
Alcantara retired the first eight batters he faced this afternoon, before Andrew Stevenson singled with two out in the third, but the Marlins’ right-hander stranded the first batter to reach base against him.
Juan Soto singled to lead off the top of the fourth, but two outs later he was thrown out (sort of, he was safe) trying to steal second for out No. 3 of Alcantara’s fourth scoreless frame.
Brock Holt walked to start the fifth, and one-out later, Luis García singled to left for an oppo hit, but García was forced out at second on a grounder to shortstop off of Carter Kieboom’s bat, leaving runners on first and third with two out.
Andrew Stevenson walked to load’em up in front of Trea Turner, who hit one straight down, off the plate, and up in the air to the left side for an RBI single that tied things up, 1-1.
Asdrúbal Cabrera doubled to right field to start the top of the sixth, on a fly that fell in after it hit off right fielder Matt Joyce’s glove. Michael A. Taylor came on to run for Cabrera.
A swinging K from Eric Thames was unproductive, however, and Brock Holt sent a fly to short left, 2 out.
Yan Gomes stepped in with a two-out RBI opportunity, and grounded out to short to end the threat. Still 1-1.
Sandy Alcantara’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 100 P, 68 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
Twin Bills: As the Nationals’ pregame notes mentioned, going into the doubleheader today, and with one more scheduled this week, the defending World Series champions were, “... 0-0-3 (sweeps-swept-splits) in doubleheaders,” this season, “and 3-3 (.500) when playing twice in a single day,” in 2020.
That left the Nationals, “13-4-24 (sweeps-swept-splits) in doubleheaders, and 50-32 (.610) when playing twice in a single day since baseball returned to Washington in 2005.”
The Nats split the doubleheader with the Marlins on Friday night, in the first two games of five this weekend in Miami.
BULLPEN ACTION: Will Harris took over for Max Scherzer with two on and two out in the sixth, and got the final out.
Brandon Kintzler came on for the save in the top of the seventh and gave up a single by Luis García. And a double by Yadiel Hernandez (first MLB hit). Andrew Stevenson stepped in with runners on second and third and no one out and sent a fly to short left for out No. 1.
Trea Turner hit one back to the mound in the next at bat, and García was hung out to dry off third and tagged for out No. 2. Juan Soto got a free pass to load the bases. Pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki got a two-out opportunity to tie it, but K’d swinging.
Final Score: 2-1 Marlins
Nationals now 19-32