Given an 8-0 lead to work with after three and a half in the series finale with the San Diego Padres in Petco Park, Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer imploded in what ended up being a 45-pitch bottom of the fourth in which he was charged with seven earned runs, 8-7, and Tommy Pham’s two-out RBI double in the bottom of the sixth tied it up at 8-8.
It stayed tied until the ninth when Trent Grisham, remember him, hit a walk-off winner to earn a split for the home team in the four-game set. Final Score: 9-8 Padres.
Scherzer vs SDP: Max Scherzer’s April 27th outing against the Toronto Blue Jays in the last in which the 36-year-old right-hander gave up more than two earned runs. In 11 starts after that blow-up on the road in Dunedin, FL, Washington’s ace had put up a 1.68 ERA, 15 walks, and 89 Ks in 64 1⁄3 IP, over which he’d held opposing hitters to a combined .167/.232/.293 line heading into tonight’s start.
Unbeaten in his last five outings before taking on the Padres tonight, Scherzer was coming off a six-inning start against the LA Dodgers in which he gave up four hits, a walk, and a run, on a solo home run, in a losing effort at home in the nation’s capital.
On the road tonight, Scherzer, who took the mound with a 2.30 ERA and a .192/.265/.311 line in eight starts and 47 IP outside of D.C. this season, and a 3-0 lead, retired seven in a row to start the outing, before giving up a one-out single in the third. He added two Ks in the next two at bats, however, and was up to five from 10 batters after three scoreless.
Tell the clubhouse we're gonna have to get the grass stains out of Victor Robles' uniform, again.@Victor__Robles // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/84APFLCt7n— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 9, 2021
It was 8-0 in the Nationals’ favor when Scherzer came out for the fourth and surrendered a leadoff home run on a 2-2 fastball up and in to Fernando Tatis, Jr., who crushed it, and hit it 433 feet to left and into the second deck, 8-1. No. 28 for Tatis this season.
In our opinion this should be worth more than one run. pic.twitter.com/dwK6l8UE9c— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 9, 2021
Two HBPs around a one-out single loaded the bases with Padres later in the fourth, and a walk to Wil Myers forced in the second run of the inning, 8-2, and one out later, with two down, reliever Daniel Camarena hit a 96 MPH 1-2 fastball low in the zone out to right for a grand slam (and his first MLB hit). 8-6 Nationals.
This isn't just a grand slam.— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 9, 2021
And it isn't just a grand slam BY A PITCHER.
It's a grand slam, BY A PITCHER, FOR HIS FIRST CAREER HIT.#SlamDiego pic.twitter.com/goraKjGanH
Reliever Daniel Camarena of the @Padres hit a grand slam off Max Scherzer in the 4th inning tonight, his first career hit.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) July 9, 2021
The only other pitcher in MLB history whose first career hit was a grand slam was Bill Duggleby on April 21, 1898 with the Phillies.
A double by Tommy Pham followed and ended Scherzer’s outing 45 pitches into the fourth...
Max Scherzer’s Line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HRs, 91 P, 58 S, 1/2 GO/FO.
Darvish vs D.C.: Padres’ righty Yu Darvish, 32, gave up six hits, two of them home runs, a walk, and four earned runs in six innings on the mound in Citizens Bank Park, leaving him with a 3.71 ERA and a .281/.407/.687 line against in six starts and 34 IP away from Petco in 2021, but at home in San Diego, he took the mound with a 2.12 ERA and a .247/.343/.590 line against in 11 starts and 68 IP.
“He throws a lot of pitches,” Davey Martinez said when asked how the Nationals would go at the right-hander in the series finale in Petco Park. “We got to get him in the strike zone, one, kind of get the ball up. He does throw strikes, so we just got to get a good pitch that we can handle and just put the ball in play.
“One thing that we can do, and we talked about this, is just keep doing what we’re doing and building up pitch counts, and see if we can knock him out of the game early.”
Trea Turner jumped on a 94 MPH 1-1 fastball up and in and hit it out to left field for a one-out solo shot in the top of the first, giving the Nationals an early, 1-0 lead with his 16th home run of the season.
Todea is July 8th, 2021.@MLB All-Star Trea Turner is on pace for 30 HR and 34 SB.@treavturner // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/5eLsLxPULK— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 9, 2021
Juan Soto singled after Turner’s blast, and took third on a two-out double by Starlin Castro, and both runners scored on a single to center by Yan Gomes, who hit a 95 MPH 2-2 fastball back up the middle for a 3-0 lead.
Turner and Soto singled in back-to-back at bats in the top of the third, and an RBI double by Josh Bell followed, 4-0, before a sac fly by Castro brought Soto in for a 5-0 lead, and a 2-out RBI single by Josh Harrison made it a 6-0 game.
Yu Darvish’s Line: 3.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 64 P, 44 S, 2/2 GO/FO.
Castreak: Starlin Castro started the night with a 10-game hit streak going, over which he was 15 for 35 (.429 AVG) with three doubles, one home run, 10 RBIs, five walks, and seven runs scored, with multi-hit games in five of the 10 games, and he wasted no time making it 11 in-a-row, doubling the first time up against Padres’ starter Yu Darvish, and scoring the third run of the first inning as the Nationals jumped out to an early lead.
A two-out single in the seventh gave Castro six multi-hit games in the last 11 games.
Bullpen Action: Padres’ lefty Daniel Camarena took over in the top of the fourth, after the Nationals knocked Yu Darvish out, and gave up a one-out single by Alcides Escobar and a two-run home run to center by Trea Turner that made it an 8-0 game. Turner’s 17th of ‘21.
Kyle Finnegan took over the Nationals with a runner on second and one out in the fourth, in what was suddenly an 8-6 game, and he popped Fernando Tatis, Jr. up to short right, but neither Juan Soto or Josh Bell could get there to make the catch, so it fell in for an RBI hit, and made it 8-7 before Jake Cronenworth lined out to left to end the inning.
Camarena tossed a quick, scoreless fifth after hitting a grand slam off Max Scherzer in the bottom of the fourth.
Finnegan retired the Padres in order in the fifth.
Old friend Craig Stammen worked around a 1-out ROE for a scoreless frame in the top of the sixth.
Wil Myers bounced a ground-rule double off the track in left-center to lead off the Padres’ sixth, hitting a full-count cutter from Wander Suero into the home team bullpen. Webster Rivas moved Myers over with a groundout to short, but Suero popped Jurickson Profar up for out No. 2 before the Nationals went to the pen again for Austin Voth vs Tommy Pham, and Pham doubled to center to tie it at 8-8.
Fire us all the way up @TphamLV #HungryForMore pic.twitter.com/NpnVfu2q1Z— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 9, 2021
Right-hander Pierce Johnson came on for the home team in the top of the seventh, and worked around a leadoff walk to Juan Soto and, after Josh Bell grounded into a 6-4-3 DP, stranded a two-out single (by Starlin Castro). Still 8-8.
Voth returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side in order.
Emilio Pagán struck out two and popped up Ryan Zimmerman in a scoreless top of the eighth.
Daniel Hudson, in his first appearance since coming off the IL, gave up a leadoff single to right by Eric Hosmer, but retired the next three batters he faced to keep it tied at 8-8.
Mark Melancon worked around a 2-out walk to Juan Soto, with help from Jake Cronenworth, who made a leaping catch to rob Josh Bell on a line drive headed towards right.
Sam Clay gave up a leadoff single by Tommy Pham, who made his way around to third on a pair of groundouts, and scored on a walk-off single by Trent Grisham.
Final Score: 9-8 Padres
Nationals now 42-44