Scherzer fans 11, pitches Nationals past Diamondbacks 3-1
PHOENIX (AP) — Energized by teammate Trea Turner’s leadoff home run and working out of an early jam, Max Scherzer cruised to another victory Friday night.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award struck out 11 over seven innings of four-hit ball, and the Washington Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1.
Scherzer (7-1) retired 15 in a row after giving up a home run to David Peralta leading off the third inning. The five-time All-Star also hit an RBI double, and remained unbeaten since April 4.
“It could have been quick outs in the beginning or quick outs in the end,” Scherzer said. “I was on the attack.”
Anthony Rendon also homered for the Nationals, who have won five of six. Sean Doolittle earned his second save in as many nights and eighth of the season.
Doolittle gave up a hit to struggling slugger Paul Goldschmidt, who after going 1 for 4 Friday is 3 for his last 38.
“You feel bad and you want to contribute to the team. I have gone 0-for-4, 0-for-5 and punched out plenty of times and know that (manager Torey Lovullo) has to deal with questions from you guys,” Goldschmidt said. “I feel bad that my lack of production wears on other guys on this team and wears on the manager and he has to deal with it.”
Matt Koch (2-1) went eight innings and allowed three runs and seven hits. The Diamondbacks have lost three straight for the second time this month.
Turner opened the game with his seventh career leadoff home run, landing near the Arizona bullpen. Peralta tied it at 1 with his seventh homer.
“He gives us a chance to win every outing,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Scherzer. “We got that run for him early and for him, he doesn’t want to let the guys down.”
The Diamondbacks had runners on second and third and none out against Scherzer in the bottom of the first, after a Peralta single and bunt single by Jarrod Dyson on which Scherzer overthrew first base. But Scherzer retired the next three hitters without allowing a run, two on strikeouts.
Scherzer was charged with his first error the season. He helped himself in the fourth with a two-out, ground rule double that gave Washington the lead.
“I love RBIs, man,” Scherzer said. “I compete at the plate.”
Washington left fielder Andrew Stevenson made a diving catch in the fifth to take away a hit from Nick Ahmed.
Rendon connected for his third home run in the eighth. The next batter, Matt Adams, had a potential homer taken away by right fielder Chris Owings, who reached over the fence for the catch.
“I know our bullpen has been used quite a bit lately, so that is what I am always trying to do. Go as deep as I can,” Koch said.
STAR TURN TIMES THREE
Koch faced a former Cy Young Award winner for the third consecutive start in Scherzer. On May 1 he was matched up against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, and on May 6, Justin Verlander of the Astros.
Doolittle came out from the bullpen in the visitors’ bullpen cart for the second straight night, again with successful results.
“Maybe we need to bring that to Nats Park,” Scherzer said.
The Diamondbacks called up right-handed pitcher Jake Barrett from Triple-A Reno before Friday’s game, after optioning reliever Silvino Bracho to Reno after Thursday’s game. Barrett pitched a scoreless top of the ninth inning then was returned to Reno to make room for Saturday’s starter, Troy Scribner.
Nationals: OF Adam Eaton was placed on the 60-day disabled list after arthroscopic ankle surgery on Thursday, and will be out until at least early June. ... C Matt Wieters went on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain in Thursday night’s game. C Spencer Kieboom was brought up from Triple-A Syracuse.
Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts in an extended spring training game on Friday, his first rehab outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-3, 3.52 earned run average) is also 4-3 in 10 career starts against the Diamondbacks, the team he faces on Saturday.
Diamondbacks: Scribner was 2-1 with 5.68 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Reno this season.