WASHINGTON (AP) – Wind that exceeded 30 mph and sent towels through the national park rippled Max Scherzer’s white jersey and dried his hands.
His forearm was a little sore from trying to grab the baseball hard enough to control where it would go when he let it fly. He loaded the bases in the first inning and needed 49 pitches just to pass two.
Scherzer got it right, struck out 12 of his last 13 batters and struck out nine goals in six innings to move up to No. 21 in the career K standings, helping the Washington Nationals outstrip the St. Louis Cardinals 1- 0 Wednesday.
“This is where it gets fun,” said three-time winner of the Cy Young Award. “All you can do is attack the area and let them strike.”
He hit Dylan Carlson in a 93 mph fastball with his 109th and final pitch. Justin Williams’ right-hander strikeout to finish fourth gave Scherzer 2814 for his career, pushing him past Hall of Famer Mike Mussina. Next stop: Mickey Lolich, whose 2,832 strikeouts rank 20th in MLB history.
“He’s one of the best. He knows what to do, ”said Nationals Manager Dave Martinez. “He had a bad pass in the first run and you could see him settle down a bit.
Not before a bit of adventure in the first, which included a hitter, a field single and a walk, but Scherzer (1-1) escaped by knocking out Carlson and Matt Carpenter.
“You put a guy on his heels a bit … I felt like we were going to be able to do some things, but he got better as he went,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. . “It would have been nice to take it.”
Scherzer ultimately gave up four hits and a walk and lowered his ERA to 1.80.
Alex Avila led in the game’s lone point in Carlos Martínez’s second (0-4) with one of his two doubles – his first hits as a member of the Nationals.
Carlos Martínez allowed four hits in six innings in his longest outing in seven years on July 7, 2018.
“His mental game was there today,” said wide receiver Andrew Knizner.
For the second game in a row, national right-hander Tanner Rainey stepped in in seventh place to protect a 1-0 lead.
On Tuesday, he put Washington in a hole by allowing two runs, before a comeback saw a 3-2 win at the Nationals. This time he worked around a brace by hitting the side.
In the eighth, Daniel Hudson gave up a hit and walked two hitters to charge the bases with two strikeouts, but allowed Carpenter – now beating .081 – to fly to the right.
“It was an exit race. I’ve had too many problems like this so far this year, ”said Hudson. “I was a little lucky.”
Brad Hand worked the ninth for his third stoppage this season. This is his 24th chance to stop in a row, the longest active streak in the majors.
National slugger Juan Soto is unsure of the cause of the strained left shoulder that placed him on the 10-day injured list. The 2020 NL batting champion said on Wednesday he feels bad every time he throws a ball, but not when he swings.
Cardinals: OF Tyler O’Neill (right groin) will play a full simulated game on Thursday to give the team “a little more information to make a decision” on whether to activate it, as planned, from the 10-day IL Friday, says Shildt.
Nationals: LHP Jon Lester will pitch another mock game at the team’s alternative training site, aiming to pitch more than five innings and around 90 shots, before making his debut in the season. … RHP Stephen Strasburg (IL 10 days, right shoulder inflammation) threw 75 feet Tuesday.
Cardinals: Open a three-game home series Friday against the Reds, with St. Louis LHP Kwang Hyun Kim (0-0, 9.00 ERA) on the mound.
Nationals: Head to New York for a three-game Mets set that kicks off Friday with RHP’s Erick Fedde pitch (1-1, 5.56 ERA).
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