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Nats 3, Orioles 2: Scherzer dominant in near-CG to end first half

Jul 12, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Max Scherzer entered Sunday’s series (and first-half) finale with an unfortunate past at Camden Yards, most recently featuring his debacle of a start in Game 1 of the 2014 American League Division Series. That history, however, did not carry over whatsoever in what was an overall dominant performance in the Nationals’ final game before the All-Star break.

Scherzer allowed a solo home run to Adam Jones in the first inning, but settled in nicely afterwards to finish with 8 2/3 innings. He was removed after Jones’ second homer with two outs in the ninth. Drew Storen retired Chris Davis to record his 27th save of the season.

The Nationals rode a big fourth inning powered by fill-ins Dan Uggla and Tyler Moore to give Scherzer all the run support he would need opposite of Orioles’ starter Wei-Yin Chen.

With the 3-2 win the Nationals snapped a three-game losing streak and moved to 48-39 on the season. That breaks down to a .552 winning percentage, which is better than their .548 mark at the break last season.

Here is how they have finished the first half in each of the last five seasons:

2015 – 48-39 (.552)
2014 – 51-42 (.548)
2013 – 48-47 (.505)
2012 – 49-34 (.590)
2011 – 46-46 (.500)

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The fourth inning was key for the Nationals, as they scored three runs in a two-out rally. Yunel Escobar got them started with a leadoff single before Bryce Harper (flyout) and Wilson Ramos (strikeout) brought it to two outs.

Clint Robinson, though, kept it going with a single to left field and Uggla promptly lined a single to center. That scored Escobar and Uggla move to second on an error by Jones. With two runners in scoring position, Moore roped a double to the gap in right-center field. That scored two more and put the Nats up 3-1 after they entered the inning trailing by one run.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Scherzer began the game with two strikeouts against Manny Machado and Jimmy Paredes and got Jones to two strikes in the third at-bat. But then Jones got a hold of a down-and-away slider and pulled it over the fence in left field. It was Jones’ 179th career home run as an Orioles player, tying him with Frank Robinson for eighth all-time in franchise history. He later passed Robinson on the list with No. 180 in the ninth inning.

After the first homer, Scherzer retired the next 17 batters he faced before giving up two singles in the sixth. Scherzer finished with nine innings of two-run ball on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. The Nats’ ace hasn’t allowed a walk since June 14, a span of five starts and 39 2/3 innings.

KEY STAT: Escobar has multiple hits in 26 of his 78 games this season and holds a .321 batting average.

UP NEXT: The Nationals take a four-day break for the All-Star Game before returning to action on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The pitching matchups have not been announced, but it will be hard to go wrong given the choices for managers Matt Williams and Don Mattingly. Scherzer is likely to start Friday night and he could face off against either Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke. Either way it will be a matchup of two of the best pitchers in the game today.

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    Nats win the series and get the early bragging rights. Scherzer pitched better than his line will read. Easily could have been a shutout.

    TyMo with the GW RBIs.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 3:59 PM

      Bench guys with all 3 RBis actually, Uggla and TyMo.

      Nice Hi Lev save by Storen!!! Filth from Scherzer!!!

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:05 PM

        Ray Knight insinuated that MdD didn’t time his jump right, but wasn’t sure he would have caught it even if he had timed it right.

        Agree about Scherzer’s filth. The man is earning his salary.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:08 PM

        Taylor has height and vertical leap but don’t know if he even catches that. den Dekker is a small guy with a small vertical leap. That ball was so high that it came straight down behind the wall and didn’t arc.

      • natsdial8 - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:29 PM

        No one gets that ball. It did look like Den mis fired but the ball was well past his glove. Michael may have taken 2 turns and been no where near it anyway 😀

    • senators5 - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:18 PM

      Absolutely, with the exceptions of Boston and Cincinnati those two Jones’ HRS would have been caught easily in all other ball parks. Harper and Ramos both have the arm strength to throw the ball over the left and right field fences at CY

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:20 PM

        There’s also an airflow that seems to move balls in LF.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    Oreos are at .500

  3. kgwcoach - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:10 PM

    Mark picks up a point tonight (baseball show)

  4. wfostrum - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:10 PM

    “Time for some journey” replaced by “time for some heroes” on the radio! I’m not sure I can handle this. Anyone heard an explanation?

    • ArVAFan - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:23 PM

      No, but I don’t like it.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:28 PM

        Tweet to Charlie and Dave I did we don’t like the change.

  5. manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    I love how Max calls Wilson , Willie.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:32 PM

      That’s his nickname on the team. Wily.

  6. adcwonk - Jul 12, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    With the 3-2 win the Nationals snapped a three-game losing streak and moved to 48-39 on the season

    Chase. . . umm. .. the Nats won last night. Today makes two in a row.

    • dhamm6500 - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:23 PM

      Today makes two in a row.

      “if we win one tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak”.

      –Lou Brown

  7. manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:00 PM

    2 run double for Treat Turner.

    • virginiascopist - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:02 PM

      Is that his nickname, Treat? I like it!

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:58 PM

        Have I told anyone recently I hate auto correct

    • laddieblahblah - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:16 PM

      He took the first 5 pitches in that AB and got to a 3-2 count and turned on an inside FB, pulling it down the LF line. Quick bat. Patient, selective approach, with flawless execution. Looked pretty good to me.

      • knoxvillenat - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:45 PM

        Everything the current shortstop is not when at bat.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:14 PM

        So, I’ve kind of lost track. Do we now hate Desmond as much as we’ve hated Espinosa – the guy we now love and are thankful that Rizzo held onto – for the past two years?

        Yeah! How can Rizzo hang onto that terrible guy! He should replace him with the guy we used to hate!

  8. scnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    I think the stars aligned well that with the injuries and underperformance players had that we finish on top at the halfway point. We get lucky that it’s a down year for the rest of the division and we get to fatten up on them.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:09 PM

      +1.

      Happy to see Nats where they are given all the injuries. Rest up, boys!

  9. unkyd59 - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:13 PM

    “…with the 3-2 win the Nationals snapped a three-game losing streak”
    ———————–
    Are you watching these games…?

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:23 PM

      Sometimes you really have to wonder.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:41 PM

        I liked your theory that he’s doing this on purpose, to keep us on our toes.

    • adcwonk - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:54 PM

      you owe me a beer! (see above, 4:49)

      Actually, I think it proper that Chase owe us both a beer.

  10. natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:24 PM

    Atta way, Max. Atta way, Nats. Nice way to head into the break.

  11. natsdial8 - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    A little sidebar from this series is the Orioles dropped to 4 back and are now bunched with a group of teams .

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:33 PM

      I cry for their mediocrity. Not really.

  12. scnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    A side benefit of taking 2 of 3 is that a number of trolls retreated back under their bridges.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:49 PM

      WIth four days off, and all the rain we’ve had, they’re going to be pretty moldy when they come back out. Awwww (not!).

  13. dcwx61 - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:48 PM

    they got to keep Trea in to get the cycle

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:50 PM

      I thought he needs a HR and a single? 8th inning so doubtful in a 10-1 lead.

      • dcwx61 - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:52 PM

        lol…yeah looking for the world to make a comeback

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:52 PM

        I’d be fine with that. 😉

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:00 PM

        Did the starting SS get the other half of the cycle.

        Was good wheels like advertised

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:02 PM

        Josh Bell got a HR 😉

  14. nattygoats - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:48 PM

    Just got home. How great is this? Made 50 bucks selling dem Os Hawaiian shirts. Strange thing though every time Bryce got up the rednecks behind us would yell that sickening F word that rhymes with maggot

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:59 PM

      Sad, yes and nothing surprises me and they complain about the rude and crude Yankees fans and as a whole the Oreo fans that occupy their space are no better.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    Trea Tuner with a double and a triple on great swings.

  16. natsjackinfl - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    Trea Turner with a stand up triple. Bring him up, he’s ready.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:51 PM

      A nice triple off a Low-A guy? Come on, let the fine wine take its time to get better.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:02 PM

        Think he will be ready 2016.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:07 PM

        Has to be a September callup and compete for the last bench spot as that speedy toolsy guy who can pinch-run and get you a steal in a key spot.

        Nats return Rendon, Esco, and Espi next year so Turner will have competition and again no need to rush him and lose a year of team control.

        Not sure when he gets called up in 2016.

        I like the swing. Controlled and quick where he throws the hands for that added power. He’s off to the races when he gets the ball in the gap.

      • laddieblahblah - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:18 PM

        Saw a total of 8 pitches and swung at only 2 of them for the 2 and 3-baggers. Both were on the inner half, so he obviously likes that location. Would like to see how he handles pitches on the outer half.

        He still looked like a grownup playing with teenagers.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:24 PM

        Yes, he seemed like a mismatch in that game and did what he needed to.

        I agree with you, I need to see how he does in a large sample size.

  17. Drew - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:50 PM

    Trea Turner is putting on a show in the Futures game.

    He triples into the gap, adding it to his RBI double earlier.

    The kid can fly!

  18. nattygoats - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:52 PM

    The great Bucky Show with his 4 all stars has Dem Os at .500. Bwi hahahahahahahahahahaha

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:57 PM

      What was up with him waddling out of his dugout to jawbone with the ump when MW went to the mound in the 9th?

      • adcwonk - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:57 PM

        I think (seriously) he wanted to know what MW was talking about — FP thought that MW was wondering if there was fan interference on the HR (somebody _did_ stick their glove out, but it wasn’t over the field)

  19. knoxvillenat - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:54 PM

    knoxvillenat – Jul 10, 2015 at 7:33 AM
    I’ll be happy if the Nats take 2 of 3. A sweep on the road would be awesome!

    And tonight I am very happy!

  20. dcwx61 - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:54 PM

    If Harper wants to have an amazing career with lots of post-season activity, he should seriously consider staying…what an amazing well run organization….the pitching development amongst the best and Rizzo continues to get great prospects.
    He won’t have that in NY

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:08 PM

      Harper is very aware of baseball history. If he goes to the Yankeeshe might never make their Mt. Rushmore.

      More than likely he will be the number 1 guy easily of the Nats Mt. Rushmore.

      That will be what Rizzo has to sell. To sell it be needs direct contact, as his agent might fail to pass that info on.

  21. dcwx61 - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:01 PM

    what the heck…that was treats award

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:11 PM

      It was Trea’s treat.

      I guess a homer trumps a 2 run double and a stand up triple.

    • TimDz - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:24 PM

      Home town boy won it….

  22. rlndtln - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:34 PM

    Just ask Harp what he wants and give it to him.The Nats will be insignificant forever if they lose Harp.It may take 5 percent ownership.

    • dcwx61 - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:42 PM

      yes, like when Boston let go of Ruth and the Yanks let him walk later on.
      The two most insignificant teams in the history of sports

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