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Scherzer strikes out 10, leads Nationals over Mets 7-2

Scherzer strikes out 10, leads Nationals over Mets 7-2

NEW YORK -- Max Scherzer struck out 10 over eight masterful innings to reach double digits for the fifth straight start and limited the Mets to four hits, leading the Washington Nationals over New York 7-2 on Friday night.

Matt Wieters and Michael A. Taylor hit consecutive homers starting the third inning against Steven Matz (1-1). Anthony Rendon added a two-run homer in the sixth and had three RBIs, Bryce Harper finished with three hits, including a run-scoring single in the eighth, as the Nationals improved to 5-0 at Citi Field this year.

Scherzer (8-4) won for the fourth time in five starts, starting 26 of 29 batters with strikes. He never threw more than 16 pitches in an inning until the eighth, ending that one by fanning Yoenis Cespedes in an 11-pitch at-bat. Scherzer walked two and threw 118 pitches, his most since May 11 last year, but got defensive help when Washington's infield turned three double plays behind him.

Jose Reyes led off the eighth with his first home run since May 1, a drive into the right-field second deck, and pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson followed with a flyout to the warning track.

Scherzer, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, reached double digits in strikeouts for the eighth time this season and the 57th time in his big league career, and he allowed four hits or fewer for the 10th time in 14 starts. Jay Bruce led off the ninth against Shawn Kelley with his 18th homer.

New York, which dropped 10 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals, was starting a stretch in which it faces Stephen Strasburg on Saturday and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw on Monday.

Making his second start since recovering from left elbow inflammation, Matz allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and no walks. In his return from the disabled list, he won at Atlanta last weekend.

Matz retired his first six batters -- matching the most by a Mets starter this season -- before Wieters sent a sinker into the center-field seats. Taylor drove an opposite-field drive over the right-field wall three pitches later, the sixth back-to-back homers for the Nationals this year.

Rendon doubled the lead in the sixth with another opposite-field drive to right, his 12th home run this season and the NL-leading 103rd for the Nationals. Harper and Ryan Zimmerman hit run-scoring singles against Fernando Salas in a three-run eighth, giving Harper 51 RBIs and Zimmerman 52, and Rendon was walked with the bases loaded by Neil Ramirez.

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Bryce Harper powers Nationals past Diamondbacks

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Bryce Harper powers Nationals past Diamondbacks

PHOENIX -- The newest additions to the Washington bullpen came through when called upon to help deliver a victory to their new team.

Sean Doolittle stranded the potential tying run by escaping a jam for his second save for Washington, and Ryan Madson tossed a scoreless eighth inning as the Nationals held off the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 on Saturday night.

"The game can really speed up on you once you start getting guys on base," said Doolittle, who with Madson arrived in a trade with Oakland earlier in the week. "The crowd and the energy of the stadium can kind of take over and ... you have to be mindful enough to step off the mound, slow the game down a bit, kind of press reset."

Bryce Harper homered and drove in two runs, and starting pitcher Tanner Roark struck out a season-high 11. Roark (8-6) gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings for the NL East-leading Nationals.

"Curveball felt good. Just keep the hitter guessing," Roark said.

Harper hit his 25th home run on a full-count offspeed pitch from Anthony Banda (0-1), who lost in his major league debut.

Chris Iannetta hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom half, but the Nationals opened a 4-1 lead with a three-run sixth.

Harper hit a run-scoring double and scored on Ryan Zimmerman's double, and Anthony Rendon beat out an RBI single that sent Zimmerman home.

"They had a young guy out there that throws the ball really hard, has good command. He's going to be really good in the next couple of years for sure," Harper said of Banda. "Just got him this time and got a few runs up there."

A.J. Pollock tripled in the bottom half and scored on Jake Lamb's groundout, and Arizona reliever Jorge De La Rosa got out of bases-loaded trouble in the seventh when he struck out Harper and Zimmerman.

Doolittle, acquired from Oakland last weekend, walked Lamb leading off the ninth. Iannetta hit a broken-bat grounder to third, and Rendon's throw to second went into right field for an error that put runners on the corners.

Paul Goldschmidt hit a sacrifice fly, Chris Owings flied out and Doolittle struck out Ketel Marte for his second save with the Nationals.

"Madson's been great for us. Doolittle ... he never panics. It was great to see. It's a lot of fun to have a back end like that," Harper said.

Banda allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck out five and walked none. He was optioned back to Triple-A Reno after the game.

"I felt confident. I threw the ball in the zone and kept attacking hitters," Banda said. "I made a couple of mistakes, Harper and the middle of the lineup."

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Nationals lose to Diamondbacks in dramatic fashion

Nationals lose to Diamondbacks in dramatic fashion

PHOENIX -- Three straight homers off Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the first inning had the Arizona Diamondbacks set up for an easy Major League Baseball victory over the NL East leaders.

Instead, they needed Brandon Drury's bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 victory Friday night.

The home runs by David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Jake Lamb to start their first at-bat helped stake the Diamondbacks to a 5-0 lead against Scherzer.

"We did a great job getting his pitch count up and also putting runs on him," the Diamondbacks' A.J. Pollock said. "Great getting on him early. We would've loved to have (scrapped) a couple of runs in the middle of the game, but the key point is we won the game and we came through in the end."

The first-inning feat was the first in the majors since Baltimore did it against Texas on May 10, 2012. It was the first time in Nationals history (2005 to present) that an opposing team has hit back-to-back-to-back home runs.

The Diamondbacks last hit three straight homers on Aug. 11, 2010, when they had four in a row at Milwaukee.

It was the most runs allowed by Scherzer in a first inning since July 2, 2011, against San Francisco, when he gave up five.

"I had four pitches today. I was using them. They beat me," Scherzer said. "I just couldn't get the ball exactly where I wanted it. When you do that against this type of ballclub and these types of hitters, they are really good and they make you pay."

Scherzer's five runs allowed tied for the most he's given up in a start this season, and the five innings tied for his shortest outing of the season.

Arizona sent nine batters to the plate in the four-run first and the Diamondbacks made it 5-0 in the second on Lamb's RBI double.

Scherzer had allowed just one home run in 34 2/3 innings over five starts before he surrendered the three home runs on his first 10 pitches. The All-Star right-hander and two-time Cy Young Award winner was tagged for three homers in a game for the first time since May 6, 2016, against the Chicago Cubs, when he allowed four.

"I don't think I have ever seen a game starting off with three homers. Max hadn't seen it, either," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.

Peralta, Pollock and Lamb also each had a double, another historical first for the Diamondbacks.

The Nationals rallied with Daniel Murphy's run-scoring double in the fourth, then added two more runs in the fifth off Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley. A leadoff double for Matt Wieters led to Brian Goodwin's RBI groundout, and Ryan Raburn singled in Wilmer Difo with two outs.

Godley struck out a career high 10 in 5 2/3 innings, and allowed four runs and five hits.

Difo drove in two runs, one to cut the lead to 5-4 in the sixth and the other that tied the game on a groundout to first in the eighth.

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the ninth on Pollock's triple and intentional walks to Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt by Enny Romero (2-4). After Gregor Blanco flied out to shallow left, Drury bounced a single into right field for Arizona's third win in four games.