Scherzer flirts with no-hitter as Nationals take 2-0 NLCS lead on Cardinals | TribLIVE.com
MLB

Scherzer flirts with no-hitter as Nationals take 2-0 NLCS lead on Cardinals

Associated Press
1800004_web1_1800004-d40855670ddd449d9f48beafcb2a5524
AP
Washington’s Adam Eaton leaps to catch a ball hit by the Cardinals’ Tommy Edman during the eighth inning.

ST. LOUIS — Max Scherzer was strength and fire. Anibal Sanchez was artistry and deception.

Two different styles, two absolute gems for the Washington Nationals.

Scherzer followed Sanchez’s near no-hitter with a try of his own, and the stingy Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, on Saturday for a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

“We really want to win here,” Scherzer said. “So that’s what’s going to happen: We’re going to compete and win.”

Scherzer didn’t allow a hit until Paul Goldschmidt led off the seventh inning with a single that left fielder Juan Soto played conservatively with a 1-0 lead. A day earlier, Sanchez held the Cardinals hitless until Jose Martinez had a pinch single with two down in the eighth.

Sanchez and Scherzer also began the 2013 ALCS with consecutive no-hit bids of at least five innings for Detroit against Boston. They are the only pitchers to accomplish the feat in postseason history.

“The way he can change speeds and execute pitches, it’s a treat to really watch and get to pitch with him,” Scherzer said. “For me, I’m just in the moment. I’m not trying to do anything great, I’m just trying to stick within my game.”

Scherzer, a St. Louis native who played college ball for Missouri, struck out 11 and walked two in seven innings.

It doesn’t get any easier for St. Louis, either. Ace Stephen Strasburg gets the ball for the wild-card Nationals when the best-of-seven series moves to Washington for Game 3 on Monday night. Jack Flaherty pitches for the Cards.

“They have a pretty strong advantage right now,” Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in our hitters. I think our hitters are going to do something special in Washington.”

St. Louis got another solid performance from Wainwright, who struck out 11 in 7 1/3 innings.

But after getting only one hit in the opener, the Cardinals’ inconsistent lineup managed just three hits against Scherzer and the Washington bullpen.

“We trust in each other. We’ve been in this position before,” Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. “We just have to figure out how to get better.”

The NL Central champions got their first run of the series when center fielder Michael A. Taylor misplayed Martinez’s pinch-hit liner into an RBI double with two outs in the eighth. But Dexter Fowler flied out on Sean Doolittle’s next pitch on a tough day to see the ball with the shadows from the mid-afternoon start.

Patrick Corbin got the first out of the ninth before Daniel Hudson earned his third save of the playoffs. The right-hander was reinstated from the postseason paternity list before the game after he missed the series opener to be with his wife, Sara, for the birth of their third child.

Corbin is expected to start Game 4 for the Nationals on Tuesday night.

“It’s a good ballclub, but we’ve got great pitchers,” Taylor said. “They went out and executed pitch after pitch.”

The Cardinals got one baserunner into scoring position while Scherzer was on the mound. Kolten Wong walked with one out in the first and stole second, but Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna struck out.

After Goldschmidt’s hit, Ozuna struck out again and Molina bounced into an inning-ending double play on Scherzer’s final pitch of the afternoon.

Washington went ahead to stay when Taylor homered on Wainwright’s first pitch of the third. The Nationals added two more on Adam Eaton’s double down the first-base line with one out in the eighth.

“This is really, it’s not just one guy carrying this team or two guys,” Scherzer said. “It’s really just a collective of everybody out there doing their job.”

Categories: Sports | MLB
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.