By James Kenney
The Nationals had ace pitcher Max Scherzer on the mound for the last game of the three game series with the Philadelphia Phillies one day after their 5-1 victory behind Joe Ross’ stellar seven innings. Scherzer faced off with Adam Morgan, a struggling pitcher looking for his fifth win, in pursuit of just his sixth win.
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman wasted no time putting the Nationals on the board with a two out double to right, scoring infielder Daniel Murphy who reached after being hit by a pitch. The Nats took a 1-0 lead behind Zimmerman’s knock in the top of the first.
In the top of the fourth inning, slugging backstop Wilson Ramos plated third baseman Anthony Rendon with a soft line drive to right field off an 0-2 breaking ball. Ramos collected four RBI on the night and finished the game with an outstanding .338 batting average.
Ramos’ damage continued in the top of the sixth with a homerun to right field, again going opposite field. Zimmerman and Rendon both scored on the long shot. The Nats would tack on a sixth run after a longball by switch-hitting shortstop Danny Espinosa. It was his second homerun of the series.
One inning later, Zimmerman increased the Nats’ lead to 7-0 with a sacrifice fly out that scored Murphy. Left fielder Tyler Goeddel made a slick sliding play to catch the ball, but it was not enough to prevent Murphy from scoring.
Scherzer, although essentially flawless in eight innings of work, saw his season-long struggles with the homerun continue in giving up a two-run shot to Goeddel. Aside from that blemish in the bottom of the seventh, Scherzer gave up only five hits and struck out 11. His ERA spiked a little from 3.80 to 3.87 between last night’s start and his previous outing