The Nationals got out to fast start. Brian Goodwin knocked the 2nd pitch he saw down the first base line for a double. Taylor bunted him over to third, which took a great play by Gyorko to convert, and then Bryce Harper socked a 1-2 slider into the seats in right. Murphy followed with a single to center that Tommy Pham charged and misplayed into a double, but Martinez settled in and got Rendon to fly out to right and and Lind to ground out to second. 2-0 Nationals.
Scherzer delivered a remarkable shut-down inning. He struck out Carpenter looking on a dubious, elevated cutter, Pham swinging on a change-up below the zone, and Piscotty swinging on 98mph fastball down the heart of the plate. He required just 14 pitches.
Martinez had a breezy, 11-pitch 2nd. Wilmer Difo singled, but Wieters to grounded out to second, Scherzer sacrificed Difo over, and Goodwin looped out to short right.
Scherzer kept rolling in the 2nd. He struck out Gyorko with a change-up low and away, got Molina to ground out weakly to short, and struck Grichuk out with another piped, 97mph fastball. He was at 26 pitches.
Taylor battled Martinez for an 8-pitch walk before Bryce Harper torched another home run. Both were on pitches down and in to the hulking lefty. Martinez was clearly frustrated, and promptly walked Murphy on 4 pitches, then surrendered an RBI double to Anthony Rendon. Molina started his slow-down routine to try and reign Martinez in, and the righty responded by striking out Lind, getting Wieters to ground out to short, and (after intentionally walking Difo) got Scherzer to ground out to second. 5-0 Nationals.
Greg Garcia led off with a single up the middle to mercifully end the no-hit bid. But Scherzer struck out Mejia and Martinez on sliders low and away, and Carpenter popped out into foul territory. He was at 36 pitches.
Martinez retired Goodwin on a ground out to third to start the 4th, but Taylor grounded a single through the right side ahead of Bryce Harper. Martinez made sure to stay away from that low-and-in quadrant this time and got Harper to ground into an inning-ending, 6-3 double play.
Tommy Pham led off by smacking a ground ball right through the legs of first baseman Adam Lind, which was ruled an error. After Piscotty struck out on a change-up low and away, Gyorko walked. Molina then grounded into what should have been an inning-ending double play, but Rendon booted the ball and could only retire the slow-footed catcher at first. Randal Grichuk then worked Scherzer to a full count before hacking at a 96mph fastball up and out of the zone. He was now at 52 pitches.
Carlos managed a second good inning in the 5th. He struck out Murphy looking at a full-count slider, got Rendon to ground out to third, and, after he walked Lind, struck out Wieters on 3 straight pitches.
Scherzer regained his dominance in the 5th. He battled Garcia to a full count before getting him to pop out to short left field, and struck out Mejia on another change-up low and away. Luke Voit, pinch-hitting for Martinez, smacked a single past Scherzer’s head, but Carpenter flew out to deep right. He was at 72 pitches.
Mike Mayers entered in mop-up duty. He got Difo to ground out to first before walking Scherzer. That sin was forgiven, however, as he got Goodwin to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Pham managed a lead-off walk, but Piscotty flew out to right, Gyorko struck out on a change-up low and in, and Molina hacked at a 94mph fastball away and off the plate. Scherzer was now at 90 pitches.
Mayers returned for a second inning. He got Taylor to ground out to third, Harper to miss a meatball and pop out to left, and, after walking Murphy, got Rendon to ground into a fielder’s choice.
Grichuk torched a ball to left to start the 7th, but just got under it and could only make it to the warning track for the first out. Garcia followed with a ground out to first, and Mejia grounded out to short. Scherzer was at 100 pitches and his night was mercifully over.
Mayers came back out for a third inning, which proved to be one too many. He was greeted with a single by Lind and a double by Wieters. Difo knocked in Lind, and Goodwin knocked in Wieters with a pair of sacrifices to give the faulty Nationals bullpen even more room to breathe. 7-0 Nationals.
Lefty Enny Romero entered in relief of Scherzer. After pinch-hitter Jose Martinez struck out, Matt Carpenter guided a single through the shift and Tommy Pham socked a 2-run home run to right center. Stephen Piscotty followed with a double down the left field line, but Gyorko struck out on an elevated, 99mph fastball, and Molina flew out to the warning track in center. 7-2 Nationals.
John Brebbia entered in relief of Mayers. He battled Harper to a full count before the National’s player-of-the-game smoked a ball to deep center that skipped out of Pham’s glove for a “double.” Murphy advanced him to third with a fly out to deep right and Matheny opted to intentionally walk Rendon, but Brebbia battled to strike out Stephen Drew and got Wieters to ground out to shortstop.
Matt Albers entered to close the game out. He struck out Grichuk swinging wildly at a fastball that nearly hit him and, after walking Greg Garcia, got Mejia to ground into a fielder’s choice and pinch-hitter Paul DeJong to fly out to the wall in left. Nationals win 7-2.
Carlos Martinez: 5IP, 5ER, 2HR, 7H, 3K, 4BB, 24 GSc
Max Scherzer: 7IP, 0ER, 0HR, 2H, 12K, 2BB, 86 GSc
- Carlos Martinez and Yadier Molina were named the Cardinals’ All-Star representatives before the game. This is Martinez’s 2nd (2015) appearance, and Molina’s 8th appearance (2009-2015).
- Molina’s 16-game hitting streak came to an end.
- Scherzer seemed to get a more expanded zone than Martinez did. It didn’t matter.
- Both of Harper’s home runs came on balls on the inner half but well beneath the strike zone. It didn’t matter.
- Cardinal lead-off hitters actually reached in 3 of 7 innings against Scherzer. It didn’t matter.
- The Cardinals missed out on sweeping their fourth NL East team this season, having swept Philadelphia, Miami, and Atlanta previously. They have 1 sweep against a team not in the NL East (Pittsburgh).
- Luke Voit continues to hit, and John Brebbia continues to strike batters out. Hopefully
MoGirsch keeps them around.