Quick Links

Machado sinks Nationals with home run off Scherzer


Machado sinks Nationals with home run off Scherzer

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Knowing his team has reached a point where it all but has to win every remaining game on the schedule, Matt Williams asked his ace to do something extraordinary. Max Scherzer couldn't quite do it, and so the Nationals lost yet another game via a huge hit allowed in the seventh inning. And that only set up some more fireworks later than may have brought some new life to this interleague rivalry.

Scherzer was electric most of the night, striking out 12. But he was done in by a pair of homers, one allowed early, one allowed late. Steve Pearce's 2-run shot in the top of the first gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead. Then Manny Machado's 2-run blast in the seventh (on Scherzer's 122nd pitch of the night) gave Baltimore a 4-3 lead that altered the course of the game.

The Nationals couldn't overcome that deficit. They got one run back off Chris Tillman in the bottom of the first, then two more in the bottom of the fifth, but couldn't deliver another hit that would have brought them back.

The real fireworks came in the top of the ninth, when Jonathan Papelbon twice threw up-and-in to Machado, plunking the Orioles third baseman with his second offering. Plate umpire Mark Ripperger immediately ejected Papelbon, prompting both benches to empty (though nothing remotely close to a brawl ensued).

Of more concern, the Nationals wasted a second straight opportunity to pick up a critical game in the standings after the Mets lost again to the Braves. The deficit remains 6 1/2 games with 11 to play, New York's magic number now down to 5.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: The Orioles haven't gone after Bryce Harper much at all in this series; they've walked him five times in two nights. But the MVP favorite had a chance to swing away when leading off the eighth with the Nats down a run against right-hander Mychael Givens. So what did Harper do? He squared around to bunt a 1-1 pitch, fouling it off. Givens then struck him out on the next pitch. Harper likes to square around on occasion, especially against tough lefties, but that situation screamed for him to swing away and try to tie the game on his own.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Scherzer's pitch count was at 104 when he took the mound for the seventh, trying to protect a 3-2 lead. He gave up a quick double to J.J. Hardy but then buckled down and struck out Jimmy Paredes on a 98-mph fastball before getting Gerardo Parra to ground out. His starter's pitch count now at 117, Williams had to make the kind of decision that has faced him all season: Leave Scherzer in to face Machado with the game on the line, or ask one of his beleaguered relievers (in this case, Casey Janssen) to get the job done? He stuck with Scherzer, who on his 122nd pitch reached back to find 98 mph again but left it over the plate and watched as Machado launched it into the Red Porch for the go-ahead homer. It was the 17th homer Scherzer has allowed in 80 innings since the All-Star break. And the pitch count of 122 was the largest for a Nationals starter since Edwin Jackson threw 123 on Aug. 30, 2012.

KEY STAT: Bryce Harper has reached base 290 times this season, most by any Washington major leaguer since Frank Howard (294 in 1970).

UP NEXT: This year's Battle of the Beltways wraps up at 4:05 p.m. Thursday, a day later than originally scheduled thanks to a rainout. Tanner Roark (4-6, 4.73) starts for the Nationals against right-hander Tyler Wilson (2-2, 3.72).

MORE NATIONALS: Stock Watch: Harper's magical season nearing its end

Quick Links

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

USA Today Sports

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

Quick Links

The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.