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Scherzer leads Nationals over Wainwright, Cardinals 8-2

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Scherzer leads Nationals over Wainwright, Cardinals 8-2

VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- Max Scherzer outpitched Adam Wainwright in a matchup worthy of opening day, and the Washington Nationals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 Thursday.

Scherzer struck out nine and walked three in five innings, allowing two unearned runs and three hits.

In typical Scherzer fashion, he was more concerned about the three walks, saying he was "inefficient" against the Cardinals lineup.

"When you're walking three guys, that's just inexcusable," Scherzer said. "I think I fell behind quite a few guys as well. That's just something I know I have control over. I've got to be better at pounding the zone and being in those 1-2 counts and not being in those 2-1 counts.

"It's something that can be easily fixed. At the same time, you've got to like where all of my pitches are at, how everything's moving. It's something I can build off of."

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After the pitching matchup was announced Wednesday night, Scherzer and Wainwright exchanged a few friendly texts.

"Yeah, that happened," Scherzer said. "We both realize we have two starts left . hey, let's go at it. Bring your `A' game type of stuff. That's what makes it fun. He's a competitor as well. That's what you enjoy."

Wainwright gave up four runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked one.

Michael A. Taylor hit a two-run double and a two-run homer for the Nationals. Anthony Rendon drove in two runs with his third double in two days.

Scherzer struck out eight different Cardinals.

Wainwright was relieved by Nick Maness, who gave up two doubles, Taylor's homer and a single among his first four batters.

STARTING TIME

Washington manager Dusty Baker was happy with the way Scherzer was able to get through the day without being at his best.

"He was getting underneath his breaking ball a little bit. He wasn't sharp, but he was sharp enough to get them out."

UP NEXT

Tanner Roark gets the start as the Nationals visit the Miami Marlins and David Phelps.

TAYLOR HAVING BIG SPRING

Taylor now leads the Nationals in home runs (four) and RBIs (13) this spring while batting .486 (16 for 37), but is still slated to be the team's fourth outfielder behind Ben Revere in center field.

"Both of them are having great springs. They do what they're supposed to do. Ben's supposed to get on base and score runs. Michael has the capability of doing everything," he said. "But we can only play three at a time. There isn't a quarterback controversy. It is what it is."

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

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Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE