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Scherzer loses no-hit bid, Nats' offense sputters in loss to Indians

Scherzer loses no-hit bid, Nats' offense sputters in loss to Indians

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night at Nationals Park.

How it happened: It turns out that Diamondbacks series out in the desert of Arizona, when they scored 32 runs in three games, may have been a mirage for the Nationals' offense.

Because in the four games since, their lineup has fallen back into a weary funk. In Tuesday's loss to the Indians, the Nats managed just one run and have now only scored three total runs in their last three games. Three runs. Even if Max Scherzer is on the mound - and he pitched well on Tuesday night - that is rarely going to cut it.

Scherzer was brilliant for most of his outing. He didn't allow a baserunner until he walked Tyler Naquin with two outs in the fifth. And he didn't give up a hit until Francisco Lindor singled with one out in the seventh. He had both batters at two strikes.

After Lindor's hit, though, things quickly unraveled from there. The speedy All-Star scooted to third on a throwing error by Scherzer and then scored on a double by Jose Ramirez. Ramirez then stole third and scored on a Lonnie Chisenhall bloop single.

The Indians added another score in the ninth, again thanks to Ramirez. He singled home Jason Kipnis, who led off with a double, to give the Indians an insurance run.

The Nats couldn't get much going against Indians starter Trevor Bauer, who tossed 6 1/3 shutout frames on four hits and two walks. Reliever Andrew Miller took over from there and gave up a solo homer to Jayson Werth. That was it for the Nats, though, as they went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The Nats have lost two of three to follow a four-game winning streak. This was the first time the Indians have ever played at Nationals Park, which opened in 2008.

What it means: The Nats fell to 66-46 on the season and 33-22 at home. They are now 10-5 against the AL Central division this season.

Scherzer good, but not good enough: Scherzer was strong overall and did enough to win on a normal night, if only the Nats' offense had given him some help. He was eight outs away from getting his third career no-no, and has now taken a no-hitter until the sixth inning or beyond in eight of his 57 starts as a National. 

Scherzer ended up working seven innings with just two runs (one earned) allowed on three hits and a walk. He didn't get charged with the first run because it involved his own error, which is a strange MLB rule. Scherzer struck out 10 batters for his 10th double-digit strikeout game and the 46th of his career. Only Clayton Kershaw (51) has more among active pitchers.

With his second strikeout of the night, he reached 200 on the season. This is the fifth consecutive year he's hit the 200-strikeout mark. Among active players, only Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander have also accomplished the feat.

Revere has a good day: Ben Revere entered Tuesday as one of just three active Nats who have faced Bauer and that experience apparently helped, as Revere was one of the few Nats players to have any sort of success off the former third overall pick. Revere had two hits, including a double, his first extra-base hit since July 23. He is now 4-for-6 with a walk off Bauer in his career.

Revere also made a very nice catch for the second straight game. This one was a leaping grab in left-center field to rob Roberto Perez of a would-be double for the first out of the sixth inning. Revere leaped and caught the ball just inches from the top of the wall. At the time, it was a huge out given Scherzer was still nursing a no-hit bid.

Murphy struggles again: All-Star Daniel Murphy has found himself in a bit of a slump. He went hitless on Tuesday for the third straight game, a span of 10 at-bats. This is the longest hitless stretch for him this season. Consider this: Murphy didn't go two straight games without a hit this year until June 3-4, in his 54th appearance. That was one of just two other times this year he's gone two straight hitless games. During this stretch Murphy has seen his batting average drop from .356 to .347.

Up next: The Nats and Indians play the last game of their 2016 interleague series with a 4:05 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday afternoon. Gio Gonzalez (7-9, 4.13) will get the start opposite right-hander Josh Tomlin (11-4, 3.81).

[RELATED: Nats' Harper shut down from baseball activities]


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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.

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2018 MLB Power Rankings: April update

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2018 MLB Power Rankings: April update

Frankly, it’s too early to make major changes to our power rankings. Let this serve as the requisite reminder that the season is only ~10% done, and all reactions right now could be classified as overreactions.

That said, nearly three weeks’ worth of games is all we have to go on right now, and there have already been a few teams to make our preseason rankings look silly.

Some players/teams have no reason to worry (Nationals, Cubs), and some have truly changed our minds (Mets, Orioles). There’s so much baseball left to be played, however, so just like our preseason edition, these newest rankings will also look laughable as early as next month.

It’s always fun to take a snapshot of the current order of teams though, especially when it means we get to move the Yankees down in the rankings.

Without further ado, here’s our mid-April update to the 2018 MLB Power Rankings.