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Scherzer's fiery exchange with Williams highlights extra-inning win


Scherzer's fiery exchange with Williams highlights extra-inning win

The meeting was brief, tense and essentially spoke volumes of what Max Scherzer is all about.

In the seventh inning of a 2-2 game with two outs and a man on second base, Nationals manager Matt Williams made a visit to the mound -- not so much to remove his ace, but more so to see if he felt good enough to face the Marlins' best hitter, Dee Gordon, to get the final out of the inning.

It didn't take long before the skipper got his answer.

"I asked him 'Do you want him?' and he said, 'Yeah', among other things," said a grinning Williams. "I don't know if you can read lips."

For those watching at home, the message was pretty loud and clear. Television cameras caught the Nats' $210 million man appearing to use some colorful language during his impassioned plea to finish the inning.

"Some yelling, some four letter words and 'I want the ball' is basically the gist of it," Scherzer said of the exchange.

The 31-year-old right hander repaid his manager's trust by retiring Gordon to keep things tied, a key moment in what eventually was a 5-4 extra-inning win. And in typical fashion, he fist-pumped his way back to the dugout, hooting and hollering as he gave violent high-fives to teammates and coaches alike.

It was just the latest example of how demonstrative Scherzer can get during his starts. Whether it's stalking the mound after strikeouts, shouting out teammates after big defensive plays or dousing them with chocolate syrup after big wins (a celebratory custom that finally returned after Jose Lobaton's game-ending sac fly), there's been no shortage of outward passion displayed during his first season in Washington. So nearly nine months to the day after he signed a seven-year contract with the Nats, Friday night's episode didn't exactly surprise anyone inside the clubhouse.

"I knew that was coming," Jayson Werth said. "He’s a competitor. He wants the ball. He wants it in big spots. I knew if Matt made it all the way out there without signaling to the bullpen he was going to stay in the game. Just the type of guy he is."

"I've done that for a while now," Scherzer added. "I've done it to some pitching coaches and managers [Jim] Leyland and [Brad] Ausmus in the past. You just have to have the belief in yourself when your situations arise. I always know I still have my best bolt left. I know I'm good to go and I'm ready to face anybody in the league in that situation."

The fiery conversation with Williams was a moment that was particularly uplifting considering its context. Much like the Nats, Scherzer's season has tailed off quite a bit in the second half, especially after he put up first-half numbers that made him a potential NL Cy Young candidate. But even as Washington is fighting daily to stave off elimination from playoff contention, he showed the type of fight the team hopes to maintain through September -- tragic numbers be damned.

"[It] was [the] biggest spot in the ball game," he said. "I understand the importance of my job to be able to go out there and give the team a chance to win. In that situation, even though it's a tie ballgame, I'm giving my team a chance to win and that's where you're able to do your job, it's rewarding."


Watch Scherzer and Williams' exchange right here:

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.


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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.