Nationals

Gaborik rallies Rangers past Maple Leafs 5-2

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Gaborik rallies Rangers past Maple Leafs 5-2

NEW YORK (AP) Defenseman Marc Staal scored the tying goal early in the third period and then set up Marian Gaborik's game-winner late to rally the New York Rangers to a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

This one had all the signs of being another tough loss for the Rangers, who had already dropped three of their first four in the lockout-shortened season. But Staal got New York even at 2 at 7:36 of the third and then fired the drive that Gaborik deflected in with 7:03 left.

The Rangers held a commanding shots advantage throughout and finished with a 42-17 edge, but they trailed 2-0 in the first period.

Brad Richards, who also assisted on Gaborik's winner, got the Rangers within 2-1 in the second. Gaborik added two assists and an empty-net goal with 1:15 to go.

On the go-ahead goal, Richards nudged the puck up the wall to Staal, who unleashed a one-timer that Gaborik tipped past screened goalie James Reimer.

Brian Boyle then deflected in Michael Del Zotto's drive to make it 4-2 with 2:52 remaining.

Mikhail Grabovski and James van Riemsdyk scored first-period goals for the Maple Leafs, who fell to 2-1 on the road.

Defenseman John-Michael Liles assisted on both early goals for Toronto, which blew a lead for the second straight game. On Thursday, the Maple Leafs allowed five straight goals in a 7-4 loss to the New York Islanders after jumping out to a 3-1 edge.

Reimer was strong throughout before his rough third period. He had to be nearly perfect for much of the game because his teammates generated so few shots at opposing goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

It was a much-needed win for the Rangers, who were 0 for 4 on the power play and are 2 for 22 overall this season.

Toronto forged a 2-0 lead in the first period despite being outshot 14-3. The only save Lundqvist made in the opening 20 minutes was off a shot by van Riemsdyk, who instantly put the rebound in for his third goal.

The power-play tally was set up when the Rangers were caught with too many men on the ice.

The only other shot that came Lundqvist's way in the first period was Grabovski's goal. Despite their low shot total, the Maple Leafs had nine drives blocked by New York defenders.

Grabovski gave Toronto a 1-0 lead when he was left alone in front of Lundqvist, stickhandled and then shoved in a shot at 6:25 for his third goal of the season.

The Rangers had a couple of potential scoring chances, but were denied by Reimer. His best stop came with just under nine minutes left in the first after Nash was sprung free on a long stretch pass. Nash snapped off a hard shot that Reimer calmly gloved at his midsection.

New York finally had something to show for its efforts when Richards cleaned up a loose puck in front to get the Rangers within a goal at 5:43 of the second.

Nash's drive from the outer edge of the right circle was deflected in front by Gaborik, who put the puck back in on Reimer. The puck slid toward the left post, and Richards took a backhanded swipe for his second goal of the season.

New York held a 17-4 shots advantage at the time of its first goal and a 25-9 edge through 40 minutes.

Fans got so frustrated with the lack of positive moments from the slumping home team that when Lundqvist made his simple glove save to stop play 40 seconds into the middle period, the crowd let out a sarcastic cheer.

NOTES: New York appeared close to signing veteran free-agent center Jason Arnott, pending a physical. ... Rangers RW Arron Asham returned after missing two games because of a groin injury. He has engaged in a fight in both games he has played this season. ... New York RW Benn Ferriero made his Rangers debut after being recalled from Connecticut (AHL). ... Toronto LW Nikolai Kulemin, who had a career-high three assists Wednesday at Pittsburgh, earned another on Grabovski's goal. Van Riemsdyk had two goals and an assist in that game. ... Phil Kessel, who scored a career-high 37 goals last season for Toronto, has none through five games.

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Max Scherzer grits his way through broken nose in stellar outing, win vs. Phillies

Max Scherzer grits his way through broken nose in stellar outing, win vs. Phillies

WASHINGTON -- With a broken nose, pronounced black eye and seven shutout innings, Max Scherzer provided a striking capper to the Washington Nationals' day-night doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Scherzer himself? He shrugged off his work in the Nationals' 2-0 victory Wednesday night as business as usual.

"Trust me, this thing looks a lot worse than it actually is," Scherzer said. "I felt zero pain. There's been plenty of other injuries where I felt a lot of pain and I've had to pitch through. I'll hang my hat on those starts, but tonight I felt zero pain. This is part of what you have to do. You take the ball every fifth time.

"That's my responsibility to the team, to make sure I always post, and I knew I could post tonight."

Brian Dozier and Victor Robles hit solo homers to support Scherzer (6-5) as Washington won for the 16th time in 23 games. Philadelphia has dropped seven of its last nine and 12 of 18.

In the first game, Patrick Corbin struck out eight while allowing one run over seven innings as the Nationals earned a 6-2 victory in the delayed series opener after the teams were rained out Monday and Tuesday.

Scherzer bunted a ball off his face during batting practice Tuesday, but it didn't stop him from making his scheduled start. His injury may have provided an extra layer of intimidation in the form of a black eye more worthy of a boxing ring than a baseball diamond.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner sported a pronounced bruise arcing beneath his right eye, adding another hue to a glare that already featured one blue eye and one brown eye.

"Going out there and throwing, the only thing I had to deal with was the swelling underneath the eye," Scherzer said. "It was kind of jiggling around, and so in warmups I just had to get used to knowing what it was feeling like to throw the ball and just have that swelling."

While he wasn't at his most efficient on a humid night, piling up 117 pitches, Scherzer was rarely threatened. He struck out 10, yielded only four hits and permitted just two runners to reach scoring position. And he finished strong, striking out three in a row after Cesar Hernandez led off the seventh with a double.

"It really is one of the most impressive things I've seen in a while," Dozier said. "He's probably the best pitcher in our generation, and you don't get that status unless you take the ball every fifth day, no matter if you're doing good, doing bad, you got a broken nose. You always want the ball."

Bryce Harper, Scherzer's former Nationals teammate, was 0 for 4 with four walks in the doubleheader and was loudly booed before each plate appearance -- especially in the better-attended nightcap. This series is his second trip back to Washington, where he played from 2012-18, since signing a 13-year, $330 million contract with Philadelphia in March.

Dozier belted a two-out solo shot in the second off Jake Arrieta (6-6), who allowed two hits and struck out three over six innings and had the misfortune of matching up with Scherzer on the wrong day.

"Max is just one of the best to ever toe the rubber, honestly," Arietta said. "We have ran into him a couple of times. That's just what he does. He is tough to square up, and he is throwing three or four pitches for strikes with electric stuff. Just a tough one."

Robles homered off reliever Pat Neshek in the eighth. Neshek departed two batters later with a left hamstring strain, and manager Gabe Kapler said he was likely to land on the injured list less than a week after returning from an absence of more than three weeks caused by a shoulder strain.

Wander Suero pitched a perfect eighth for Washington, and Sean Doolittle worked the ninth for his 15th save in 18 tries.

Philadelphia was 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position between the two games.

Corbin (6-5), whose start was pushed back twice this week, allowed a solo homer to Scott Kingery in the first inning of the opener. But he let just one other runner to reach third while ending a personal three-game skid.

"It's not ideal, but you have to deal with it to make sure you are ready," said Corbin, who is one strikeout shy of 1,000 for his career. "I was glad we got that one in today."

Dozier and Gerardo Parra had RBI doubles against Phillies starter Zach Eflin (6-7). They later hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning off Cole Irvin to seal the victory.

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This Nationals fan's Max Scherzer broken nose shirt is the best thing you'll see today

This Nationals fan's Max Scherzer broken nose shirt is the best thing you'll see today

Nationals ace Max Scherzer added another incredible chapter to his legendary career Wednesday, pitching seven shutout innings against the Phillies after breaking his nose in a batting practice accident the day before. 

To honor Scherzer's toughness, one amazing Nats fan wore arguably the greatest shirt ever seen at a baseball game.

(Photo: NBC Sports Washington)

This isn't a good shirt. This is a GREAT shirt, worthy of the man who's face it features. 

Someone get this fan a signed Scherzer baseball. 

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