The Nationals were forced to pull Max Scherzer from his start Friday against the San Francisco Giants just two batters in after the right-hander experienced what he called a groin "tweak" on his 12th pitch of the game.
Facing Giants first baseman Brandon Belt with a 2-2 count, Scherzer fired a pitch and hopped off the mound immediately upon completing his delivery. He then met with trainer Paul Lessard, throwing one warmup pitch before leaving the game.
"Once I made that warmup pitch, I grabbed again in the same spot. So, it just wasn't an injury that you could pitch through," Scherzer said after the game. "Now, fortunate enough, I got the MRI back and the good news is that it's not a muscle strain. It's just a little inflammation of the adductor, fascia of the adductor... It's really best case scenario in terms of what the injury is, in that I'm really day-to-day, that this could subside pretty quickly here."
Scherzer will be re-evaluated Saturday.
Paolo Espino entered in relief for the Nationals, allowing just one earned run with five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. It was the only run scored in a 1-0 win for the major-league leading Giants (39-23), as the Nats bullpen combined to shout out the final 5 1/3 innings. Washington falls to 25-34 ahead of Saturday's doubleheader between the teams.
Scherzer, 36, entered the game with a 2.22 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 12 starts this season. He’s been the Nationals’ best starter in a season that’s seen Stephen Strasburg bounce on and off the Injured List while Patrick Corbin (6.21 ERA) has struggled to return to form. Scherzer is in the final season of the seven-year, $210 million contract he signed with the Nationals in 2015.