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Scherzer fans 11, pitches Nationals past Diamondbacks

Scherzer fans 11, pitches Nationals past Diamondbacks

PHOENIX -- Energized by teammate Trea Turner's leadoff home run and working out of an early jam, Max Scherzer cruised to another victory Friday night.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award struck out 11 over seven innings of four-hit ball, and the Washington Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1.

Scherzer (7-1) retired 15 in a row after giving up a home run to David Peralta leading off the third inning. The five-time All-Star also hit an RBI double, and remained unbeaten since April 4.

"It could have been quick outs in the beginning or quick outs in the end," Scherzer said. "I was on the attack."

Anthony Rendon also homered for the Nationals, who have won five of six. Sean Doolittle earned his second save in as many nights and eighth of the season.

Doolittle gave up a hit to struggling slugger Paul Goldschmidt, who after going 1 for 4 Friday is 3 for his last 38.

"You feel bad and you want to contribute to the team. I have gone 0-for-4, 0-for-5 and punched out plenty of times and know that (manager Torey Lovullo) has to deal with questions from you guys," Goldschmidt said. "I feel bad that my lack of production wears on other guys on this team and wears on the manager and he has to deal with it."

Matt Koch (2-1) went eight innings and allowed three runs and seven hits. The Diamondbacks have lost three straight for the second time this month.

Turner opened the game with his seventh career leadoff home run, landing near the Arizona bullpen. Peralta tied it at 1 with his seventh homer.

"He gives us a chance to win every outing," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Scherzer. "We got that run for him early and for him, he doesn't want to let the guys down."

The Diamondbacks had runners on second and third and none out against Scherzer in the bottom of the first, after a Peralta single and bunt single by Jarrod Dyson on which Scherzer overthrew first base. But Scherzer retired the next three hitters without allowing a run, two on strikeouts.

Scherzer was charged with his first error the season. He helped himself in the fourth with a two-out, ground rule double that gave Washington the lead.

"I love RBIs, man," Scherzer said. "I compete at the plate."

Washington left fielder Andrew Stevenson made a diving catch in the fifth to take away a hit from Nick Ahmed.

Rendon connected for his third home run in the eighth. The next batter, Matt Adams, had a potential homer taken away by right fielder Chris Owings, who reached over the fence for the catch.

"I know our bullpen has been used quite a bit lately, so that is what I am always trying to do. Go as deep as I can," Koch said.

STAR TURN TIMES THREE

Koch faced a former Cy Young Award winner for the third consecutive start in Scherzer. On May 1 he was matched up against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, and on May 6, Justin Verlander of the Astros.

CART SHARK

Doolittle came out from the bullpen in the visitors' bullpen cart for the second straight night, again with successful results.

"Maybe we need to bring that to Nats Park," Scherzer said.

BRIEFLY BARRETT

The Diamondbacks called up right-handed pitcher Jake Barrett from Triple-A Reno before Friday's game, after optioning reliever Silvino Bracho to Reno after Thursday's game. Barrett pitched a scoreless top of the ninth inning then was returned to Reno to make room for Saturday's starter, Troy Scribner.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: OF Adam Eaton was placed on the 60-day disabled list after arthroscopic ankle surgery on Thursday, and will be out until at least early June. ... C Matt Wieters went on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain in Thursday night's game. C Spencer Kieboom was brought up from Triple-A Syracuse.

Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts in an extended spring training game on Friday, his first rehab outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-3, 3.52 earned run average) is also 4-3 in 10 career starts against the Diamondbacks, the team he faces on Saturday.

Diamondbacks: Scribner was 2-1 with 5.68 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Reno this season.

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The Nationals have had their eyes on Kelvin Herrera for years

The Nationals have had their eyes on Kelvin Herrera for years

On Monday, in the middle of their game with the Yankees, Mike Rizzo did a very Mike Rizzo thing and added another strong arm to the Nationals' bullpen well before the trade deadline.

In a trade with the Kansas City Royals, the Nats dealt prospects Kelvin Gutierrez, Blake Perkins and Yohanse Morel for relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera.

Herrera, who's in his eighth season, has walked only two batters in the last 27 games and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. 

"We just thought that it was a good idea to strike early," Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.

"We thought the closer to the deadline we get, the more competition we'll have for Kelvin [Herrera]. We were able to strike a deal with Dayton Moore quickly and [we] couldn't be happier about it."

But Mike Rizzo didn't just come across Herrera by chance, he's had his sights on him for years.

"He was one of the guys that we kind of kicked the tires on [last year] and obviously the price for Kelvin at that time with a year and a half of control was a lot different than it was with four and a half months of control."

"We did have our eyes on him for years. He's been a great reliever for years. He's one of the guys we talked about when we talked about improving our bullpen." 

Herrera has spent all of his eight seasons in the big leagues with the Royals, even winning a World Series. Trades can bring both joy and angst, but Rizzo knows Herrera is excited to get back to playing meaningful baseball.

"This guy is such a competitor; World Series tested and playoff tested. He's happy to be playing meaningful games. He talked about what it takes to win a World Series, and you know, our guys were all ears. I think he's really thankful for getting the opportunity to get after it again and get another ring."

"At the same time, you know, it's hard for those old relationship to die and to move on, but he was very excited about being with us. I spoke to him after we made the trade and he [was] a little shocked, but really fired up about it. And when he got to the clubhouse, [he] met some of his old teammates - Timmy Collins and Ryan Madson -  and was welcome with open arms by not only the bullpen guys but everyone on the team." 

Herrera will join Sean Doolittle, Brandon Kintzler, and Ryan Madson to make about as deep of a bullpen as any in baseball right now.

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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

WASHINGTON -- Presented with identical opportunities to ring up a big inning, the Washington Nationals took full advantage and Baltimore Orioles squandered the chance.

That goes a long way toward explaining why the Nationals are a contender and the Orioles own the worst record in the big leagues.

Trea Turner went 4 for 4 with a homer , Anthony Rendon drove in three runs and Washington extended its recent domination of the Orioles with a 9-7 victory Tuesday night.

The game was essentially decided in the fifth inning, which began with Baltimore leading 4-1.

In the top half, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs and scored only one run -- when Manny Machado hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Washington loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half and batted around, scoring four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Adam Eaton contributed a two-run single, Rendon hit a sacrifice fly and Bryce Harper chased starter David Hess with an RBI double.

"They did a lot better job cashing in their bases loaded, nobody out situation than we did," Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded.

For the game, Baltimore was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals were 5 for 10.

"This team is starting to become relentless," manager Dave Martinez said. "They kept pounding and pounding and pounding, had a couple of big innings there and scored some runs."

The Nationals trailed 6-5 before getting six hits in a four-run seventh. Rendon delivered a two-run double off Tanner Scott (0-1) that made it 7-6, and Turner capped his four-hit night with a double.

Both teams noted that more than a couple of Washington's hits were bloopers and seeing-eye grounders, but the Nationals certainly weren't about to apologize.

"I feel like all year we've been hitting balls right at people," Turner said, "so it's nice to get a bunch of those in one game and come out with a win."

Washington has won six straight over its neighboring interleague rival, including four games this season by a combined 20-8.

Pitching in his second big league game, Nationals starter Jefry Rodriguez gave up five runs, four hits and four walks in five innings.

Justin Miller (5-0) pitched two innings of relief, newcomer Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect eighth and Sean Doolittle gave up a solo home run to Joey Rickard while earning his 19th save.

Jace Peterson and Trey Mancini each hit two-run homers for the Orioles, who have lost 16 of 19.

This one can be blamed on an all-too-telling fifth inning.

"It's just one of those things where if they got hits they seemed to have found holes," Showalter said. "They hit some balls hard, too."

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