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Max Scherzer strikes out 14 in the Nats 2-1 win over the Dodgers

Max Scherzer strikes out 14 in the Nats 2-1 win over the Dodgers

LOS ANGELES  -- Max Scherzer knows exactly what he is. At age 32 and in his 10th major league season, he has absolutely no doubt.

"I'm a strikeout pitcher," Scherzer said. "That's just who I am."

No one had to convince the Los Angeles Dodgers after Scherzer struck out a season-high 14, outpitching Brandon McCarthy to lead the Washington Nationals to a 2-1 victory that ended with a testy exchange Tuesday night.

With a runner on second base, Koda Glover fanned Yasiel Puig for the final out and shouted in the direction of home plate. Not pleased, Puig walked toward the mound and twice appeared to ask Glover what he said.

Glover took off his cap and tossed aside his glove as players from both teams quickly intervened to keep the two separated. Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman pulled Glover away, and nothing escalated before the squads headed off the field.

"Tempers flared a little bit," Glover said. "It is what it is. I don't have any hard feelings towards him. He was staring at me and I didn't like it."

Both starting pitchers went seven innings and allowed only three hits. The first 11 outs for Scherzer (7-3) came on strikeouts.

"He can get sharp when he needs to be," Washington manager Dusty Baker said. "He had quite a few pitches early. The strikeouts don't help your pitch total, but Max was outstanding."

For the second consecutive night, a scuffling Nationals bullpen came through. Oliver Perez held the Dodgers scoreless in the eighth and Glover worked the ninth to earn his eighth save in nine tries.

"He knows what he wants to do," Scherzer said. "He's a closer. He wants the ball. He's not afraid of anybody. He's going to attack the zone. He has unbelievable stuff. He has the attitude to go out there with a chip on his shoulder."

Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy each had a sacrifice fly for Washington, which has won the first two games of this series between NL pennant contenders.

Los Angeles took a tense playoff series between the teams last year, winning in five games.

Trea Turner opened the game by beating out a little tapper to third. He stole second and third before scoring on Harper's sacrifice fly.

The Dodgers answered with a run in the bottom half after Chase Utley singled. Corey Seager's grounder to second was bobbled by Murphy for an error, and Adrian Gonzalez lined a single to score Utley.

The Nationals scored the go-ahead run in the fourth after Harper led off with a ground-rule double. Zimmerman's groundout moved him to third, and Murphy hit a deep sac fly to center field.

McCarthy (5-3), who lasted only four innings in his previous start because of a blister, walked two and struck out four.

"It seems like every single time he gets out there he has control of the game, and he's so well prepared," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "For us to have him healthy -- and we got through that blister thing tonight -- I think that's a victory in itself."

Scherzer walked two and did not permit an earned run. He struck out Taylor and Yasmani Grandal three times each. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has 38 strikeouts in his last three starts.

MORE NATS: NATS AGREE TO TERMS WITH BRYCE HARPER FOR 2018

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Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay sounds off on Max Scherzer's stance that players already took a pay cut

Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay sounds off on Max Scherzer's stance that players already took a pay cut

One days after Nationals ace Max Scherzer released a statement saying MLB players had no reason to engage the league in further compensation reductions, Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay sounded off on the stance.

Scherzer, a member of the players’ union’s eight-member executive subcommittee, said in his statement Wednesday that players had already negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries. “There’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received,” he said.

[RELATED: Scherzer continues to steer union on a united front]

Kay took to his ESPN radio show Thursday to say Scherzer is incorrect.

“The one thing that I want to amplify, I’m not on either side. The players are taking a chance by playing during a pandemic, the owners are taking a financial chance,” Kay said. “But when the players, and this is something that Max Scherzer said, when the players say they’ve taken a pay cut … Stop! You have not taken a pay cut. You have not worked. You have not played. You don’t deserve to get paid. That’s all there is to it. So that’s not a pay cut.”

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The original pay cut Scherzer was referring to is the deal negotiated between the league and union in March, which prorated player salaries. But a recent proposal from MLB owners would further reduce salaries, placing them into tiers where the highest-paid players would have their salaries cut the most.

Under the new proposal, Scherzer would make around $4.333 million of his $28,777,759 million base salary. Stephen Strasburg would make just $5.313 million of his $35 million base salary.

Kay contends the original deal from March wasn’t a pay cut.

“You can make the argument, ‘Well, it’s guaranteed money.’ Well, the owners aren’t locking you out. The virus is locking you out,” he said. “We’re not playing baseball because of health concerns, because people are dying all around the country to the tune of over 100,000 people. Please don’t say you took a pay cut. You didn’t take a pay cut.”

Kay added that he is contracted to work 135 Yankees games this season for YES Network, but said he wouldn’t look at it as a pay cut if games were canceled and he wasn’t paid.

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Nationals' Sean Doolittle makes statement on death of George Floyd

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Nationals' Sean Doolittle makes statement on death of George Floyd

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle released a statement on Twitter on the death of George Floyd. 

Floyd, a black man, died in police custody after a police officer kept his knee on his neck for several minutes. His death has sparked civil unrest in Minneapolis, MN and in several other areas across the country.

Doolittle's screengrab text read: 

Racism is America's Original Sin. It was here before we even forged a nation, and has been passed down from generation to generation. And we still struggle to acknowledge that it even exists, much less atone for it. The generational trauma of racism and violence is killing black men and women before our eyes. We are told it is done in the name of, "law and order", but there is nothing lawful nor orderly about these murders.

My heart is heavy knowing that George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others should still be alive. We must not look away from the racism and the violence. We must never condone racism or extrajudicial violence in the name of "law and order." We must take action and call it out for what it is. We must recognize our shared humanity and atone for our Original Sin or else we will continue to curse future generations with it. RIP George Floyd. 

Earlier this week Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal was among several athletes that tweeted about Floyd's death.