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Scherzer fans 11 as Nationals beat Padres

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Scherzer fans 11 as Nationals beat Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Max Scherzer pitched brilliantly for seven innings, striking out a season-high 11 and holding San Diego to four hits in leading the Washington Nationals to a 4-1 victory Saturday night.

The Nationals won for the 14th time in 18 games.

The Padres were one out from being shut out for the second straight night and the fifth time in 12 games before Alexi Amarista hit an RBI single off Aaron Barrett. Drew Storen came on to strike out Derek Norris for his 11th save.

Wilson Ramos also had an RBI single in the three-run first to extend his career-best hitting streak to 18 games, the longest in the majors this year.

Scherzer (4-3), who walked only two, has struck out at least 10 three times in four starts.

The Padres had runners reach third base three times and Scherzer stranded them each time, including getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

Scherzer retired the first 10 batters before walking Will Venable. Matt Kemp followed with a single -- his first hit off the right-hander in 23 career at-bats -- and Yangervis Solarte walked with two outs to load the bases. Scherzer then got Will Middlebrooks to pop up to second base.

Venable doubled with one out in the sixth and advanced on a wild pitch, but Scherzer retired Kemp and Justin Upton on fly balls. Solarte doubled off the base of the fence in right-center leading off the seventh and advanced on Alex Amarista's one-out single to left. Scherzer then struck out pinch-hitters Norris and Abraham Almonte.

The Nationals jumped on Andrew Cashner (1-7) in the first, ending his big league record of allowing two or fewer earned runs in 21 straight home games dating to June 11, 2013.

Ian Desmond doubled down the left field line with one out and came in on Yunel Escobar's single to right. Bryce Harper singled to right, Ryan Zimmerman brought in Escobar with a groundout and Ramos singled in Harper.

The Nationals added an unearned run off Cashner to make it 4-0 in the fourth. Danny Espinosa drew a leadoff walk and ended up on third when Cashner fielded Scherzer's bunt and overthrew second for an error. Espinosa scored on Denard Span's sacrifice fly.

Cashner allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits in six innings, struck out six and walked two.

The Padres have given Cashner just two runs of support in his last five starts.

MORE: Nats back on precipice of 1st place

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: OF Jayson Werth sat out with a swollen left wrist. He was hit by a pitch in Friday night's victory.

Padres: OF Melvin Upton, on the disabled list with an injured left foot, will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso on Monday.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (2-3, 4.73 ERA) , who grew up in the San Diego area and played for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State, will pitch against the Padres at Petco Park for the second time in his career. He beat his hometown Padres 6-2 on May 16, 2013.

Padres: RHP Ian Kennedy (2-2, 5.92) has won two of his last three starts.

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Nationals trade Brian Goodwin to Kansas City Royals

Nationals trade Brian Goodwin to Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  -- Outfielder Brian Goodwin has been acquired by the Kansas City Royals from the Washington Nationals for minor league pitcher Jacob Condra-Bogan.

The 27-year-old Goodwin hit .200 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 48 games for the Nationals this season. He bruised his left wrist diving for a ball and did not play from April 15 until May 15, when he had two at-bats. He went back on the disabled list, returned June 1 and is hitting .171 (7 for 41) since.

Condra-Bogan, 23, went 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 16 relief outings with Lexington of the South Atlantic League and one appearance with Wilmington of the Carolina League, also Class A.

The trade was announced Sunday.

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What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

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USA Today Sports

What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had a heated exchange in the Nationals dugout Friday night.

It was another not-so-great moment in an otherwise unspectacular season for the Nats so far.

Things like this often appear worse than they are based on what we can see, not hear, on television. In any case, it has fans and pundits talking about a perceived off-the-field issue instead of the actual game. There's nothing "good" about this, but there are important factors that are "bad" and ones that are "not bad."

Davey Martinez, Strasburg and Scherzer already said this has been settled and wasn't a big deal in the first place, but for a manager who's already faced some scrutiny this year for how he manages his pitchers, having two of them go at it in the dugout isn't ideal.

It also doesn't present the best optics for a team that came out of the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals need to build some momentum heading into the dog days of summer, and after a lackluster first half, this isn't how anybody would want to start the second half.

This was also Strasburg's first start back from a month-long stint on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman just rejoined the club as well. Things are shaping up to make for a solid second-half run, but all this does is detract from that.

The Nationals also just hosted the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. Having something like this happen in the dugout where everybody can see it takes away from some of that good publicity.

But there are also positives, or at least non-negatives, to take from this. Scherzer has always been ultracompetitive, and as the best pitcher on the staff, he needs to harness that into leadership. With Strasburg coming off a rough inning, Scherzer may have thought he needed a little tough love from a veteran. There's nothing wrong with that. Strasburg, to his credit, has never been one to focus too much on himself, so if there's anyone who can take something like this constructively, it'd be him.

This isn't Jonathan Paplebon fighting Bryce Harper for not running out a pop fly the day after the Nats were eliminated from playoff contention. These are two veteran guys who play the same position who are both competitive and want to win. It's akin to an older brother pushing his younger brother to do better. Strasburg even hinted at the family aspect after the game.

In the end, there's really nothing to see here. Frustration is part of the game. Talking it out is a part of remedying the frustration.

What really matters is tracking down the Braves and the Phillies. The Nationals can get started on that Sunday in the second game of a rain-shortened two-game series against the Braves.

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