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Scherzer has relatively off-night against Blue Jays

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Scherzer has relatively off-night against Blue Jays

In Tuesday night's loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Nats starter Max Scherzer allowed four runs through six innings on six hits. On some nights, that would be enough for a win for the Nationals, a team that ranks in the top five in the majors in runs scored.

But it wasn't enough on this particular night, as for Scherzer's standards he was off. He took the loss as the Nationals fell 7-3, but the outing in some ways illustrated exactly how good he has been so far this season.

Before Tuesday night, Scherzer had allowed more than one earned run just twice in 10 outings. To see him show even the slightest of cracks is unusual.

"The guy has just been unbelievable for us," Tyler Moore said. "He just turns it on whenever he needs to. When he gives up a hit, you're like 'how did he do that?' He's just a really good pitcher."

"It was a little bit different tonight," manager Matt Williams said. "He's not going to be perfect every time out."

Scherzer's kryptonite on Tuesday was 26-year-old outfielder Kevin Pillar, a former 32nd round pick. A three-year pro, Pillar hit his eighth and ninth career homers off Scherzer on Tuesday.

Pillar's first homer was a solo shot in the second inning. His second was much more damaging, as it drove in three runs and handed the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth.

After allowing the first homer to Pillar - and a single to him in the fourth - Scherzer served up consecutive sliders in the third matchup. He left one of them up and Pillar smacked it over the fence in left field.

"Unfortunately I hung a slider in that situation and he made me pay," Scherzer explained. "I still think that was the right pitch, I just didn't execute it. That's the stuff that leaves you frustrated. I'm not going to second-guess myself on the pitch selection, it's just the execution of it."

That one pitch, in a 1-1 count, made the difference. The Blue Jays later tacked on three more runs against the Nats' bullpen and held on for the win. 

Scherzer lamented the one big mistake, but plans to shrug it off and move on as soon as he can.

"You can't be perfect out there," Scherzer said. "No matter what, you always have to flush it out and look at the positives. You're going to have things to work on even when you have good starts. This is just one game that I got beat. You just go back out there with the mentality that you're going to win the next one. I'm looking forward to getting back to work."

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Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

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USA TODAY Sports

Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

Bryce Harper homered, Max Scherzer struck out seven in six innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Sunday.

Anthony Rendon also had two hits and drove in two runs for Washington, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and helping the Nationals earn a split of the series after Saturday's game was rained out. Adam Eaton and Juan Soto each had three hits.

Two days after a heated exchange with teammate Stephen Strasburg during Friday's 8-5 loss, Scherzer (13-5) allowed two runs and eight hits in his third straight win. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched six or more innings in his last 19 starts.

Kelvin Herrera got five outs for his first save with Washington.

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 55 minutes by rain, and another downpour stopped play for almost 100 minutes between the sixth and seventh innings.

Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (7-6) gave up four runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Harper singled in Eaton to give Washington a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Matt Adams added another RBI single in the seventh, and Harper added a solo drive in the eighth for his 24th homer.

Scherzer was staked to an early 3-0 lead and then got some help from his defense.

Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the third with a drive off the wall in center, but he was thrown out by Harper while trying for a double. With a runner on first in the fifth, Freddie Freeman's blast to right was chased down by Eaton on the warning track.

Then in the seventh, Michael A. Taylor made a leaping catch at the wall in center to rob Dansby Swanson of extra bases with one runner on.

Washington got off to a fast start with three runs in the first. Rendon drove in Eaton and Harper with a triple down the right-field line, and then scored on Soto's groundout.

Swanson drove in Atlanta's runs with a groundout in the second and a single in the fourth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: All-Star 2B Ozzie Albies, who left Friday's game with right hamstring tightness, got the day off.

Nationals: RHP Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) experienced extended soreness after throwing off the mound Friday. An MRI Saturday revealed a stress reaction, comparable to a bone bruise, in the bridge of his foot and he is wearing a walking boot. ... RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) was reinstated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

UP NEXT

Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (8-5, 3.51 ERA) pitches the opener of a two-game series in Miami on Monday. He already has beaten the Marlins twice this season, allowing one run in 12 innings.

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.72 ERA) opens a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday night. He is 2-4 with a 4.93 ERA in nine career starts versus the Brewers.

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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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