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Scherzer struggles in loss to Pirates on Friday night

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Scherzer struggles in loss to Pirates on Friday night

PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco homered and drove in three runs as thePittsburgh Pirates exacted some measure of revenge against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals in a 7-5 win on Friday night.

Just over a month after Scherzer no-hit the Pirates, Pittsburgh touched Washington's ace for five runs in five innings before putting it away against reliever Sammy Solis (1-1). Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez also homered off Scherzer, the most home runs Scherzer has given up in a game in nearly four years.

Vance Worley (4-5) picked up the win in relief. Mark Melancon worked around two hits in the ninth for his major-league leading 31st save.

Tyler Moore drove in two for the Nationals and Ian Desmond homered for the second straight night, but Washington couldn't rally on a rare off night by Scherzer.

Scherzer overwhelmed Pittsburgh while tossing the first no-hitter of his career in a 6-0 victory on June 20. Only a wayward breaking ball that grazed pinch hitterJose Tabata on the elbow with two outs in the ninth stood between Scherzer and a perfect game.

MORE NATIONALS: AROLDIS CHAPMAN AND THE TRADE DEADLINE

Things were decidedly bumpier this time around.

Kang singled with one out in the second for Pittsburgh's first hit and Alvarez followed two pitches later with a home run that hit a concrete path outside the stadium 460 feet from home plate. The ball landed in the Allegheny River on the bounce, the first runs Pittsburgh managed against Scherzer in 20 innings.

And not the last.

Washington bounced back against Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke in the fourth behind Tyler Moore's two-run double to take a 4-2 lead but Pittsburgh responded. Pinch-hitter Jaff Decker worked a walk -- just the second issued by Scherzer in his last seven starts -- and Polanco put together a brilliant at bat that showcased why the Pirates are so high on the talented but still developing 23-year-old.

Polanco fell behind 0-2, worked the count full then fouled off six straight Scherzer offerings before sending the 12th pitch of the at bat into the seats in right to put Pittsburgh in front 5-4. Polanco was barely back in the dugout when Walker hit a homer to nearly the exact same spot. The three home runs given up by Scherzer were the most since Oakland hit three off of him on Sept. 15, 2011, when he was pitching for Detroit.

Desmond's 10th homer of the season tied it in the top of the sixth but pinch hitter Brent Morel doubled home Francisco Cervelli and Polanco laced a sharp single up the middle off Solis in the bottom of the inning as the Pirates won their second straight following a 1-5 slump out of the All-Star break.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Washington scratched 1B Clint Robinson from the starting lineup shortly before game time due to an illness but Robinson entered the game in the sixth during a double switch. ... OF Jayson Werth and INF Anthony Rendoncould return to the team next week against Miami following lengthy stays on the disabled list. Manager Matt Williams said it was "reasonable" Werth's left wrist and Rendon's strained left quad may be ready to go by the middle of next week barring any late setbacks.

Pirates: Pittsburgh 1B Corey Hart's road back from knee issues and a shoulder impingement will be a long one. Manager Clint Hurdle said Friday that Hart, currently on the 60-day DL, will spend some time at home and have a lengthy rehab assignment next month before any decision is made on his availability during the stretch run.

UP NEXT

The series continues on Saturday when Washington's Gio Gonzalez (7-4, 3.93 ERA) faces A.J. Burnett. The Nationals are 6-0 in the last six games Gonzalez has started against the Pirates. Burnett (8-3, 2.44), an All-Star this season for the first time in his 17-year career, is 12-6 with a 3.23 ERA in 24 career appearances against Washington. Pittsburgh expects recently acquired 3B Aramis Ramirez to be available

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.