Scherzer dominating after early blast (Nats win 6-2)

If the Nationals, with a makeshift lineup, needed Max Scherzer to be perfect today, they found out very quickly that wouldn't be the case.

Scherzer issued a four-pitch walk to Gerardo Parra and then served up a two-run homer to Charlie Blackmon in the top of the first this afternoon, leaving the offensively challenged Nats in an early 2-0 hole against the Rockies.

Thumbnail image for max-scherzer-new-sidebar-white.pngNot that Scherzer is pitching poorly in his fourth start of the season. Through five innings, that early walk-homer combo represents the entirety of Colorado's offensive production against him today. The right-hander struck out the other three batters he faced in the first, struck out the side in the second and has retired 14 in a row since the Blackmon homer.

Under normal circumstances, the early two-run homer wouldn't be that big a deal. But the way the Nationals are scrapping for every little nugget of offense right now, a 2-0 deficit might have looked insurmountable.

With Anthony Rendon (toe) and Brian Goodwin (wrist) sidelined due to injury - plus Adam Eaton (ankle) and Daniel Murphy (knee) already on the disabled list, manager Davey Martinez wrote out a lineup card today that looked more like one he would have submitted March 14 in West Palm Beach than April 14 in Washington.

The Nationals managed only one hit through the first three innings, getting a two-out double from Bryce Harper in the bottom of the first. They did start making hard contact in the fourth, getting four consecutive line drives. The problem: Three of them were caught by Rockies outfielders, with only Matt Wieters' home run to center avoiding someone's glove.

Wieters' blast, his first of the season, came after a 1-for-11 start to the catcher's year.

Update: Well, the story of this game has changed pretty dramatically. The Nats finally came to life in the bottom of the sixth, and they wound up scoring four runs in the process. Singles by Wilmer Difo and Harper got things started. Wieters' RBI single to left tied the game at 2-2. Then a well-executed squeeze play by Michael A. Taylor scored Harper to give the Nats the lead (but only after they challenged Gabe Morales' original call and got it overturned). And then the key tack-on blow: a two-run double to right-center by Moisés Sierra (who thought he had a triple but was called out on a bang-bang play). No matter, the Nationals now lead 5-2 heading to the seventh, with Scherzer still on the mound.

Meanwhile, the Pirates just announced they've claimed Enny Romero off waivers. So that officially ends the left-hander's tenure with the Nationals, who designated him for assignment last week.

Update II: Make it 6-2 Nats after seven, thanks to a big insurance run via a Difo RBI single. Scherzer ended his day in style, retiring the side in the top of the seventh to finish with 20 consecutive batters retired after the early home run. And so now it's up to Ryan Madson to get through the eighth with a four-run lead intact.

Update III: That'll do it. Nats win 6-2 after a scoreless ninth from Sean Doolittle. Scherzer retired 20 in a row and struck out 11. Wieters homered and drove in another run. The Nats got the big rally they needed. And they snapped a three-game losing streak.

Nats finally rally, reward Scherzer for gem, beat ...
Rendon still dealing with sore toe, Goodwin out wi...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to