Scherzer hangs tough for six innings to finish strong, Nats win 4-3

Josh Harrison broke a 3-3 deadlock with a drive to right field and the Nationals came back from an early deficit to upend the Mets 4-3 in the first seven-inning game of a Saturday doubleheader at Nats Park.

In the bottom of the sixth, Harrison went after reliever Edwin Díaz's first pitch and laced it past Mets first baseman Pete Alonso into right field to score Brock Holt from third. Yan Gomes, making sure the ball fell before breaking for second, got forced out, but the Nationals had gained their first lead.

Andrew Stevenson cranked back-to-back home runs and Gomes went 3-for-3 with three singles as the Nats evened the four-game set at a game apiece, eliminating the Mets' slim hopes for postseason contention.

Starter Max Scherzer allowed a pair of booming homers, but notched the victory with six solid innings, striking out seven and allowing two walks. The win gave Scherzer a 5-4 record to end his season, marking the 11th consecutive year that the right-hander has finished above .500, matching the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.

"There was a couple of pitches that, obviously, you would want back," Scherzer said. "It seems like it happens every start. They made me pay when I made mistakes. Wilson (Ramos) is a great hitter, was able to hit a homer, two-run shot. That is a tough one to swallow, especially when you know you are going against (Jacob) deGrom and runs are going to be limited."

Scherzer-Fires-White-Opener-Sidebar.jpgRamos, the former Nats catcher, drilled a middle-middle cutter over the center field wall for a two-run shot in the third inning, giving New York a 2-0 lead.

Then in the fourth, substitute shortstop Amed Rosario blasted a solo homer to deep center field to add to the Mets' advantage, 3-1. Rosario came into the game in the second inning after the starting shortstop, Andrés Giménez had to leave mid at-bat with an injury.

In the sixth inning with two men on, one out, and the game tied 3-3, Scherzer struck out Amed Rosario and Luis Guillorme to escape a big jam.

"I did a good job with Yan today," Scherzer said. "We kind of had a good game plan coming in of how we wanted to attack and we threw a ton of strikes and executed. I was able to find a way to navigate around some of those runs and keep their offense at bay, and then when things were really hairy there in the sixth, we continued to execute. I feel really strange in those situations.

"I have been getting beat earlier in the year in those situations where I'm deep in the game, where the game is on the line, and I haven't come through. I feel like in the past two outings I have been in those situations now and I'm executing late. Just stinks that the year is over."

Stevenson drilled a solo homer to deep right-center field off of Mets starter deGrom to get the Nats on the board. His first homer of the season extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

The Nats cobbled together another run in the fourth. With two outs, Holt and Gomes delivered a back-to-back bloop singles. With Luis García at the plate, deGrom unloaded a wild pitch to score Holt. García did a nice job staying alive in the at-bat, finally drawing a walk, but deGrom struck out Harrison to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth with one away, Stevenson lined a deGrom offering into the left field corner. Mets left fielder Dominic Smith raced over to make a play, but on the catch attempt he slid into the left field wall, banged his head against the wall covering and went down. Stevenson scored on the inside-the-park home run. The game was tied 3-3.

Teammates quickly raced over to help Smith, who was down on his back. The left fielder was attended to for several minutes by manager Luis Rojas and a trainer. He stayed in the game.

In the top of the seventh, Will Harris allowed a single to Brandon Nimmo but nothing else, earning his first save. Harris struck out J.D. Davis to end the game.

Mets starter deGrom finished five innings, giving up three runs on five hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts. He threw 113 pitches, 78 for strikes.

Looking back on his season, Scherzer was happy to get to 5-4, but not happy with the walks, and certainly wanted more for the team. With just 12 starts this season, Scherzer wanted more.

"For me, it's executing with location at 110 pitches," Scherzer said. "That's what I'm built to be able to do. That's when you get into mid-season form and you get on a run and you go. I've said my body feels like it's September but my arm feels like it's May."

Today was also a special day for Scherzer's manager. The Nats announced officially that they had a new mulit-year extension with Davey Martinez that runs through at least 2022. Scherzer said he was thrilled to hear the news that his skipper was staying with the club for awhile.

"It's great that we extended Davey," Scherzer said. "Very well deserved. Everything from day one to where he has gotten to now he has grown so much and he's really become one of my favorite managers of all. I don't want to throw any shade to Jim Leyland or Bob Melvin because I really enjoyed playing for those guys, but Davey really understands how to manage a clubhouse and manage a team. We saw it in the postseason. He knows how to push the right buttons when everything is on the line. He is everything you want in a manager, and that's why I am happy that the organization was able to sign him back.

"He just has the feel for the game. He played for 17 years. He understands and has fun with it, understands that we have to have fun all the time and he does a great job of finding ways to keep us loose, keep us together. We are pros, we are going to take the game seriously but find a way to have our style of flair to it. He does a great job of supporting us and making all the decisions and keeping everybody glued together."

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