Nats rally behind Scherzer, defeat O’s, 6-5, to take weekend series

washington nationalsThe Washington Nationals, who rallied from a 19-31 start in 2019 to win the World Series, were the 2020 equivalent of 19-31 heading into Sunday’s series finale at Camden Yards.

A 7-11 record is a .388 winning percentage, a nudge above the .380 the Nats were at on May 24 a year ago.

The game that turned that one around was wild – Washington scored four in the eighth in a 12-10 win over Miami.

Sunday’s 6-5 win – not quite as much as that one, but it was interesting.

Max Scherzer blew a 5-1 lead, giving up a mammoth three-run homer in the sixth to former Nat Pedro Severino, then a solo blast in the seventh to Anthony Santander, who had also homered in the first, to tie it.

This one turned on a two-out eight inning error by Baltimore third baseman Rio Ruiz, who cleanly fielded a grounder from Washington catcher Kurt Suzuki, double-clutched on the throw, and grounded it, allowing Juan Soto to score from second.

Tanner Rainey struck out the side in the eighth, and Daniel Hudson closed out the ninth, to give Washington the series win.

Scherzer (2-1, 3.71 ERA) notched the win. Aside from the three homers, he pitched well, striking out 10, walking one, in seven innings.

Soto, batting second, was 2-for-3 at the plate, and walked twice, improving his slash line to .425/.500/.950.

The surprising O’s fall to 12-9, which has them two and a half back in the AL East, but in great shape with the expanded playoff format for 2020, which will seed eight teams from each league.

Story by Chris Graham

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