Scherzer is too much

’13 Cy Young win­ner holds Ori­oles to two hits in eight in­nings

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Peter Sch­muck peter.sch­muck@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Sch­muck­S­top

WASH­ING­TON — The Ori­oles were not able to com­plete a four-game in­ter­league sweep of the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als on Thurs­day night, but no­body can blame Ubaldo Jimenez for that.

Jimenez, who re­placed in­jured ace Chris Till­man for the fi­nal game of the home-and-home se­ries, pitched one of his best games of an ag­o­niz­ing sea­son, but in the wrong place at the wrong time.

MaxScherzer, the 2013 Amer­i­can League Cy Young Award win­ner who was hon­ored with a bob­ble­head night to com­mem­o­rate his sec­ond of two 2015 no-hit­ters, was al­most un­hit­table in a 4-0 vic­tory be­fore an an­nounced sell­out of 39,722 at Na­tion­als Park.

He re­tired the first nine bat­ters he faced, strik­ing out six, be­fore Adam Jones hit a lead­off dou­ble in the fourth. Scherzer set down an ad­di­tional 12 in a row on the way to an eight-in­ning, two-hit per­for­mance that fea­tured his 47th ca­reer dou­ble-digit (10) strike­out game.

“He’s re­ally good,” Ori­oles man­ager Buck Showal­ter said. “He’s got great com­mand, he’s got a lot of de­cep­tion and he’s got three out pitches — re­ally, four. It’s a re­minder why those No. 1 starters are hard to find. There are only about five true ones in each league, and that’s also why they cost a lot.”

It was just a dom­i­nant per­for­mance and it came at a time when the Na­tion­als needed to end a six-game in­ter­league los­ing streak against the Ori­oles.

“He was locked in and he threw ev­ery­thing for strikes and was keep­ing all the hit­ters off bal­ance,” Adam Jones fol­lows through on his lead­off dou­ble in the fourth in­ning, the first base run­ner off Na­tion­als starter Max Scherzer. Scherzer re­tired the next 12 Ori­oles and gave up one more hit in the game. out­fielder Steve Pearce said. “It’s def­i­nitely frus­trat­ing. We’re try­ing to get him out of his rhythm, but we strug­gled tonight do­ing that. He did a good job.”

The Ori­oles got the lead­off bat­ter into scor­ing po­si­tion in the eighth in­ning af­ter Mark Trumbo sin­gled and stole sec­ond with two outs, but J.J. Hardy could only hit a long-but-rou­tine fly ball to cen­ter field.

Scherzer gave way to closer Mark Me­lan­con af­ter eight in­nings, but he likely would have fin­ished the game if the score had re­mained 1-0. He had thrown only 95 pitches.

Hyun Soo Kim dou­bled to start the ninth for the Ori­oles and reached third with one out, but was stranded there.

Like Scherzer, Jimenez cruised through the first three in­nings — giv­ing up just one hit — but left his first pitch of the fourth over the plate and Jayson Werth ham­mered it over the cen­ter-field fence for a 1-0 lead.

That was all Wash­ing­ton got while Jimenez (5-11) was on the mound.

Lo­gan On­drusek shut down the bot­tom of the Nats bat­ting or­der in the sev­enth to keep the Ori­oles within a run, but he could not han­dle the top of the Wash­ing­ton lineup in the eighth. He al­lowed the first three bat­ters to hit safely and bring home the sec­ond run be­fore Mike Wright came on and al­lowed a two-run dou­ble to Bryce Harper. Jones cramps up: Pe­dro Al­varez pinch-hit for Jones in the ninth in­ning af­ter Jones ex­pe­ri­enced cramp­ing in one of his ham­strings dur­ing the eighth.

Showal­ter said the team will wait un­til to­day to de­ter­mine whether it will cost him play­ing time, but Jones said af­ter the game he ex­pects to be in the start­ing lineup for the se­ries opener tonight against the New York Yan­kees.

ALEX BRAN­DON/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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