Scherzer no-hit try leads Nats

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Sports - By JAY COHEN

Max Scherzer fol­lowed Aníbal Sánchez’s near no- hit­ter with a try of his own and the stingy Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als beat the St. Louis Car­di­nals 3- 1 for a 2-0 lead in the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries. Scherzer didn’t al­low a hit un­til Paul Gold­schmidt led off the sev­enth in­ning with a sin­gle that left fielder Juan Soto played con­ser­va­tively with a one-run lead. A day ear­lier, Sánchez held the Car­di­nals hit­less un­til the eighth.

ST. LOUIS — Max Scherzer fol­lowed Aníbal Sánchez’s near no-hit­ter with a try of his own and the stingy Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als beat the St. Louis Car­di­nals 3-1 on Satur­day for a 2-0 lead in the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries.

Scherzer didn’t al­low a hit un­til Paul Gold­schmidt led off the sev­enth in­ning with a sin­gle that left fielder Juan Soto played con­ser­va­tively with a one-run lead. A day ear­lier, Sánchez held the Car­di­nals hit­less un­til José Martínez had a pinch-sin­gle with two down in the eighth.

Sánchez and Scherzer also be­gan the 2013 ALCS with con­sec­u­tive no-hit bids of at least five in­nings for Detroit against Bos­ton.

Scherzer, a St. Louis na­tive who played col­lege ball for the Univer­sity of Mis­souri, struck out 11 and walked two in seven in­nings.

It doesn’t get any eas­ier for St. Louis, ei­ther. Ace Stephen Stras­burg gets the ball for the wild-card Na­tion­als when the best-of-seven se­ries moves to Wash­ing­ton for Game 3 on Mon­day night. Jack Fla­herty pitches for the Cards.

St. Louis got an­other solid per­for­mance from Adam Wain­wright, who struck out 11 in 7 1/3 in­nings.

But after get­ting only one hit in the opener, the Car­di­nals’ in­con­sis­tent lineup man­aged just three hits against Scherzer and the Wash­ing­ton bullpen. The NL Cen­tral cham­pi­ons got their first run of the se­ries when cen­ter fielder Michael A. Tay­lor mis­played Martínez’s pinch-hit liner into an RBI dou­ble with two out in the eighth. But Dex­ter Fowler flied out on Sean Doolit­tle’s next pitch.

Pa­trick Corbin got the first out of the ninth be­fore Daniel Hud­son closed for his third save of the play­offs. The right-han­der was re­in­stated from the post­sea­son pa­ter­nity list be­fore the game after he missed the se­ries opener to be with his wife, Sara, for the birth of their third child, a girl named Mil­lie.

Corbin is ex­pected to start Game 4 for the Na­tion­als on Tues­day night.

Scherzer, who has pitched two no-hit­ters in the reg­u­lar sea­son, has a record five ca­reer post­sea­son no-hit bids of at least five in­nings, ac­cord­ing to the Elias Sports Bureau. The three-time Cy Young Award win­ner came clos­est to fin­ish­ing in Game 3 of the 2017 NL Di­vi­sion Se­ries, get­ting one out in the sev­enth in­ning be­fore al­low­ing a hit.

There have only been two post­sea­son no-hit­ters. Don Larsen threw a per­fect game for the New York Yan­kees against Brook­lyn in the 1956 World Se­ries, and Roy Hal­la­day pitched a no-hit­ter for the Philadel­phia Phillies in the 2010 NL Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

The Car­di­nals got one baserun­ner into scor­ing po­si­tion while Scherzer was on the mound. Kolten Wong walked with one out in the first and stole sec­ond, but Gold­schmidt and Mar­cell Ozuna struck out.

After Gold­schmidt’s hit, Ozuna struck out again and Yadier Molina bounced into an in­ning-end­ing dou­ble play on Scherzer’s fi­nal pitch of the af­ter­noon.

Wash­ing­ton went ahead to stay when Tay­lor home­red on Wain­wright’s first pitch of the third. The Na­tion­als added two more on Adam Ea­ton’s two-run dou­ble down the first-base line with one out in the eighth. TRAINER’S ROOM Na­tion­als: C Kurt Suzuki re­turned to the start­ing lineup after be­ing side­lined by a head in­jury. He got hurt by a foul ball that ric­o­cheted dur­ing Wash­ing­ton’s clinch­ing vic­tory in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers on Wed­nes­day night.

As­so­ci­ated Press

DEAL­ING — Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als start­ing pitcher Max Scherzer dur­ing the fourth in­ning of Game 2 of the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries against the St. Louis Car­di­nals on Satur­day in St. Louis.

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