MIAMI (AP) Max Scherzer was twice unable to hold a two-run lead and won anyway Friday night when the Washington Nationals‘ bullpen locked down a 9-5 victory over the Miami Marlins.
Michael A. Taylor and Matt Adams each hit a two-run homer for the Nationals, and Bryce Harper’s two-run double in the seventh broke the game open.
Scherzer (8-1) labored through six innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs, both season highs. He added only four strikeouts to his NL-leading total, which now stands at 108.
He also leads the league in victories and has won seven consecutive decisions.
But Scherzer failed to hold leads of 2-0 and 4-2. He gave up Miguel Rojas‘ two-out, two-run single in the fourth, and Derek Dietrich’s two-run homer in the sixth.
Scherzer departed for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, when the Nationals pulled ahead to stay. Trea Turner hit a tiebreaking infield single with the bases loaded against Nick Wittgren (2-1), and Harper punched a 96 mph fastball down the left-field line to make it 7-4.
Marlins starter Jose Urena allowed four runs in six innings and is winless over his past 13 starts. The Marlins have lost all 11 of his starts this season – and 13 in a row dating to last September, a team record.
Miami third baseman Martin Prado left in the sixth inning after he pulled up limping while running out a grounder. Prado had a single and a pair of doubles against Scherzer, hiking his career average against the Nationals’ ace to .457 (16 for 35).
Five relievers limited Miami to one run over the last three innings. Sean Doolittle retired the final five batters for his 10th save.
The Nationals selected the contract of RHP Justin Miller, who has pitched in 82 major league games, most recently in 2016. He takes the roster spot of RHP Erick Fedde, who was optioned back to Triple-A Syracuse after he made a spot start for Washington.
The game was the first of 19 between the teams this year. The Nationals have won nine consecutive games in the series while outscoring Miami 62-17.
Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy (right knee) and OF Brian Goodwin (left wrist) will begin rehab assignments Saturday at Double-A Harrisburg. Murphy, returning from offseason surgery, will be eased into action. ”We’ll probably start him off with five or six innings and see how he feels, and maybe give him a day off in between,” manager Dave Martinez said. ”But he looks good.”
Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (2-4, 3.39 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday against LHP Wei-Yin Chin (1-2, 6.55), who has allowed only two runs total in his past two starts.
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