Max Scherzer strikes out 15 as Nationals down Reds

Max Scherzer had given up a leadoff double to Tucker Barnhart leading off in the eighth inning, then retired José Peraza on a popup and fanned Nick Senzel. The nine-pitch at-bat pushed the three-time Cy Young Award winner’s pitch count to a season-high 117.

With Joey Votto coming to the plate, Washington manager Dave Martinez walked to the mound. Scherzer shook his head and said he wanted to stay in the game.

“I’ve got to hear it from him,” Martinez said. “He’d thrown a lot of pitches. We exchanged some non-professional words.”

Scherzer proceeded to strike out Votto on three pitches, freezing him with a 97 mph fastball. Scherzer screamed and pumped a fist, spit flying out of his mouth after his 15th strikeout — his most since May 2018. The Nationals grabbed a 4-1 win in Cincinnati on Sunday.

“I knew I was strong,” Scherzer said. “I still had my arm strength. I knew I wanted to stay in.”

Scherzer (3-5) allowed three hits — all doubles — over eight innings to lead the Nationals to their 12th win in 14 games against the Reds.

“It seems like Scherzer has seven pitches and he can tunnel all of them,” Barnhart said. “He sequences them very well. You really have to grind out at bats against him.”

Marlins 9, Padres 3: Jorge Alfaro homered, doubled and drove in four runs for visiting Miami in a game delayed 28 minutes after a swarm of bees settled on a microphone near the home dugout. Hunter Renfroe homered twice for San Diego.

Dodgers 8, Phillies 0: Rich Hill limited Philadelphia to three hits and struck out nine over seven innings and host Los Angeles scored seven runs in the eighth inning as it completed a three-game sweep. The Dodgers, who have won five in a row, improved the best home record in the majors to 25-7.

White Sox 2, Indians 0: Lucas Giolito struck out nine in 7 ⅓ innings and Tim Anderson homered for host Chicago. Francisco Lindor had three of Cleveland’s six hits. He led off the ninth with a double to left, but Alex Colomé retired the next three batters.

Rockies 5, Blue Jays 1: Chris Iannetta and Nolan Arenado homered as Colorado completed a three-game sweep to extend its winning streak to eight games. Toronto completed a winless six-game trip.

Twins 9, Rays 7: Jake Odorizzi pitched six scoreless innings to lower his AL-best ERA to 1.96 as Minnesota won three of four in the series with host Tampa Bay.

Braves 7, Tigers 4: Dansby Swanson homered, drove in three runs and scored the tiebreaker on Freddie Freeman’s double in the eighth inning for host Atlanta

Brewers 4, Pirates 2: Eric Thames hit a two-run homer and an RBI double and Zach Davies pitched eight effective innings for visiting Milwaukee.

Cardinals 2, Cubs 1: Adam Wainwright overcame a career-high seven walks to pitch eight shutout innings as host St. Louis completed a three-game sweep. Chicago has lost six of seven.

Rangers 5, Royals 1: Adrian Sampson struck out 11 in seven innings to earn the win and Jesse Chavez pitched a scoreless ninth to run his shutout streak to 18 ⅓ innings for host Texas

Angels 13, Mariners 3: Albert Pujols hit his 643rd career homer and drove in five runs and Luis Rengifo hit his first career homer as visiting Los Angeles won for the fifth time in six games.

Diamondbacks 7, Mets 1: Ketel Marte hit a 482-foot homer that matched Texas’ Nomar Mazara for longest in the majors this season and Merrill Kelly held New York to one run and six hits in 7 ⅔ innings with 10 strikeouts for host Arizona.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 5: J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts hit early home runs as visiting Boston stopped a four-game losing streak. New York’s CC Sabathia, activated from the injured list, allowed three runs in six innings.

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