Sedona Red Recap: Max Scherzer, Nationals haunt the D-backs again
The date was Dec. 8, 2009.
The Arizona Diamondbacks sent pitcher Max Scherzer to Detroit as part of a three-team trade with the New York Yankees.
How’d that work out for the D-backs come Wednesday?
Scherzer wasn’t quite Scherzer, but he was good enough to beat his former team, leading the Washington Nationals to an 8-3 victory and three-game series sweep in front of an afternoon crowd of 17,086 at Chase Field.
Scherzer (12-6) won his second straight decision and improved to 3-0 against the team that made him the 11th overall pick of the 2006 MLB Draft.
Over eight innings, Scherzer allowed three runs on four hits, including a pair of solo home runs, with one walk and 11 strikeouts.
He no-hit the D-backs through four innings.
Scherzer also helped himself with a two-strike, two-out, two-run single, part of a three-run sixth inning that also saw the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy hit his 21st home run of the season.
The Nationals led 4-1 before home runs by Jake Lamb and Yasmany Tomas closed the gap.
Arizona pitcher Zack Godley (3-2) suffered the loss, though he didn’t pitch badly. It was just not good enough, especially with someone as talented as Scherzer on the mound.
In addition to the Murphy homer, Godley surrendered a home run to Trea Turner.
Godley allowed four runs in six innings of work.
The Nationals have won three in a row and recorded their fourth road sweep of the season.
The D-backs, meanwhile, have dropped four straight and 12 of 15 overall after getting swept for the ninth time.
And the winner is, David Peralta. His second at-bat, the D-backs’ 14th, produced the team’s first hit, a double into the left field corner. Two batters later, Peralta scored, tying the game at 1 on Chris Owings’ single to right field, a ball that Bryce Harper perhaps should’ve caught as it popped out of his glove as he slid to grab the shallow fly ball. It was Peralta’s second hit of the series and third since returning from the disabled list because of a lower back sprain.
His final line won’t show it, but Godley pitched well aside from that 0-2 offering to Scherzer in the sixth. Facing one of the league’s top offenses—Washington ranks in the top five in home runs, walks, runs scored and stolen bases—Godley allowed eight hits, two of them home runs. However, he walked only one and struck out seven, tying a season-high. Godley exited trailing 4-2, having thrown 101 pitches, 66 of them strikes. He threw a first-pitch strike to 14 of the 28 batters faced.
For the second time in as many days, Lamb and Tomas both hit solo home runs. Lamb launched his 23rd with two outs in the sixth inning, Tomas his 19th with one out in the seventh. The two long balls pulled the D-backs to within a run, 4-3. Lamb, whose homer landed in the pool area, entered the day tied for ninth in the league in home runs while Tomas did something he had never done in his career: homer in back-to-back games. He’s now hit safely in 10 straight starts (.410; 16-for-39).
In each game of the series, it was the Nationals who jumped out to the early lead. It just took a bit longer Wednesday. With one out in the third, Turner smoked a 3-1 offering into the left field seats. The ball exited the yard in a hurry. Tomas took one step back before stopping and turning around to see where the ball landed. It was Turner’s first home run of the season.
A third of the way through the game, the D-backs had yet to record a base hit. They did, however, record four strikeouts in 10 at-bats during the game’s first three innings against Scherzer. Michael Bourn was the lone hitter to reach base safely, coaxing a leadoff walk. From there, Scherzer retired nine in a row, needing only 39 pitches to do so. He threw 16 pitches in the first, 10 in the second and 11 in the third with a first-pitch strike to seven of the 10 batters faced. In other words, impressive.
The lack of a shutdown inning has happened way too often the season. Again, a D-backs starter failed to put up a zero after the offense had scored. The Nationals snapped a 1-1 ballgame with a three-run sixth inning. First, Murphy hit a one-out solo home run and then Scherzer plated two with a two-out, two-strike single back through the box, scoring both Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinoza. For Murphy, it was his sixth hit of the series; he has now hit safely in 17 of his past 19 games.
Bad things happen when the doors to the D-backs bullpen opens. Bad things. Asked to keep it a one-run deficit, Jake Barrett just blew up in the ninth inning. He recorded two quick outs and then the next five batters reached base safely. It went: single, walk, RBI double, intentional walk, bases-loaded walk. Barrett was then replaced by Evan Marshall, whose first pitch was driven into center field by pinch-hitter Clint Robinson, allowing two more runs to score. In total, four runs scored.
STAT OF THE GAME
24: The D-backs were outscored by 24 runs, 32-8, in the series. They were also outhit, 48-21.
HE SAID IT
“I thought we battled hard. He had no-hit stuff today. It looked like that for a little bit,” manager Chip Hale said, referring to Scherzer. “I was happy with our offensive performance against him. He’s one of the better guys in the league and one of the best competitors. I thought the game was very well played for the eight innings and then we just, obviously, couldn’t hold them in the top of the ninth.”
– Lamb has 15 extra-base hits (three doubles, four triples and eight homers) in last 16 home games.
– Wearing their red alternate uniforms with red gradient “D” cap, the D-backs’ record dropped to 6-16.
– With a first-pitch temperature of 97 degrees, the game was played with the roof and panels closed.
– Matt Williams, the one-time Nationals manager, won all three D-backs Legends Races in the series.
It’s a day off, and one of those rare days off at home, too.
Following the break, the D-backs will welcome in the Milwaukee Brewers for three games to close out the six-game homestand. The series opens on Friday with a pair of right-handers on the mound, Braden Shipley and Chase Anderson — the second time they’ve faced one another in less than two weeks.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MST with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Back on July 25, Anderson (6-10) handed his former team a 7-2 defeat by scattering seven hits over five innings in which he allowed two runs with one walk and five strikeouts.
Anderson, who played two seasons for the D-backs—2014 and 2015, going 15-13 with a 4.18 ERA in 48 starts—will be looking for his third straight win.
For Shipley (1-1), this will be his third career start and first at Chase Field.
Shipley, 24, lost his MLB debut to Anderson and the Brewers in Milwaukee. He then followed that up with a victory in L.A., shutting out the Dodgers over six innings.
Shipley, drafted 15th overall in 2013, has walked five and struck out eight in 11.1 innings.
The D-backs are 1-3 against the Brewers this season, having dropped the series in Milwaukee late last month.