The Washington Nationals get seven innings of one hit baseball from Max Scherzer and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Saturday afternoon in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium.
Washington takes a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven serie
s and for the second straight game, gets a sensational effort from its starting pitcher.
Friday night, Anibal Sanchez didn’t allow a hit until Jose Martinez’ pinch hit single with two out in the bottom of the 8th.
On Saturday, Scherzer held St. Louis hitless un
til Paul Goldschmidt’s leadoff single in the seventh.
Scherzer was dominating for the Nationals, allowing just one hit in seven innings, walking two and striking out 11.
The Nationals got on the board in the third inning when Michael Taylor led off with a home run over the left field wall off Cards starter Ada
Wainwright allowed just one run through the first seven innings, but ran into trouble in the 8th.
With one out, Nationals Manager Dave Martinez lifted Scherzer for a pinch hitter.
Former Cardinal Matt Adams singled to right.
Shortstop Trea Turner singled, then right fielder
Adam Eaton doubled down the line in right, scoring two runs and giving the Nationals a 3-0 lead.
Wainwright was pulled after intentionally walking Anthony Rendon, and left to a standing ovation by the sellout crowd of 46,458.
“That was awesome,” Wainwright said. “I love thes
e fans we have. They’re doing a great job right now making feel loved here in this city, but I wish I could have put a zero up for them in the eighth there.”
Wainwright gave up three runs on seven hits in 7 1/3
innings, striking out 11.
“We’re down two-nothing and that’s why we play the best-of-seven, right? They’re going to bring out all the stops and they have a pretty strong advantage right now,” Wainwright said. “They won two games at our place. We’re going to go try to do at least that at theirs and get this thing right again. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our hitters. I think our hitters are going to do something special in Washington.”
St. Louis scored its first run of the series in the bottom of the 8th inning.
With one out, Goldschmidt singled off reliever Sean Doolittle.
Jose Martinez pinch hit, fouling off several pitches before hitting a fly ball to center.
Taylor started to come in, then leaped in vain as the
ball went over his head, scoring Goldschmidt all the way from first.
Dexter Fowler flied to right to end the threat, giving the Nationals a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame.
Washington relievers Patrick Corbin and Daniel Hudson retired the Cards in order in the ninth.
The series now shifts to Washington, where Game 3 will b
e played Monday night at 6;38 at Nationals Park.
Jack Flaherty (11-8, 2.75 ERA) will get the start for St. Louis.
He’ll be opposed by Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA during the regular season).
St. Louis is down 2-0 in a Postseason series for the first time since the 2009 NLDS against the Dodgers. The last time the Cardinals came back to win a Postseason series after trailing 2-0 was the 1985 NLCS, when they won four consecutiv
e games to beat the Dodgers and advance to the World Series.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Scherzer has taken a no-hitter into the fifth inning in five career Postseason starts, three more than the next closest pitcher.
Sanchez and Scherzer held the same team hitless in consecutive starts through five innings for the second time in their Postseason car
eers, previously doing so in Games 1 and 2 of the 2013 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. They are the only pitchers in Postseason history to accomplish the feat once, let alone twice.