July 28, 2018 / 2:45 AM / 19 days ago

Birthday boy Scherzer, baby bopper Soto power Nats past Marlins

Max Scherzer earned his 14th win of the season on his 34th birthday and teenager Juan Soto homered for the third straight game as the Washington Nationals defeated the host Miami Marlins 9-1 on Friday night at Marlins Park.

The only run allowed by Scherzer was unearned, and Soto, a 19-year-old Rookie of the Year candidate, went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Soto finished a double short of the cycle.

Scherzer (14-5) retired the first 10 batters he faced and struck out the side in the third and sixth innings. He finished with 11 strikeouts, giving up three hits and one walk in eight innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.30.

It was also an interesting game at the plate for Scherzer, who singled and scored in the third and three innings later was hit by a pitch, a 91-mph fastball that struck him on his left arm. Scherzer remained in the game after that, with no ill effects.

In fact, Miami didn’t get its first hit until Martin Prado’s multiple-hop ground ball found its way past shortstop Trea Turner and into center field with one out in the fifth. Prado hit a 95-mph fastball on a 3-1 count.

The Nationals moved above .500 at 52-51 by winning their third straight game, which is their longest such streak in 20 days.

Rookie Pablo Lopez (2-2) took the loss, lasting 5 2/3 innings and giving up nine hits, two walks and four runs while striking out three.

Lopez got in trouble almost immediately. Turner, who had three hits on Thursday, stroked a one-out double and scored on Matt Adams’ two-out single in the first.

Soto’s second-inning homer — which traveled 420 feet and landed in the right-field upper deck — made the score 2-0. It was his 13th homer of the season, and it happened on a 95-mph fastball.

Washington extended its lead to 4-0 in the third. Scherzer hit a leadoff ground-ball single to center, advanced to third when Adam Eaton pulled a double down the right-field line and scored on a Lopez wild pitch. Eaton then scored on a Bryce Harper sacrifice fly.

Miami got on the board in the seventh. With one out, third baseman Mark Reynolds bobbled a routine grounder by Starlin Castro and then threw the ball over the glove of first baseman Adams, sending Castro to second and getting two errors on the play. Prado followed with an RBI double on another ground ball to Reynolds, who retreated rather than charged.

Washington broke the game open with a five-run eighth, getting RBI singles by Harper, Adams and Daniel Murphy, along with a two-run triple from Soto.

—Field Level Media

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