June 26, 2018 / 7:26 PM / 3 months ago

Eovaldi outduels Scherzer as Rays shut out Nats, 1-0

EditorsNote: Minor tweaks in 1st, 3rd and 7th grafs

Nathan Eovaldi outdueled Max Scherzer on Tuesday as the Tampa Bay Rays polished off a two-game sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 1-0 decision at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Eovaldi (2-3) didn’t allow a hit until Bryce Harper doubled off the top of the left field wall with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Eovaldi rebounded, getting Anthony Rendon to bounce out to third baseman Matt Duffy for the third out.

Eovaldi struck out a season-high nine and walked two over his six innings, winning for the first time since his season debut at Oakland on May 30. Sergio Romo fanned Michael A. Taylor on three pitches with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth to pick up his sixth save.

After the strikeout, Romo yelled repeatedly at Taylor, who stole a base in the teams’ series in Washington earlier this month when the Nationals led 11-2. The teams milled near the mound, but no punches were thrown.

Scherzer (10-4) permitted just four hits and a run over seven innings, walking three and fanning four. It marked just the second time in his last 10 starts that Scherzer didn’t strike out at least nine batters.

Tampa Bay, which won its fifth straight game, built its only run in the first. Kevin Kiermaier and Duffy led off with singles to put runners at the corners. Jake Bauers’ grounder to second became a fielder’s choice as he beat the relay throw to first, Kiermaier scoring.

Washington put its first two hitters on base in the fourth as Adam Eaton was hit by a cutter and Harper walked. After Rendon flied out, Eaton was tagged out between second and third after Harper lit out on a steal attempt of second, forcing Eaton into a rundown. Following a Juan Soto walk, Daniel Murphy grounded out.

The Rays could have tacked on insurance runs in the seventh and eighth, but stranded two runners in each inning. Kiermaier fouled out with men at second and third to finish the seventh, and C.J. Cron whiffed with runners at first and second in the eighth.

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