EditorsNote: fixes “two-run” in seventh graf; adds new 10th graf
Washington’s Max Scherzer struck out 15 in 6 1/3 innings, and Wilmer Difo produced a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth as the Nationals rallied for a 5-4 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Scherzer was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April and showed why with a spectacular performance. At one point, from the second through the sixth innings, he recorded 12 consecutive outs by strikeouts.
The last whiff in that run came with runners on first and second and no outs in the sixth. Scherzer then got Maikel Franco to ground an inning-ending double play that kept the Nationals in front 1-0.
However, Scherzer ran into trouble in the seventh. Pedro Florimon led off with a single and stole second before Scherzer struck out Jorge Alfaro. Sammy Solis then came on to pitch.
Nick Williams tied the game with a bloop single to center. Brandon Kintzler replaced Solis, and Rhys Hoskins (double) and Odubel Herrera (single) delivered back-to-back RBI hits later in the inning that gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead.
Franco made it 4-1 with a solo homer in the eighth off Carlos Torres.
The Nationals’ Anthony Rendon lined a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth, cutting the deficit to 4-3. Washington then rallied for two in the ninth against Hector Neris (1-2).
The Nationals loaded the bases with no outs, and Neris walked pinch hitter Pedro Severino to force in the tying run. With five Phillies playing in the infield, Difo lined a game-winning single to center.
Sean Doolittle (1-1) earned the win after pitching one scoreless inning.
Scherzer wound up charged with one run on five hits and two walks.
Phillies starter Jake Arrieta also got a tough-luck no-decision. He allowed one run on just two hits in six innings.
The only run Arrieta allowed came on a Matt Adams homer that gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the second. Adams has homered in four of his last six games.
Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman did not start for a second straight game. Zimmerman and manager Dave Martinez said it was “stiffness” and “soreness.”
—Field Level Media