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Scherzer pitches gem, Nationals beat Jays in extra innings

Scherzer pitches gem, Nationals beat Jays in extra innings
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer allowed just three hits before the team's bullpen secured a victory against the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- Ace pitcher Max Scherzer was masterful on the mound and the Washington Nationals offense came alive late to beat the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings at Nationals Park.

Scherzer allowed just three hits in 7.1 innings in the 4-0 win Wednesday in Washington, D.C. He also had 10 strikeouts, but was not eligible for the win because the game still was scoreless when he departed in the eighth inning.

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"I'm just happy to get out of here unscathed, and then for our team to be able to get a win," Scherzer told reporters. "We needed this win. We needed to start getting some mojo going.

"It's good to see the offense, even if it took until the 10th inning, the offense got going. Sometimes hitting can be contagious, and hopefully that rolls into tomorrow."

Blue Jays starter Nate Pearson also pitched well. He allowed just two hits in five shutout innings.

Wednesday's clash was held at the Nationals' home field, but was a home game for the Blue Jays because the Canadian government didn't approve for the team to play its games this season in Toronto.

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The score stayed 0-0 through nine innings before the Nationals took advantage of MLB's new rule, which allows each team to begin half innings after the ninth inning with a runner on second base. Blue Jays relief pitcher Shun Yamaguchi walked the first two batters he faced in the top of the 10th frame to load the bases for the Nationals.

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Yamaguchi then struck out Victor Robles and Trea Turner and appeared to get out of trouble before Adam Eaton stepped into the batter's box. The Nationals outfielder hit Yamaguchi's first offering to second base for a single. Emilio Bonifacio scored on the play.

Asdrubal Cabrera settled in for the next Nationals at-bat. Cabrera took a 3-0 lead in the count against Yamaguchi before the Blue Jays pitcher threw a fastball for a strike. Yamaguchi then tossed in another fastball, but Cabrera pounced on that offering. The Nationals designated hitter sent the pitch to right field for a three-run triple to secure some extra-innings insurance for Washington.

Eric Thames then lined out to end the half inning before Nationals relief pitcher Tanner Rainey shut down the Blue Jays hitters in the bottom of the frame to end the affair.

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Daniel Hudson picked up the win for the Nationals. Hudson and Rainey did not allow a hit, a run or a walk in 2.2 innings of relief after Scherzer's departure. Yamaguchi took the loss for Toronto.

Eaton went 1 for 3 with an RBI, a run scored and two walks in the win. Cabrera was 1 for 5 with three RBIs. Turner, Thames and Carter Kieboom supplied the only other hits for Washington.

The Nationals play the Blue Jays in the final game of the series at 4:05 p.m. EDT Thursday in Washington, D.C.

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