Nationals Phillies Baseball

Max Scherzer of the Nationals delivers a pitch in the first inning Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Scherzer allowed one run and three hits in six innings as Washington won a doubleheader opener, 3-1, before losing the second game, 11-8. Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Max Scherzer delivered a signature performance in what might be his last start for the Nationals, allowing three hits in six innings in the opener of a doubleheader that Washington ultimately split with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.

As reports swirled about an imminent trade of Scherzer, Washington saw a seven-run lead melt away in Game 2 before Brad Miller’s grand slam secured an 11-8 Philadelphia victory. Washington won the first game, 3-1.

Scherzer sat in the top row of the visiting dugout for most of Game 2 with his feet up, talking to Yan Gomes, whose two-run seventh-inning homer in Game 1 off Philadelphia ace Zack Wheeler gave Scherzer (8-4) his 92nd – and possibly final – win as a National in seven seasons.

“Today was a wacky start because of everything going on, but you put the blinders on and go and compete,” Scherzer said. “Even when you are at your worst, you want to go out and do your best.”

Numerous social media reports Thursday night indicated that the Dodgers were on the verge of acquiring Scherzer and Nationals shortstop Trea Turner.

Scherzer allowed a fourth-inning homer to J.T. Realmuto while striking out five and walking three on 88 pitches. Kyle Finnegan stepped into the closer’s role and struck out two in the seventh for his first career save.

As Scherzer received handshakes in the Washington dugout, Gerardo Parra doubled and Gomes – who was reinstated from the 10-day injured list before the game – drilled a sinker from Wheeler (8-6) to center field for his ninth homer of the season.

Wheeler went the distance in the seven-inning game, allowing seven hits, walking two and striking out five on 100 pitches.

“We need to win some games,” Wheeler said. “That was a big game for us and I needed to go out and post some zeros, especially against Max because he’s going to hold us or try to and I let us down out there.”

Scherzer – a three-time Cy Young Award winner and a stalwart of Washington’s 2019 World Series-winning squad – will become a free agent at the end of the season.

“I don’t want to look at this as a negative thing. I really look at it as a positive thing,” Scherzer said. “I signed a seven-year deal here to win a World Series. And we won. We won a World Series. That’s a lifelong dream come true.”

RAYS 14, YANKEES 0: Luis Patiño outpitched Gerrit Cole, Brett Phillips hit a grand slam during a 10-run sixth inning, and Tampa Bay avoided a three-game sweep by routing visiting New York.

Patiño (2-2) allowed three hits in six innings. The 21-year-old right-hander, acquired in the trade that sent Blake Snell to San Diego last December, struck out eight and walked two.

Cole (10-6) gave up a season-high eight runs – seven earned – on six hits over 5 1/3 innings and saw his ERA jump from 2.74 to 3.11. He had 10 strikeouts and two walks.

Austin Meadows homered twice and drove in five runs for the Rays. Louis Head and Ryan Sherriff completed a four-hitter.

BRAVES 6, METS 3: Austin Riley concluded his big series at Citi Field by hitting a two-run homer and finishing with three RBI, and Atlanta inched closer to NL East-leading New York.

The Braves won three games in the unusual four-day, five-game series to move within four games of the Mets.

Riley made it 2-0 in the fourth when he took Taijuan Walker deep to left-center. He added an RBI single in the fifth. Riley had four homers and seven RBI in the last three games of the series, and has eight homers in 20 career games at Citi Field.

The 24-year-old also made a handful of impressive plays this week at third base. He snared a sharp grounder by J.D. Davis to rob the Mets’ third baseman of a third-inning hit on Thursday.

Abraham Almonte and Dansby Swanson also homered for the Braves.

GIANTS 5, DODGERS 0: Brandon Crawford doubled home two runs in his first at-bat after coming back from a left oblique strain, and San Francisco won at home.

Wilmer Flores, Austin Slater and LaMonte Wade Jr. also drove in runs for San Francisco, which extended its NL West lead over Los Angeles to three games. The Dodgers were shut out for just the third time this season.

Johnny Cueto (7-4) earned his first win since June 25. He struck out five over 5 2/3 innings while walking two and allowing four hits.

REDS 7, CUBS 4: Joey Votto set a franchise record by homering in his sixth consecutive game as Cincinnati won at Chicago.

Votto homered six times in the four-game series at Wrigley Field, and the big first baseman has eight home runs in the six-game streak for a record that dated back to 1900.

Votto’s 20th homer of the season was a two-run shot in the first, when he hit a fastball from Alec Mills (4-4) into the center-field bleachers.

ROYALS 5, WHITE SOX 0: Carlos Hernandez pitched six scoreless innings, Salvador Perez homered again and Kansas City won at home.

Perez put the Royals ahead with his 25th homer, a two-run shot in the first inning off Carlos Rodon (8-5). The Royals catcher hit a game-tying solo shot in the ninth Wednesday night before they won in 10 innings.

Kansas City won three out of four games in the series that ended with a hot matinee. It was 95 degrees at the start of the game, with a heat index of 106 that increased to 109 by the last pitch.

Hernandez (2-1) allowed just four hits, with one walk and four strikeouts.

TIGERS 6, ORIOLES 2: Miguel Cabrera hit two solo home runs, Casey Mize pitched seven solid innings and Detroit won at home.

Mize (6-5) held the Orioles scoreless until they pushed across an unearned run in the seventh. The rookie right-hander, the No. 1 overall draft pick three years ago, gave up four hits and struck out two in his first victory since June 26, though the Tigers had been limiting his innings since then.

Eric Haase drove in two runs and Jeimer Candelario added three hits, including an RBI triple.

BREWERS 12, PIRATES 0: Manny Piña hit two homers and drove in a career-high five runs as visiting Milwaukee routed Pittsburgh.

Piña hit his sixth home run of the season off reliever Chris Stratton to cap a five-run sixth inning for the Brewers. He added a two-run homer in the eighth.

The Brewers outscored Pittsburgh 28-3 while sweeping the series. Milwaukee has won five of its last six and increased its lead over Cincinnati to seven games in the NL Central.

Milwaukee starter Freddy Peralta (8-3) allowed only two hits and three base runners. He struck out five and needed just 68 pitches to get through six innings.


TRADES: The New York Yankees acquired Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and cash for prospects in their second major trade this week for desperately needed left-handed bats.

The swap came ahead of the Major League Baseball trade deadline at 4 p.m. Friday. Earlier in the day, the Yankees announced they had gotten All-Star slugger Joey Gallo from Texas.

Rizzo is batting .248 with 14 home runs and 40 RBI. The 31-year-old had been a fixture at Wrigley Field for a decade, and helped the Cubs break their long World Series drought with a championship in 2016.

Popular in the clubhouse and with Cubs fans, Rizzo is making $16.5 million this year and can become a free agent after the season.

• The Seattle Mariners quickly found a replacement for the back end of their bullpen, acquiring right-hander Diego Castillo from the Tampa Bay Rays for reliever JT Chargois and a minor league infielder.

Castillo will likely jump into the closer role that was vacated when the Mariners traded Kendall Graveman to the Houston Astros earlier in the week. But unlike Graveman, who will be a free agent after the season, the Mariners gain a significant amount of control for the future with the acquisition of Castillo.

Castillo, 27, has 14 saves in 37 appearances and a 2.72 ERA this season. He had a 1.66 ERA in 21 appearances during the shortened 2020 season.

More important for Seattle, Castillo will be under club control through 2024.

• Cleveland traded second baseman Cesar Hernandez to the AL Central-leading White Sox for minor league pitcher Konnor Pilkington.

The White Sox, who lead the Indians by 8 1/2 games and open a series with them Friday, have been in the market for a second baseman since starter Nick Madrigal suffered a season-ending hamstring tear on June 10.

In Hernandez, Chicago is getting a Gold Glove defender who is hitting .231 in his second season with the Indians, with a career-high 18 home runs and 47 RBI in 96 games.

The White Sox also acquired reliever Ryan Tepera from the Chicago Cubs for minor league lefty Bailey Horn.

Tepera is 0-2 with a 2.91 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings and has allowed just one home run over his last 36 appearances.

• The Los Angeles Dodgers got Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy as the World Series champions boosted their rotation for a playoff push.

Duffy, 32, is on the 10-day injured list because of a strained left flexor and last pitched on July 16. He missed more than a month earlier this season because of a similar injury.

Duffy is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA this season.

• The Toronto Blue Jays acquired closer Brad Hand from Washington.

Hand, 31, is 5-5 with a 3.59 ERA and 21 saves in 26 opportunities.

The Blue Jays sent catcher Riley Adams to Washington.

MARINERS: Seattle pitcher Hector Santiago was suspended for 80 games by Major League Baseball following a positive test for external testosterone, exactly one month after he was banned for 10 games when he became the first player penalized under the sport’s crackdown on grip-enhancing substances.

While the sticky substance penalty was with pay, the suspension under MLB’s drug program will cost him about half his $700,000 salary.

A 33-year-old left-hander, Santiago is 1-1 with a 3.42 ERA in 13 relief appearances this season.


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