WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer struck out eight to reach the 200 mark for an eighth straight season, Kurt Suzuki homered and drove in four runs and the Washington Nationals cruised past the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Wednesday night.
Scherzer allowed two runs and six hits over 4 1/3 innings in his second start since missing a month with a strained back. Although he didn’t factor in the decision, the right-hander took another step toward regaining his All-Star form and remained unbeaten since May 17.
Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver is the only player in major league history with nine successive 200-strikeout seasons. Scherzer’s streak is alone in second place.
Wander Suero (5-7) followed Scherzer and got Trey Mancini to hit into a double play to end the fifth.
It was the sixth win in seven games for the Nationals, who have surged to the top of the wild card standings behind a robust offense that leads the NL in runs scored this month.
Limited to four hits while being blanked in the series opener Tuesday, the Nationals quickly returned to form, scoring five runs on five hits in the first inning against Asher Wojciechowski (2-7).
Adam Eaton was struck below the right knee by a pitch and Anthony Rendon doubled before Juan Soto hit a liner off the center-field wall for a two-run triple. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with an RBI single and Suzuki sent a 2-0 fastball into the left-field seats.
Eaton left the game after limping to third on Rendon’s hit. The nature of the injury was not immediately disclosed by the team.
Suzuki added a two-run double in the fifth for an 8-2 lead.
Chance Sisco and Chris Davis homered for the Orioles, who settled for a split of the four-game season series between neighboring rivals.
Washington leadoff hitter Trea Turner went 0 for 5, ending his career-best run of reaching base in 33 straight games.
Nationals: Closer Sean Doolittle (right knee tendinitis) threw 16 pitches during a simulated game and will be re-evaluated Thursday. … LHP Roenis Elías (left hamstring strain) also threw a simulated game and is on track to return from the injured list Friday if there are no issues. “He definitely has checked all the boxes,” manager Dave Martinez said. … 1B Matt Adams suffered a bruised knee while getting hit by a pitch Tuesday. He didn’t start but pinch hit in the fifth. … 1B Ryan Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) played nine innings for Class A Potomac on Wednesday.
Orioles: LHP John Means, who’s on the family medical emergency list, should be back to face Kansas City on Friday or Saturday, manager Brandon Hyde said. … Veteran Mark Trumbo went 2 for 5 with a homer and 3 RBIs in his second rehabilitation game with Triple-A Norfolk after going deep on Tuesday. Trumbo has yet to play this season while recovering from right knee surgery. He previously abandoned a rehab stint with Norfolk because of knee pain, but hopes this time will be different and that he can join the Orioles next month.
Elías, who was injured running out a grounder on Aug. 2 in his first appearance with Washington, has a good plan for avoiding any more pain on the bases. “That’s prohibited for me anymore,” Elías said via a translator. “So if they want to throw three straight fastballs down the middle, go ahead. I’ll take all of them.”
Nationals: Washington is off Thursday for the second time in four days. Martinez has not named a starting pitcher for Friday’s opener of a three-game series against visiting Miami.
Orioles: After an off day Thursday, Baltimore faces Kansas City on the road Friday night to open a three-game series involving the teams with the second- and third-worst records in the majors.