The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer stole the first base of his professional career and allowed only two singles in his fifth big league shutout, and the Nationals ended a five-game losing skid while getting back to .500 with a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
Scherzer (2-1), the winner of the past two NL Cy Young Awards, did not let the Braves push a runner beyond first base. Kurt Suzuki got a hit in the second, and Nick Markakis did in the fifth, but neither advanced.
Scherzer managed to get farther than that: He swiped second after singling off reliever Peter Moylan in the seventh.
Howie Kendrick delivered all the offense Washington needed with a two-run double.
Scherzer struck out 10 and walked none in his ninth complete game in 299 major league starts. And he needed only 102 pitches, a far more efficient outing than his previous time on the mound: He threw 110 over five innings in a 7-1 loss at Atlanta on April 4.
Julio Teheran (0-1) went six innings for the Braves, and the only damage came on Kendrick’s shot that hugged the left-field line with two outs in the first inning. That brought home Anthony Rendon, who also had doubled, and Bryce Harper, who walked.
This was the first time the Nationals had entered a game with a losing record since August 2015. That’s because after starting this season 4-0, they had dropped five in a row, two to the Braves, then three in a sweep against the New York Mets.
Washington hadn’t lost that many consecutive games since a seven-game rut in June 2016.
Cubs’ opener snowed out
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs tried to play their home opener on Monday. It was just a snow-go.
The Cubs’ game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was postponed a day because of snow that covered much of Wrigley Field, creating a scene more reminiscent of January than April.
“On the way out I had no idea if I was going to Cubs Convention or opening day,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon cracked.
The winter wonderland at Wrigley caused the majors’ 11th postponement so far this season, adding another picture to a growing montage of snowballs, ski caps and puffy coats from ballparks across the frigid Midwest.
The Cubs tried pushing back first pitch by an hour, and workers used hand-held blowers to melt the snow on the tarp. But the accumulation and cold temperatures were just too much.
The game was rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon, which was previously an off day for the first series between the NL Central rivals.
“It’s rough out there,” reliever Steve Cishek said. “We’re disappointed. We wanted to get this home opener underway. But at the same time, I know some guys in the bullpen probably, like myself, could use an extra day off just to heal up a little bit and be ready for tomorrow.”