Scherzer outduels Lester in 3-0 loss
After taking game two of this three-game series to set up tonight’s rubber match, the Chicago Cubs were shutout 3-0 behind a strong start by Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer.
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Things started off a bit slow behind three scoreless outings from both starters, but Washington would get on the board first on a throwing error by second baseman Addison Russell who attempted to turn a double play. Russell, who played the hero last night, had very little impact on tonight’s game, finishing 1-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts.
Jon Lester (4-3, 3.30 ERA) witnessed his perfect run in the month of May come to an end, receiving the loss in the decision. Lester nearly matched Scherzer in strikeouts, reaching his season high of 10 strikeouts while allowing just one earned runs behind seven hits including Bryce Harper‘s solo home run.
Cubs’ (25-21) skipper Joe Maddon pulled Lester from the game after seven innings, turning to James Russell to take over in the eighth. He would end up walking the first batter of the inning, making way for Jason Motte to take over.
Nats’ (28-19) Scherzer (6-3, 1.51 ERA) continued his nightmarish ways, holding Chicago to just five runs with a 13/1 K/BB ratio in seven innings of his own. His replacement, Matt Grace, had a bit of a scare during the bottom half of the eighth when Jorge Soler lined a double to left field.
Shortly after giving up the lead-off double to Soler, Anthony Rizzo ended up taking a 3-2 pitch off his elbow to put him on first with no outs in the inning. This appeared to be Chicago’s last chance to at least tie the game with rookie Kris Bryant up in the batters box.
Reliever Casey Janssen later entered the game on a double switch, placing Danny Espinosa at second base and in the ninth spot in their lineup. Janssen retired Bryant, Dexter Fowler, then Starlin Castro to get his team out of the late jam.
With the Cubs looking to keep themselves in the ballgame, Maddon called upon former starter Travis Wood to begin the ninth. Wood managed to strikeout young left fielder Michael Moore but gave up a solo home run to Espinosa just moments later on a 3-0 92 mph fastball to left field.