SAN DIEGO (AP) — Max Scherzer shrugged off taking a comebacker off his calf and got out of the only inning in which the San Diego Padres threatened.
Scherzer struck out nine in seven shutout innings and Brian Dozier hit a two-run home run for his 1,000th career hit to lead the Washington Nationals to a 4-1 victory Saturday night.
“I’ve been hit in the calf before. I know it (stinks) and you’ve got to see if it’s going to tighten up on you,” Scherzer said. “I felt like I could still go back out there and pitch and still get through it even though it didn’t feel good to run but I was able to still pitch.
“That’s when you just get rid of all the excuses of why you might fail and just come up with reasons why you want to win. Just continue to make pitches and execute pitches the way you need to.”
Scherzer (4-5) allowed six hits and issued only one walk, an intentional pass.
He got into trouble in only the second inning. Eric Hosmer and Franmil Reyes reached on singles before rookie Josh Naylor hit a ball off Scherzer. The runners advanced as Scherzer recovered the ball and threw out Naylor.
Hosmer broke for home on Ian Kinsler’s grounder to third and was caught in a rundown. Rookie Austin Allen was intentionally walked to load the base and Lauer struck out to end the inning.
“They’ve got a lot of threats,” Scherzer said. “You don’t make the right pitch, they can take you deep. They’ve got some good power hitters. I was able to avoid a big inning. I knew coming into this game it was going to be a challenge and turned out to be a little different challenge.”
Manager Dave Martinez said Scherzer staying in the game “doesn’t surprise me a bit. He got hit pretty hard and he was sore but he wanted to pitch. Went out there and gave us what we needed to get. That’s just who Max Scherzer is.
“He’s going to be stiff tomorrow I’m sure, but we’ve got an extra day and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Said Padres manager Andy Green: “He’s good. We know that. That inning where we had second and third; first and second and he takes a ball off his calf and he keeps us from scoring there. We put a good swing on him with Kinsler. Sometimes you struggle to find a run against a guy like that.
“Wasn’t necessarily as electric of a fastball as you see from him from time to time. Pretty obviously he was feeling that ball off his calf a little bit but he pitched well,” Green said.
Sean Doolittle got the final out for his 14th save after rookie Austin Allen hit a two-out RBI single.
Dozier, who signed with the Nationals as a free agent in January, homered to left off Eric Lauer in fourth, his 10th. Howie Kendrick was aboard on a leadoff walk.
“I think it’s pretty cool but I don’t really put too much emphasis in records and all that kind of stuff,” Dozier said. “I think it’s cool playing a while. More importantly a big win coming off of last night. We let one slip away and bounced back and to do what we did tonight is pretty good.”
Kendrick and Anthony Rendon added RBI singles off Eric Lauer for the Nationals, who lost the first two games of this series by identical 5-4 scores.
Lauer (5-5) had won three straight starts coming in. He allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in seven innings and struck out five.
The Padres’ first-round draft pick, SS C.J. Abrams of Blessed Trinity High in Roswell, Georgia, agreed to a $5.2 million bonus. He and three other draft picks threw ceremonial first pitches.
Nationals: RHP Trevor Rosenthal returned from a rehab assignment and was reinstated from the 10-day IL. RHP Kyle McGowin was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room on the roster.
Padres: C Austin Hedges was a late scratch with a sprained left ankle. Green said he stepped on a ball in the dugout after batting practice. … Rookie SS Fernando Tatis was rested after having two big games in his return from the injured list. He made the last out as a pinch-hitter. … RHP Adam Warren was placed on the 10-day IL with a strained right forearm strain and RHP Gerardo Reyes was recalled from Triple-A El Paso. INF Jose Pirela was reinstated from the IL and optioned to El Paso.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-3, 3.19) is scheduled to start the series finale against his hometown team. He is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four career starts in San Diego. He played at San Diego State under the late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
Padres: RHP Luis Perdomo (1-0, 4.08) is scheduled to be the starter in a “bullpen game” Sunday.
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