Scherzer makes successful return as Nationals topple Pirates
Howie Kendrick and Anthony Rendon homered and right-hander Max Scherzer made a successful if truncated return from injury Thursday as the visiting Washington Nationals earned a 7-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Washington won three of four games in the series, outscoring the Pirates in the four games 32-6.
Victor Robles and Asdrubal Cabrera added RBI singles for the Nationals, who broke things open with a four-run eighth.
Adam Frazier homered for Pittsburgh, which has lost six of its past eight games.
Scherzer, who came off the injured list (back and shoulder) for his first start since July 25, pitched four innings, giving up one run, the Frazier homer, and four hits, with three strikeouts and one walk.
The Nationals indicated Scherzer would be on a pitch count after the time off. He threw 71.
Hunter Strickland (2-1) pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings.
Pittsburgh starter Steven Brault (3-3) recovered from a shaky first to pitch six innings, allowing two runs and seven hits, with four strikeouts and one walk.
Washington’s Trea Turner led off the game with a double to left. Adam Eaton bunted, and Josh Bell’s error when he flubbed the catch allowed Turner to score. Rendon sent Eaton to third with a double.
Juan Soto struck out, and Eaton scored on Kendrick’s groundout to make it 2-0. Center fielder Starling Marte kept the inning from getting out of control with a sliding catch of what otherwise might have been a double by Kurt Suzuki.
In the third, Frazier hit a one-out homer to right, his seventh, to close it to 2-1.
Against Chris Stratton in the eighth, Soto drew a one-out walk and Kendrick followed with his 14th homer, a shot to left, for a 4-1 Nationals lead. Pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra doubled to the corner in left and scored on Robles’ single. Robles came home on Cabrera’s base hit to make it 6-1.
Rendon lifted his 28th homer to left with one out in the ninth, his eighth hit of the series.