LOS ANGELES -- Max Scherzer did to the Dodgers on Tuesday night what the Dodgers usually watch Clayton Kershaw do to opponents, striking out 14 in seven innings while outdueling Brandon McCarthy as the Nationals edged Los Angeles, 2-1, at Dodger Stadium."We saw Max doing Max things," said McCarthy.Washington's bullpen,
LOS ANGELES -- Max Scherzer did to the Dodgers on Tuesday night what the Dodgers usually watch Clayton Kershaw do to opponents, striking out 14 in seven innings while outdueling Brandon McCarthy as the Nationals edged Los Angeles, 2-1, at Dodger Stadium.
"We saw Max doing Max things," said McCarthy.
Washington's bullpen, which had blown nine of its 27 previous save opportunities, locked this one down, with Oliver Perez striking out two in a perfect eighth inning and Koda Glover pitching the ninth for his eighth save, which leads MLB rookies. The final pitch was a strikeout of Yasiel Puig, who exchanged words with Glover and catcher Matt Wieters as the benches briefly cleared, but only words were exchanged.
"Tempers flare a little bit," Glover said. "It is what it is. I don't have any hard feelings towards him. He was staring at me and I didn't like it."
Scherzer (7-3) has fanned 13, 11 and 14 in his last three starts, giving him double digits in strikeouts six times this year and 55 times in his career, one more than Kershaw for the most among active pitchers.
• Max's wipeout slider key en route to 14 K's
"Obviously, he's on a nice run right now," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "And when he's against us, he's going to bring his best and he did tonight. This guy can [get a strike on] any pitch that he throws, getting ahead of guys, and when he gets ahead, he can wipe you out. It was tough sledding tonight."
McCarthy (5-3), coming off a start cut short at four innings because of a finger blister, lasted seven innings and matched Scherzer by allowing only three hits. Nationals speedy leadoff hitter Trea Turner manufactured a first-inning run off McCarthy with a chopped infield single and two stolen bases before scoring on Bryce Harper's sacrifice fly. McCarthy blamed his mental errors for the first run.
"Forgetting Trea Turner was on first and second, and he's going to steal at will, and not doing all I should do to hold him," McCarthy said. "Good chance he's going to go anyway, but I've got to do all I can to increase the odds in our favor and I didn't do any of those. You have to vary the looks. The one at second I didn't vary the look, just handed it to him, should have told him to just go to third."
In the bottom of the inning, the Dodgers converted an error by second baseman Daniel Murphy into a run off Scherzer when Adrian Gonzalez singled home Chase Utley.
But Washington scored the decisive run in the fourth. Harper led off with a double down the right-field line that landed just fair and he scored on another sacrifice fly, this one by Murphy.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Biggest escape act: Two walks by Scherzer, his errant pickoff attempt and a passed ball by Wieters on a called strikeout of Cody Bellinger created a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the bottom of the third inning, but Scherzer wiggled free by striking out Chris Taylor for the second time with a nasty slider.
Next biggest escape act: Nearly as impressive as the third inning for Scherzer was the first. After Gonzalez's one-out RBI single, Scherzer struck out Bellinger and Taylor to leave two of the seven runners the Dodgers stranded in the game. Scherzer fanned Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal three times each, as Los Angeles struck out a season-high 17 times.
• Dodgers trying to fight through offensive slump
"Disgusting." -- Bellinger, describing Scherzer
"With the mighty Kershaw going tomorrow, it's going to be a great game tomorrow. … I might be wrong, but I don't anticipate too many runs -- it's going to be a low-scoring game. It's going to be a great series finale tomorrow." -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker on the series finale that will feature a matchup of Stephen Strasburg vs. Kershaw
Nationals: Washington concludes its West Coast road trip with Strasburg taking the ball at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. Strasburg is 7-1 this season and the Nationals are 9-2 when he starts. First pitch is slated for 3:10 p.m. ET.
Dodgers: The last time Kershaw faced the Nationals he was a reliever, nailing down his first career save in the 2016 National League Division Series clincher. On Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. PT, he duels Strasburg for the first time. As a starter, Kershaw is 10-2 with a 2.02 ERA against Washington in the regular season.
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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Nationals on Tuesday.