Washington Nationals right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer hit his first Major League Baseball home run on Tuesday then exited after throwing only one inning during the 6-7 loss to Miami Marlins due to a neck spasm.
An injury to the two-time Cy Young Award winner as best pitcher for a season would be a devastating blow for a Nationals starting rotation that already has star Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross on the disabled list.
Scherzer, 33, retired the host Marlins in order in the first inning then smacked a three-run homer in the second inning. But when he returned to throw in the second inning, he left the mound after a warm-up throw, telling manager Dusty Baker “I can’t go.”
Reliever Matt Grace entered with a 6-0 lead for the Nationals, who lead the National League East division. But any prolonged absence for Scherzer, 12-5 this season with a 2.21 earned-run average, will be a major setback for Washington’s dreams of the first World Series title in franchise history.
A team spokesman said Scherzer slept with his neck in an unusual position and removed himself from the game as a precaution, but Scherzer was seen wincing in pain in the dugout after his game was ended.
Strasburg is out with a nerve impingement in his right elbow but Scherzer had been a stalwart, having not missed a turn in the rotation since becoming a full-time starter.
Scherzer had a 2.96 ERA last season and also led the National League with 20 wins and 284 strikeouts. He leads the league this season with 145 1/3 innings pitched.
Red Sox 12, Indians 10
Christian Vazquez socked a walk-off, three-run homer in the ninth inning to lead Boston over Cleveland at Fenway Park. Eduardo Nunez had four RBIs, Mitch Moreland crushed his 13th home run — a three-run shot — and Brock Holt and Mookie Betts each had an RBI for the Red Sox. Brandon Guyer and Edwin Encarnacion each clubbed two-run homers for the Indians, and Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor crushed solo shots.
Rays 6, Astros 4
Evan Longoria hit the second cycle in franchise history, and Tampa Bay fended off Houston at Minute Maid Park. Longoria homered in the first inning, hit an RBI triple in the third, singled in the seventh and doubled in the ninth.
Logan Morrison clubbed his 27th homer while recording a pair of RBIs for the Rays, who squared their four-game series with the Astros.
Dodgers 3, Braves 2
Kenta Maeda won his fourth straight start, giving up two hits in seven innings, not allowing a runner past first base, as Los Angeles beat Atlanta to stretch its latest winning streak to nine games. Maeda (10-4) struck out six and walked one in his longest start since June.
Dodgers rookie slugger Cody Bellinger hit his 29th homer and Yasiel Puig had a double, single and stolen base, scoring twice. Braves starter Lucas Sims turned in a solid outing in his major league debut. Sims (0-1) worked six innings and gave up three runs and six hits. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out three, hit a batter and didn’t issue a walk.
Tigers 4, Yankees 3
Anibal Sanchez pitched a season-high 6 2/3 innings, and Shane Greene recorded a five-out save as Detroit held on for a victory over New York. Sanchez (3-1) recorded an out in the seventh inning for only the second time this season as a starter.
He allowed two runs and six hits while pitching to contact during most of his 101-pitch outing. Greene was named closer Monday after Justin Wilson was traded to the Chicago Cubs, and he recorded his first save of the year and third of his career. John Hicks hit a three-run homer and Justin Upton added a solo homer for Detroit, which won for the fifth time in its past 13 games.
Reds 9, Pirates 1
Billy Hamilton hit a three-run homer and scored twice as Cincinnati continued its mastery of Pittsburgh. The Reds are 7-1 against Pittsburgh this season. Jesse Winker, fresh from Triple-A Louisville, hit his first major league homer for the Reds, who pounded out 14 hits and won its second game in a row. Adam Frazier had three of the Pirates’ seven hits.
Orioles 7, Royals 2
Dylan Bundy threw a career-high eight innings, allowing only one unearned run and leading Baltimore past Kansas City. The Orioles (52-54) won their fourth straight, and they pulled to within two games of.500 for the first time since July 3. Bundy (10-8), who was pitching on eight days of rest, matched his win total from last season. He scattered three hits with five strikeouts and a walk. Seth Smith went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored for the Orioles.
Brewers 3, Cardinals 2
Jimmy Nelson struck out seven to lead Milwaukee over St. Louis at Miller Park. Nelson (9-5) allowed just two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings, marking the fifth time in seven appearances that he held an opponent to two earned runs or fewer. Carlos Martinez (7-9) went five innings for St. Louis and surrendered three runs, four hits and five walks while striking out seven.
Blue Jays 8, White Sox 4
Josh Donaldson went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and three RBIs, and Toronto pulled away for a win over Chicago. Justin Smoak finished 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs as part of the Blue Jays’ big day at the plate.
Toronto snapped a four-game road losing streak. Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith drove in two runs apiece for the White Sox. Chicago dropped to 3-14 since the All-Star break.
Cubs 16, Diamondbacks 4
Chicago clubbed five home runs, including one by starting pitcher Jon Lester, in a rout of Arizona during the series opener at Wrigley Field. Anthony Rizzo homered twice, and Ian Happ and Javier Baez each had one homer as the Cubs matched a season high for homers in a game.
Lester hit his first major league homer — a two-run shot to left field in the third inning. He also fanned pinch hitter Jack Reinheimer in the fourth inning for the 2,000th strikeout of his career. Patrick Corbin (8-10) lasted just three innings as the Cubs hit him for eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits.
Mariners 8, Rangers 7
Robinson Cano drove in three runs and Nelson Cruz homered as Seattle moved two games over.500 for the second time this season by outslugging Texas at Globe Life Park.
The Mariners (55-53) were also two games over.500 on June 23. They reached that high-water mark again by handing the Rangers (50-56) their fourth straight loss, dropping them six below .500 for the time since May 9. Cano, Jarrod Dyson, Nelson Cruz, Danny Valencia and Leonys Martin each had two hits for Seattle, which finished with 12. Shin-Soo Choo had three of the 12 Texas hits.
Rockies 5, Mets 4
Nolan Arenado singled home the winning run with no outs in the ninth inning, giving Colorado a victory over New York. Arenado, who drove in four runs for an major-league-leading 95 on the season, collected his second walk-off hit of the season and the fifth of his career.
Charlie Blackmon, who ended the top of the ninth inning with a stunning catch, led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk against Hansel Robles (6-2).Blackmon broke for second on Robles’ 3-2 pitch to DJ LeMahieu.
Shortstop Amed Rosario took a step toward second base, and LeMahieu’s hard grounder went off his glove for an infield single, setting up Arenado’s deciding at-bat.
Padres 3, Twins 0
Jhoulys Chacin threw seven scoreless innings, and Austin Hedges smacked a two-run homer as San Diego beat Minnesota. Chacin (11-7) gave up three hits and two walks. He struck out three. Jose Berrios (9-5) lost for the third time in four starts despite allowing only a run and two hits over seven innings. He walked two with four strikeouts. The Twins have dropped three straight and seven of eight.
Giants 10, Athletics 4
Nick Hundley, Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence hit home runs, powering San Francisco past Oakland in the second game of the Bay Bridge Series. Hundley hit a two-run homer in the first inning, Belt a solo shot in the fourth and Pence a three-run blast in the seventh, which extended the Giants’ lead. San Francisco right-hander Jeff Samardzija, a former Athletic, allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits over a season-high-matching eight innings. Samardzija (6-11) struck out five, walked two and improved to 6-2 in 11 career starts at the Coliseum.
Angels 7, Phillies 1
Albert Pujols drove in a season-high five runs as Los Angeles routed Philadelphia. Pujols lined a two-run double in the fifth inning off Phillies starter Aaron Nola (8-7) to give the Angels a 2-1 lead. His three-run homer to left field off reliever Mark Leiter Jr. in the seventh made it 5-1. Ricky Nolasco (5-12) allowed six hits and walked two in six innings, striking out five and allowing one run.
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