By Sam Bush
Max Scherzer pitched well against the Phillies in his season debut yesterday in a 7-6 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
Scherzer missed time in spring training and started the fourth game of the season because a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger put him behind schedule. But he showed he is healthy, allowing just four hits, two runs, two walks and striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings to spoil the Phillies’ home opener, despite the Phils scoring four runs against the Nationals’ bullpen to make it close.
The Phillies’ rally came the day after the Nats bullpen blew two leads in the late innings Thursday against the Marlins before surrendering the eventual winning run in the 10th.
“We’ll figure it out,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re just kind of still in the process of figuring out where to slot guys in that part of the game.”
Bryce Harper staked Scherzer to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, hitting a two-run home run to right field against Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez. It was Harper’s 12th homer at the Bank, the most he has hit in any visiting ballpark.Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer to right in the third to make it 4-0.
Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer to left field in the fifth to take a 7-0 lead.
It looked like a rout at that point, but the Nationals needed every single one of those runs. The Phillies scored a run in the sixth and Aaron Altherr homered (above) in a three-run seventh to make it a three-run game. Freddy Galvis then hit a two-run home run to right in the ninth to make it 7-6.
“I think it’s a good omen for things to come,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said about the near comeback. “These guys are not going to quit.”
But Blake Treinen avoided further damage, holding onto the Nats’ third win of the season.