|4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, September 13, 2017
Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia Attendance: 24,850
Kemp, Braves slam Nats; Gohara records first win
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(TSX / STATS) -- WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer threw a no-hitter at Nationals Park in 2015 and the next year he fanned 20 batters against the Detroit Tigers, also at home.
Last year's Cy Young Award winner in the National League did something almost as rare at Nationals Park on Wednesday night as he walked three straight batters to load the bases in the seventh inning.
The patient opposing batters took advantage of his lack of command as the Atlanta Braves beat the two-time National League East champion Washington Nationals 8-2. The Nationals have lost two in a row to the Braves since clinching the title Sunday.
So why wasn't Scherzer taken out sooner, when it was clear he was off his game?
"Look, this is why these games are meaningful. I know you guys keep throwing that word around," Scherzer said. "I need to go out and pitch deep in the ballgame (to get ready for October). And I didn't."
Washington manager Dusty Baker admitted Scherzer was off his game but also needed work since he may get an extra day off before his next start. He threw 116 pitches, but only 74 for strikes.
"We have to stick with the game plan," Baker said. "He lost his command. Even before that we didn't play well. It was an ugly night, period. I know it looked ugly."
The Braves scored six runs in the seventh to take an 8-2 lead. But it was reliever Brandon Kintzler who gave up a grand slam to Matt Kemp on his first pitch after taking over for Scherzer to account for the final score.
Luiz Gohara earned his first major league win in his second outing, following a rough debut against the Texas Rangers, while Lane Adams was 3-for-4 and scored twice for Atlanta after hitting a walk-off homer on Sunday.
The rookie was more efficient that the veteran as Gohara threw 71 pitches -- 52 for strikes -- and his fastball reached the high 90s.
"The kid gets locked in and really competes," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said of Gohara. "That is what I heard about him. That is legit stuff right there, too. He looked like he could have pitched all night. There is a lot to like there."
In a 2-2 game, Scherzer walked the first three batters of the seventh and then gave up a two-run single to Dansby Swanson.
After an intentional walk to Freddie Freeman loaded the bases, Kintzler took over, and his first pitch was ripped over the fence in left by Kemp for an 8-2 bulge.
It was the 19th homer of the year for Kemp and his seventh career grand slam.
Scherzer (14-6) had the worst outing of the season, giving up seven runs and seven hits in six-plus innings. He finished with six walks and seven strikeouts. His ERA rose from 2.32 to 2.59 as his Cy Young Award candidacy took a hit as he walked six for the first time since 2013.
Gohara (1-1) yielded two runs (one earned) and six hits in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Dan Winkler, A.J. Minter and Lucas Sims each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the win.
The Braves took a 2-1 lead in the sixth as Kemp walked and scored on a two-out double to right by Tyler Flowers (two hits).
Washington tied the game at 2-2 in the last of the sixth as Wilmer Difo had an RBI single to score Trea Turner, who was 3-for-4. The hit by Turner in the sixth snapped a streak of 11 batters retired in a row by Gohara.
Nick Markakis also had two hits for the Braves. Atlanta (66-78) is 6-3 at Nationals Park this year.
Anthony Rendon had an RBI double in the first inning to give the Nationals (88-57) a 1-0 lead. His 37th double of the year scored Turner, who led off with an infield single that was upheld after a video challenge. Turner then stole his 40th base.
"If it's there I will take it," Turner said of getting 50 steals this year.
Gohara went four innings and gave up six runs in his first major league start against the Texas Rangers on Sept. 6.
"The guys are fighting hard against the better pitchers. It is good to see," said Snitker, whose team beat Gio Gonzalez on Tuesday.
NOTES: Washington RHP Tanner Roark (12-9, 4.48 ERA) will face fellow a Illinois native, Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (10-12, 4.74), on Thursday. ... Braves C Kurt Suzuki played for the Nationals for parts of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. ... Washington manager Dusty Baker was drafted by the Braves in the 26th round in 1967. ... Braves OF Ender Inciarte did not play because of a sore thumb. ... Nationals OF Jayson Werth (sore left shoulder) was back in the starting lineup after missing the last five games. He was 0-for-16 this month before hitting a double in the second inning and finishing 1-for-3.
Updated September 13, 2017