- Associated Press - Monday, June 13, 2016

Max Scherzer retired the first 16 batters he faced and threw seven innings of two-hit ball, striking out 11 in a pitching masterpiece that carried the Washington Nationals past the Chicago Cubs 4-1 Monday night.

Scherzer’s bid for his third career no-hitter ended with one out in the sixth when Addison Russell hit a 3-2 pitch into the left-field seats. The only other batter to reach against Scherzer (8-4) was Anthony Rizzo, who doubled in the seventh.

Facing the team with the best record in the majors, Scherzer became the 26th pitcher in baseball history to have 40 games with at least 10 strikeouts. He has won three straight starts, allowing only three runs over 22 innings.

The right-hander also earned a measure of revenge against the Cubs after yielding seven runs in five innings at Wrigley Field on May 6 in the midst of Chicago’s four-game sweep.

Scherzer struck out 20 in a win over Detroit last month. In this one, he fanned nine of the first 10 batters and victimized Dexter Fowler three times.

Shawn Kelley got five outs for his first save. Counting Kelley’s four strikeouts, Washington finished with 16 Ks.

Wilson Ramos hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning for the NL East-leading Nationals, who have won four straight and seven of eight.

Russell’s fifth home run was the lone highlight for the Cubs, who committed two errors to up their total to nine over the past three games.

Kyle Hendricks (4-6) gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. It was the first time in six starts he allowed more than five hits.

The Nationals went up 1-0 with an unearned run in the third, courtesy of an overthrow from center field to third base by Fowler.

After Russell tied it in the sixth, Ramos connected in the bottom half and Danny Espinosa and Ben Revere added RBI singles.

When Nationals manager Dusty Baker arrived in Washington, he heard plenty about the uneven temperament of pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Turns out, the right-hander is nothing like that.

“It’s hard to tell when he’s happy or sad,” Baker said. “He’s pleasantly boring.”

Nationals righty Matt Belisle, who’s been on the DL since April 27 with a strained right calf, has pitched in nine games for Triple-A Syracuse through Sunday as part of a lengthy rehab assignment. He’s got a 4.09 ERA over 11 innings.

The Cubs‘ John Lackey (7-2, 2.63 ERA) makes his 400th career start Tuesday night in the second game of the series. The 37-year-old has been around so long, his history against the Nationals franchise dates back to June 5, 2003, when he faced Montreal as a member of the Anaheim Angels.

The Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez (3-5, 3.93) looks to break a four-game losing streak.


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