- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2019

Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer had an atypical outing while his team lost for the seventh time in the last 11 games, falling at home Friday night to the Atlanta Braves 5-0.

Scherzer, who came off the injured list August 22, went just five innings and allowed seven hits and three earned runs with six strikeouts and two walks while throwing 99 pitches.

It was the first time he allowed at least seven hits in a game since an outing May 27 against the Miami Marlins.

“That is a good lineup,” Scherzer said of the Braves. “I was working behind in the count at times. I have to locate the fastball a little bit better and force their hand a little bit.”

“Now it comes down to location,” he added. “There are a few things I can sharpen up mechanically to make sure that happens.”

Former Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis came off the injured list Friday and started in left field for the first time this season for the Braves.

He was 2-for-4 and drove in a run against Scherzer with a sacrifice fly in the fifth to make it 3-0.

“He has always been a tough at-bat. You really have to execute pitches against him,” Scherzer said.

However, Scherzer (10-6) did not allow a home run for the first time in six outings.

“He wasn’t as crisp, but he battled,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said of Scherzer. “He threw his fastball okay.

He was a tick off today. He gave us everything he had.”

Atlanta (92-57) now leads Washington (81-65) by 9 1/2 games in the National League East.

The Nationals were held to just three hits but still hold the top spot in wild-card race over the Chicago Cubs (79-68). Braves starter Mike Soroka (12-4) allowed just one hit and no runs in six innings.

“He was very effective,” Martinez said.

The three-game series with the Braves continues Saturday at 4:05 p.m. with the finale of

the set is Sunday afternoon at 1:35. Austin Voth is slated to pitch for the Nationals on Saturday, with Anibal Sanchez getting the ball on Sunday.

Washington begins a three-game series Monday at the St. Louis Cardinals.

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