WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer stole the first base of his professional career and allowed only two singles in his fifth big league shutout, and the Washington Nationals ended a five-game losing skid while getting back to .500 with a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
Scherzer (2-1), the winner of the past two NL Cy Young Awards, did not let the Braves push a runner beyond first base. Kurt Suzuki got a hit in the second, and Nick Markakis did in the fifth, but neither advanced.
Scherzer managed to get farther than that: He swiped second after singling off reliever Peter Moylan in the seventh.
Howie Kendrick delivered all the offense Washington needed with a two-run double.
Scherzer struck out 10 and walked none in his ninth complete game in 299 major league starts. And he needed only 102 pitches, a far more efficient outing than his previous time on the mound: He threw 110 over five innings in a 7-1 loss at Atlanta on April 4.
Julio Teheran (0-1) went six innings for the Braves, and the only damage came on Kendrick’s shot that hugged the left-field line with two outs in the first inning. That brought home Anthony Rendon, who also had doubled, and Bryce Harper, who walked.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — In his St. Louis debut, Greg Holland walked four batters in the 10th inning and forced home the go-ahead run.
The 32-year-old Holland, who tied for the NL lead with 41 saves for Colorado last season, was signed as a free agent on opening day. He pitched two innings at Class A before joining the Cardinals earlier in the day.
Holland (0-1) walked two batters to begin the 10th. After a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk loaded the bases. The three-time All-Star closer then walked Orlando Arcia and was pulled.
Matt Albers (2-0) gave up the tying run in the ninth. The Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs, and Dexter Fowler’s sacrificed fly tied it at 4.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jakob Junis carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, Kansas City scored more runs than it had in its last six games combined.
Junis (2-0) hit three batters and walked two, but the quick-working right-hander did not allow a hit until Daniel Vogelbach’s grounder up the middle with one out in the seventh.
ASTROS 2, TWINS 0
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Justin Verlander struck out nine over seven dominant innings, and Carlos Correa had two hits and scored twice.
Verlander (2-0) was in control throughout on a chilly night with a first-pitch temperature of 35 degrees. The right-hander gave up three hits and walked one while helping the reigning World Series champions match their best 11-game start by going 9-2. Verlander improved to 11-1 in 14 games, including the playoffs, since being traded to Houston last season.
METS 4, MARLINS 2
MIAMI (AP) — Noah Syndergaard allowed one earned run in six innings and New York won its sixth consecutive game to match the best start in team history.
The winning streak is the Mets’ longest since September 2016, and they improved to 8-1.
Jeurys Familia escaped a jam to pitch a scoreless ninth and earn his fifth save, most in the majors.
The announced crowd of 7,003 — most of them rooting for the Mets — was by far the smallest in the seven-season history of Marlins Park. The Marlins now announce attendance based on only tickets sold, a change from the previous ownership regime.
BLUE JAYS 7,
BALTIMORE (AP) — Steve Pearce homered in a third successive game, Josh Donaldson tacked on a ninth-inning grand slam and Toronto beat Baltimore before 7,915 fans, the lowest paid crowd in Camden Yards history.
Gametime temperature was 44 degrees, and a slight mist made the conditions even more miserable. That contributed to a dubious attendance record at the 27-year-old ballpark that had held since April 12, 2010, when 9,129 showed up for a game between the Orioles and Tampa Bay.
ANGELS 8, RANGERS 3
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Albert Pujols hit his 616th career homer, Martin Maldonado had two RBI singles along with an evasive move to score a run and Los Angeles extended its best start in more than three decades.
The Angels are 8-3 for the first time since 1987 and fourth time in franchise history. Shohei Ohtani, the rookie two-way standout who was chosen AL Player of the Week, didn’t play a day after striking out 12 in seven scoreless innings against Oakland.
Jose Alvarez (1-0) retired the only two batters he faced after Angels starter Garrett Richards walked the bases loaded with one out in the fifth. Richards also struck out six in his 4 1-3 innings.
INDIANS 2, TIGERS 0
CLEVELAND (AP) — Corey Kluber (1-1) struck out 13, pitching two-hit ball for eight innings and leading Cleveland in snow flurries.
The temperature at first pitch was 33 degrees, one above Progressive Field’s record low set Sunday. There were flurries before the game and again in the seventh inning, resulted in a crowd of 9,843.
Andrew Miller worked the ninth for his first save of the season, getting Miguel Cabrera on a game-ending double play.
PHILLIES 6, REDS 5
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pinch-hitter Nick Williams hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning to lift Philadelphia.
Scott Kingery homered for the first time in his career, and Rhys Hoskins also went deep for the Phillies.
Tucker Barnhart hit a two-run homer for the Reds.
PADRES 7, ROCKIES 6
DENVER (AP) — Pitcher Clayton Richard homered into the second deck at Coors Field and San Diego weathered Carlos Gonzalez’s disputed home run.
Richard connected for his third career homer as part of a five-run fourth inning, driving the first pitch he saw from Jon Gray (1-2) above the Rockies bullpen in right-center. Carlos Asuaje followed Richard with a home run.
Richard (1-1) allowed four runs in five innings. Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth for his third save.
Ian Desmond, Chris Iannetta and Gonzalez homered for the Rockies. Gonzalez’s two-run drive came in the sixth off Jordan Lyles, pulled the Rockies within 7-6 and led to the ejection of Padres manager Andy Green.
RAYS 5, WHITE SOX 4
CHICAGO (AP) — Mallex Smith matched a career high with four hits, Joey Wendle hit his first homer and Tampa Bay stopped an eight-game losing streak.
A bullpen that blew late leads in two of the three games at Boston last weekend got the job done after a shaky start by Chris Archer (1-0). Alex Colome escaped a second-and-third jam in the ninth by getting three straight groundouts, retiring Leury Garcia on a game-ending bouncer to first.