Alex Gordon would have been a dead duck had he tried to score

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When Alex Gordon’s drive to left-center with two outs in the ninth was misplayed twice, it certainly seemed as if the potential was there for a game-tying inside-the-park home run off Madison Bumgarner. But it simply wasn’t meant to be.

Gordon got the stop sign to stay at third, and it was for the best. Here’s the video:

The most telling screencap is this one:

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Juan Perez has the ball at that point and is ready to uncork his throw. Gordon is still just shy of halfway between second and third.

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Brandon Crawford now has the ball in shallow left. Gordon only found out he had the stop sign a second before this, so it’s not like he would have had picked up more than another step had had been busting it.

Of course, Crawford could have made a poor throw home. But he wasn’t rushed, and he has an excellent arm. With any sort of decent throw, it’s not even a close play at home. You could still argue that forcing the Giants to make the relay still might have been a higher-percentage play than counting on Salvador Perez to extend the game, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. But it was a low-percentage play either way.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.