Scherzer exits with side fatigue, Mets fall to Nationals

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NEW YORK – Mets ace Max Scherzer exited with left side fatigue after five sharp innings and 67 pitches and NL East-leading New York lost to the Washington Nationals 7-1 Saturday night.

Scherzer, who missed almost seven weeks earlier this season with a left oblique strain, had his fastball clocked as high as 96 mph. He retired his final seven batters before heading straight to the tunnel leading to the Mets’ clubhouse following the fifth.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner, making his third attempt at earning the 200th win of his career, allowed three hits – including Luis Garcia‘s homer with one out in the first – and walked one with five strikeouts. Scherzer is 9-4 with a 2.26 ERA this year.

The five innings pitched tied a season low for Scherzer.

Lane Thomas hit a tiebreaking solo homer with one out in the eighth off Adam Ottavino (5-3) for the last-place Nationals.

Garcia also doubled twice, then singled in a five-run ninth.

Patrick Corbin (6-17), who leads the majors in losses and has the highest ERA (6.28) among qualified pitchers, earned his second straight win. He gave up three hits, including Eduardo Escobar‘s homer in the third, and walked one with five strikeouts in seven innings.

Corbin has allowed two runs over his last two starts, a span of 13 innings, following a nine-start stretch in which he went 0-7 and posted an 8.33 ERA.

Carl Edwards Jr. allowed a hit and a walk in the eighth before getting Francisco Lindor to pop up for the final out, protecting a 2-1 lead.

Thomas and Josh Palacios each had an RBI single in the ninth and CJ Abrams hit a two-run single.

HAIL CESAR

10-year veteran Cesar Hernandez made his first career appearance in left field and went 1 for 3 while catching the only ball hit to him, Eduardo Escobar’s fly in the fifth. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said he wanted to use Hernandez – who played in just two of the previous seven games – because of his experience against Scherzer. Hernandez went 1 for 2 with Scherzer on the mound to improve his lifetime average against the right-hander to .218.

Hernandez hadn’t played anywhere in the outfield since 2013, when he made 22 starts in centerfield as a rookie for the Phillies.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: DH Nelson Cruz (right knee contusion), who fouled a ball off his knee Friday and left after two at-bats, felt better Saturday and was available off the bench.

Mets: RHP Trevor May (undisclosed) was placed on the IL. The Mets recalled RHP Bryce Montes de Oca from Triple-A Syracuse. . RHP Tylor Megill (shoulder strain) is scheduled to make his second one-inning rehab appearance for Double-A Binghamton on Sunday. . LHP Joey Lucchesi (Tommy John surgery) threw two scoreless innings Saturday in his fourth rehab appearance for Single-A St. Lucie. Like Megill, Lucchesi is rehabbing as a reliever in hopes he can contribute out of the bullpen.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (5-9, 5.29 ERA) is 0-4 with a 7.11 ERA over his last seven starts dating to June 27.

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (13-5, 3.92 ERA) is expected to be activated from the injured list. Carrasco, who suffered a left oblique strain against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 15, threw 55 pitches in a simulated game last Monday.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.