Max Scherzer started Tuesday night’s NL Wild Card Game for the Washington Nationals and gave up two home runs in the first two innings to put his team in a 3-0 hole. The Nationals got one run back in the bottom of the third and Scherzer settled down to pitch three scoreless innings in the third, fourth, and fifth, but the damage was done.
Stephen Strasburg entered the game for Scherzer in the sixth inning and pitched brilliantly in relief, allowing only two hits and striking out four on 34 pitches to keep the Nationals in the game. Washington took advantage of Strasburg’s excellent pitching with a three-run inning in the bottom of the eighth, taking a 4-3 lead on a two-out bases-loaded hit by Juan Soto that scored the game-tying and go-ahead runs.
The eighth-inning rally came off of Josh Hader, one of the league’s premier closers who had a 2.62 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP, and 138 strikeouts in 75.2 innings pitched coming into this one. The win was Washington’s ninth straight, and it sends them to the National League Divisional Series where they will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in a best-of-five series.