WASHINGTON — Max Scherzer pitched eight strong innings to become the first 10-game winner in the majors this season, striking out 13 in the Washington Nationals 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night (Wednesday, Manila time).
Scherzer (10-1) won his ninth consecutive decision while scattering five hits and did not allow a runner past second base until pinch hitter Brad Miller's two-out double in the eighth.
Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 16 opportunities.
Scherzer struck out Johnny Field, Christian Arroyo and Daniel Robertson on a combined nine pitches in the sixth inning. It was the third nine pitch/three strikeout inning in Nationals history and the first since Scherzer did it against Philadelphia on May 14, 2017.
Tampa Bay starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-1) gave up four runs in five innings in his second start back from Tommy John surgery.
Washington first baseman Matt Adams' solo homer to lead off the second opened the scoring. Juan Soto then singled, moved to third on Michael A. Taylor's single and slid under Wilson Ramos' tag when first baseman C.J. Cron threw home on Wilmer Difo's grounder.
Soto and Difo were central to a fourth-inning rally. Two batters after Soto worked a walk, Difo tripled to right-center and made it 4-0 when he slid under Eovaldi's tag after a wild pitch.
Ramos, a National from 2010 to 2016, received an ovation before his first at-bat and went 0 for 3 in his first game in Washington since departing as a free agent.
Rays: Placed RHP Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) on the 10-day disabled list. Archer left his start at Seattle Saturday and is making his first career DL stint. "I don't want to put a timetable on it, but I think we're going to see him sooner than later," manager Kevin Cash said. . To replace Archer on the roster, Tampa Bay recalled RHP Diego Castillo from Triple-A Durham. Castillo is 0-1 with a 1.03 ERA and four saves in 19 games this season.
Nationals: Placed RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) on the 10-day disabled list. Hellickson (2-0, 2.28 ERA) left his start Sunday at Atlanta after facing one batter. ... LHP Tim Collins was activated from the paternity list. ... LHP Matt Grace (left groin strain) was activated from the DL. Grace is 0-0 with a 5.06 ERA in 10 appearances. ... RHP Jefry Rodriguez was optioned to Double-A Harrisburg. Rodriguez pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut Sunday. ... Manager Dave Martinez said 2B David Murphy (right knee) will continue his rehabilitation assignment at Harrisburg, while OF Adam Eaton's rehab from a left ankle bone bruise was transferred to Class A Potomac.
Rays: Tampa Bay has not named a starter for Wednesday's finale of the two-game series.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (2-6, 3.61) makes his second career start against Tampa Bay and his first since 2015.