Nationals take 2-0 lead in NLCS with 3-1 win over Cardinals

Ashley Varela
NBC Sports

Backed by six no-hit innings from Max Scherzer and several well-placed hits from Michael Taylor and Adam Eaton, the Nationals defeated the Cardinals 3-1 during Game 2 of the NLCS. With the win, Washington advanced to a two-game lead in the series, with just two more wins needed to qualify for the World Series.

Max Scherzer started the game strong with six hitless innings, allowing just two walks and striking out 10 of the first 20 batters he faced. According to Elias Sports and MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, he became the first pitcher to register five separate no-hit attempts of 5+ innings in the postseason. He lost the attempt in the top of the seventh, however, as Paul Goldschmidt picked up a slider and returned it to left field for the Cardinals’ first hit of the afternoon.

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Despite losing a second consecutive no-hit attempt, the Nationals managed to stay one step ahead of the Cardinals. Michael A. Taylor belted a first-pitch, leadoff home run off of Adam Wainwright in the third for an early lead, and Adam Eaton supplied a two-run double in the eighth to give the club some extra support. That came in handy as José Martínez caused some trouble for Sean Doolittle in the bottom of the inning, delivering a two-out, two-run double to snap the Cardinals’ scoreless streak and bring them within a couple runs of tying the game.

They didn’t quite get there in the end. Patrick Corbin and Daniel Hudson worked in tandem to retire the side in the ninth and capture the Nationals’ second straight win of the series. Per MLB Stats, the win cemented the Nationals’ status as the first NL team to give up three or fewer hits in back-to-back postseason games since the Reds held the Giants to five collective hits in Games 2 and 3 of the 2012 NLDS.

The tide could still shift in the Cardinals’ favor on Monday night, when the series will move to Nationals Park for Games 3 and 4 (and a potential Game 5, if the Cardinals can avoid a sweep). They’ll send right-hander Jack Flaherty up against fellow righty Stephen Strasburg at 7:38 PM EDT.

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