Max Scherzer Struggles Early, Nats defeat Astros 4-2

Despite having a 37-pitch first inning, Washington Nationals’ starter Max Scherzer was able to escape further trouble and helped the Nationals pick up a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee.

The Astros took advantage of Scherzer early in the first inning with back-to-back singles from Jose Altuve and George Springer. They would then take a 1-0 lead when Colby Rasmus hit a single to right and a throwing error by Nationals’ right fielder Matt den Dekker would allow Altuve to score, moving Springer to third and Rasmus advancing to second. After getting into a 13-pitch at-bat with Astros prospect A.J. Reed which led to a fielder’s choice, Scherzer would strike out Jon Singleton to end the inning.

This was Scherzer’s second start of the spring and although he pitched himself into a jam early, he was content with his performance.

“It wasn’t efficient as I would like, but the good thing is that I was able to pitch out of a jam. If everything is just rosy and you have quick innings, you’re not prepared for the season,” Scherzer said after the start.

Astros starter Doug Fister, who is fighting for one of two spots in the back of the rotation, had a good time facing his former team and going up against some familiar faces.

“It’s always a good challenge to face guys that know you and know what you’re going to do, like [Lobaton]. He’s at the plate and knows me well and it’s a challenge. I’ve got to execute, and when I don’t, he does what he did,” Fister said.

Jose Lobaton went 1-for-2 with two runs batted in.

Derek Fisher hit a home run to right field for the Astros in the seventh to cap off the scoring.

Dallas Keuchel will make his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves in Kissimmee while Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals travel to Lakeland for a meeting with the Detroit Tigers.

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