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    hong wei
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    Just stepping into the batter’s box to face good friend and former teammate Max Scherzer was a special occasion for Rick Porcello.

    A career American League pitcher with 35 plate appearances on his resume going up against a three-time Cy Young Award-winner had mismatch written all over it. Instead [url=http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-daniel-kilgore-jersey]http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-daniel-kilgore-jersey[/url] , Porcello hit a three-run double off Scherzer that set the stage for the Boston Red Sox beating the Washington Nationals 4-3 in the opener of their three-game interleague series Monday night.

    ”I got lucky,” Porcello said. ”He got to the top of his windup and I told myself, `Start swinging.’ Then I hit it.”

    Porcello’s first major league extra-base hit came in the second inning on an 0-2 pitch after the Nationals intentionally walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to pitch to him. His .156 batting average and limited hitting experience made it appear to be the right calculation, but Porcello drove Scherzer’s 96 mph fastball over the head of Juan Soto in left center for his first RBIs since 2009.

    ”You don’t hit for an entire year,” said Porcello, who came in with five hits and two RBIs in his career. ”You don’t even know what it’s going to look like once you step in there. I was thinking swing the bat and be competitive up there. You just never know what’s going to happen because you don’t do it very often.”

    Scherzer and Porcello were teammates for five seasons with the Detroit Tigers and are still close. Because of that, Scherzer wasn’t surprised by Porcello’s hitting stroke.

    ”I know he can hit,” Scherzer said. ”Give him a couple sliders to keep him off balance and then was trying to get a fastball up and away and it ran back middle-in. Anybody can hit middle-in. He can do that. I’ve seen him do it.”

    On the mound, Porcello (10-3) struck out five and limited the damage to solo home runs by Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy. Scherzer (10-5) struck out nine and kept the Red Sox off the board except for Porcello’s bases-clearing double and became the 11th pitcher to reach 1,000 strikeouts with two different teams.

    When Scherzer exited the game after 108 pitches, Mookie Betts provided the Red Sox with their insurance run with a solo shot off Brandon Kintzler in the seventh, his 21st home run of the season. Bryce Harper hit his 21st in the eighth, but Boston’s bullpen held on to hand the Nationals their 16th loss in 24 one-run games.

    ”Go out there and try to win ballgames and they all feel the same to me [url=http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-sitton-jersey]http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-sitton-jersey[/url] ,” Harper said as Washington fell to 42-41, seven games back of NL East-leading Atlanta. ”I mean we lose the game, you’re a loser. Win the game, you’re a winner.”

    Craig Kimbrel got into some trouble but picked up four outs for his 25th save in 27 chances.

    FIRST-BASE HARPER?

    Harper is doing just fine in center field but on Monday fielded some grounders at first base. It’s just experimental for now but could help the Nationals out down the line.

    ”I don’t ever know if he’ll ever start a game there, but I believe that if we’re in a pinch and we’ve got to make some kind of decisions in-game, he probably could play there,” manager Davey Martinez said.

    PUERTO RICO PRIDE

    Martinez and Red Sox manager Alex Cora were never on the same team but knew each other well from their playing days. They exchanged lineup cards as two managers of Puerto Rican descent in the series opener, a special moment and occasion for them and their country.

    ”It’s good for Puerto Rico,” Martinez said. ”We feel blessed and we’re happy we got the opportunity to do what we do.”

    TRAINER’S ROOM

    Red Sox: RHP Steven Wright (left knee inflammation) received a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection, a day after throwing a short bullpen session. Cora said Wright could return before the All-Star break. . 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee inflammation) will remain in New York all week. . Cora said RHP Tyler Thornburg (shoulder surgery) will most likely be activated from the disabled list during this series.

    Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) took part in a simulated game as he prepares to try to play in a game for the first time since May. … Martinez said C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) will go on a minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday at Double-A Harrisburg after reporting significant progress in the simulated game and could be activated as soon as Wednesday.

    UP NEXT

    Boston LHP Brian Johnson (1-2, 4.28 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three career interleague appearances, faces Washington for the first time. RHP Tanner Roark (3-9 [url=http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-fred-warner-jersey]http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-fred-warner-jersey[/url] , 4.10 ERA) pitches for the Nationals in his first career start against the Red Sox.

    Nationals manager Dave Martinez acknowledged he was looking for someone who could end the game with one swing in the ninth inning Friday night.

    He chose the right guy.

    Pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run that lifted the Nationals past the Miami Marlins 3-2.

    ”Thought about pinch-hitting Michael (A. Taylor). He gets on, he can steal, but then what?” Martinez said. ”So I said, `Hey, we need somebody who can hit a home run right now and Mark is the perfect guy.”’

    Kyle Barraclough (0-3) fell behind Reynolds in the count 3-0. Reynolds, who is 7 for his last 18 after struggling for most of June, fouled off a pitch. The Nationals slugger then sent a fastball into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center for his eighth home run.

    ”If I’m up there and it’s 0-2, I’m obviously not looking to turn on something,” he said. ”I knew 3-0 I was going to take a hack and then (he) pretty much threw the same pitch 3-1 and I kind of got my timing a little bit.”

    Four Nationals relievers combined to allow only a hit and a walk over the final four innings. Sean Doolittle (3-2) pitched the ninth for the win as Washington defeated Miami for the 13th consecutive game dating to last season.

    The Nationals loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, but failed to score.

    Unlike Thursday night when Washington overcame a 9-0 deficit for a 14-12 win, big hits were harder to come by as the teams stranded 17 baserunners.

    Miami starter Dan Straily lasted six innings, allowing two runs on five hits.

    Gio Gonzalez threw 114 pitches over five innings and gave up eight hits and four walks. He was bailed out by three double plays and struck out Justin Bour and Garrett Cooper with the bases loaded in the fifth after walking in the tying run.

    ”I thought our offense did a pretty good job with Gio,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”We just didn’t really capitalize. . Didn’t get anything in the fourth and one in the fifth with chances to do more damage and didn’t do anything right there. I thought that was kind of the turning point for us.”

    The Nationals took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on RBI singles by Adam Eaton and Wilmer Difo.

    WALKING OFF

    It was Reynolds’ second career walk-off home run [url=http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-tarvarius-moore-jersey]http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-tarvarius-moore-jersey[/url] , and first since July 26, 2016, vs. Arizona as a member of the Colorado Rockies. It was Washington’s first walk-off home run of the season.

    FULL EXTENSION

    With two outs in the sixth and Eaton on second base, Difo hit a shot to right-center. Center fielder Cameron Maybin raced to his left and made a diving catch to preserve a 2-2 tie. ”Unreal,” Straily said. ”I saw my reaction and it was one of those things where I was upset at myself for giving up a double in the gap there and all the sudden he lays out and catches it.”

    TRAINER’S ROOM

    Marlins: Cooper (right wrist contusion) was activated from the 60-day disabled list. Miami optioned LHP Dillon Peters (2-2, 7.16 ERA) to Triple-A New Orleans to make room on the roster.

    Nationals: Martinez said RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) ”looked real good” throwing a simulated game Friday and could possibly go out on a rehab assignment Tuesday. … C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) will likely play a rehab game at Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday. … RHP Joe Ross (elbow surgery) threw a simulated game Friday and hopes to rejoin the team in September. … Martinez said the team ”bleached” the clubhouse due to an illness that has affected a few players.

    UP NEXT

    Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-5, 5.55) has a 9.85 ERA in seven road starts this season. Against Washington, he’s 1-5 with a 4.15 ERA over nine career appearances.

    Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (10-5, 2.16) looks for his first win since June 5. He’s 8-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 15 starts versus the Marlins.

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