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Max Scherzer had gone more than two months without a defeat.
Now the Washington Nationals ace has lost consecutive starts for the first time
in nearly three years.

Marco Estrada took a shutout into the seventh inning Gabriel
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, Devon Travis homered and the Toronto Blue
Jays beat Scherzer and the Nationals 2-0 on Saturday.

Scherzer (10-3) gave up four hits, including the two-run homer by Travis, in
six innings. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner struck out 10, increasing his
major league-leading total to 152.

Scherzer has 10 double-digit strikeout games this season, four more than any
other pitcher.

Beaten by a two-run home run from San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford in his
previous outing, Scherzer saw this start turn on another two-run homer, with
Travis jumping on a hanging slider in the fifth.

”This is Major League Baseball,” Scherzer said. ”One pitch can cost you a
game. Now I’ve had it happen twice in back-to-back starts. You can get beat like
that. I’ve got to keep executing every single pitch I throw.”

Scherzer last lost two straight starts in a three-game skid in August

”He pitched really well,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ”One

Travis homered for the second game in a row, going deep to right after
Scherzer hit Luke Maile with a pitch.

”He doesn’t make many mistakes so when he does, you’d better hope you take
advantage of it,” Travis said. ”If not, it’s probably the only one you’re going
to get for the day.”

Estrada (4-6) allowed three hits, one a bunt single, over 6 2/3 innings to
win back-to-back starts for the first time this season.

”He’s a big-game pitcher and that’s a really tough lineup over there,” Travis
said of Estrada. ”He did a fantastic job today.”

The Blue Jays posted their first shutout since Aug. 10, 2017 against the
Yankees, snapping a franchise-long 117-game span between shutouts.

Trea Turner hit a two-out double in the sixth, but Estrada struck out Bryce
Harper looking. An exasperated Harper was caught looking again to end the
eighth, stranding a runner at first. Harper went 0 for 4 with two
strikeouts Michael
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, dropping his average to .221.

”What I think I’d like for him to do is maybe not swing so much,” Martinez
said. ”He’s been swinging a lot, and I really think now is the time to take less
swings and just go play.”

Washington has been blanked three times in five games, including Scherzer’s
2-0 loss to San Francisco on June 10 and a 3-0 road loss to the Yankees on June

”It’s surprising but it happens,” Martinez said. ”Sometimes you run into good

Estrada left after Michael A. Taylor’s two-out single put runners at first
and second in the seventh. Danny Barnes came on and needed two pitches to retire
Wilmer Difo on a groundout.

Barnes and Aaron Loup each got two outs and former Nationals closer Tyler
Clippard finished the three-hitter for his third save in six opportunities.


Travis said it can be tough to get a good night’s rest when Scherzer is
scheduled to pitch the following day.

”He’s a guy when you go to sleep at night, you know you’re facing Max
Scherzer the next day and your heart starts to beat a little bit already,”
Travis said. ”You know you’re up for a big challenge. He’s the best in the


Travis was drafted by Detroit, where Scherzer played from 2010 to 2014.
During his first spring training with the Tigers, Travis faced Scherzer multiple
times during intrasquad games.


Scherzer hadn’t given up a homer to a right-handed batter since Giancarlo
Stanton connected for Miami on Aug. 7, 2017.


Toronto has won six straight at home after losing 10 of its previous 11 at
Rogers Centre.


Nationals: 1B Matt Adams was out of the lineup one day after taking a pitch
off his left hand while attempting to bunt. X-rays Friday were inconclusive
because of swelling, so Adams will have another X-ray when the Nationals return
home Monday. With Adams unavailable, Daniel Murphy started at first, his first
defensive action since returning from knee surgery Tuesday.


Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (3-7, 3.63) faces Blue Jays RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-2,
3.66) in Sunday’s series finale. Roark has won just once in his past seven
starts. Gaviglio allowed a season-worst five earned runs in Monday’s loss at
Tampa Bay, his second straight losing decision.


LAST SEASON: 29-40-31, 71 points. Finished sixth in Atlantic Division and
missed playoffs.

COACH: Claude Julien (third season, 17th NHL season)

ADDED: F Max Domi, F Tomas Tatar, C Tomas Plekanec Jerry
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, F Joel Armia

LOST: LW Max Pacioretty, F Alex Galchenyuk

PLAYER TO WATCH: Carey Price. The all-world goaltender could be the
difference between Montreal being one of the worst teams in the NHL and a
playoff contender. He has the ability to steal games and will have to stay
healthy and be at his best to have the Canadiens even dreaming about returning
to the postseason.

OUTLOOK: Absent a heroic performance from Price, the Canadiens are in
rebuilding territory after trading Pacioretty and Galchenyuk and counting on
Domi and a youth movement to generate some optimism in hockey-mad Montreal. It’s
tough to see this as a playoff team on paper, especially with top defenseman
Shea Weber out for at least the first couple of months of the regular


LAST SEASON: 28-43-11, 67 points. Finished seventh in Atlantic Division and
missed playoffs.

COACH: Guy Boucher (Third season, sixth NHL season)

ADDED: F Mikkel Boedker, C Chris Tierney, D Dylan DeMelo

LOST: D Erik Karlsson, RW Mike Hoffman

PLAYER TO WATCH: Mark Stone. Karlsson is gone, Hoffman is gone and the
high-scoring 26-year-old forward is one of the only stars left with the Senators
as they go into what owner Eugene Melnyk is unafraid to call a rebuild. Stone
had 20 goals and 42 assists last season for a team that finished well out of the
playoff race and will have to produce at least that much with less talent around

OUTLOOK: Pain. It’s going to be a rough season in Ottawa and likely several
of them after trading two-time Norris Trophy-winning Karlsson to San Jose for
spare parts, prospects and draft picks. The Senators are in for a lot of losing
and more trades, including pending free agents like Matt Duchene and maybe even
Stone to make way for more teenagers and young players.


LAST SEASON: 49-26-7, 105 points. Finished third in Atlantic Division. Lost
to Boston Bruins in first round of playoffs.

COACH: Mike Babcock (Fourth season, 16th NHL season)

ADDED: C John Tavares, F Tyler Ennis

LOST: LW James van Riemsdyk, C Tyler Bozak, F Leo Komarov, F Matt Martin, D
Roman Polak

PLAYER TO WATCH: Tavares. Even on a team with Auston Matthews, all eyes are
on Tavares after the Toronto native signed a $77 million Lance
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, seven-year contract to play for his hometown
Leafs. He’s a point-a-game playmaker, and with Matthews and Nazem Kadri
following Tavares down the middle of the lineup, Toronto has arguably the best
center depth in the league.

OUTLOOK: The Maple Leafs are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for the first
time in the salary-cap era that began in 2005. The goaltending of Frederik
Andersen has to be on point, and the suspect defense has to perform, but Toronto
should make the playoffs easily and could become the first Canadian-based team
in the final since Vancouver in 2011.


LAST SEASON: 52-20-10, 114 points. Finished second in Central Division. Lost
to Vegas Golden Knights in Western Conference final.

COACH: Paul Maurice (Sixth season, 21st NHL season)

ADDED: G Laurent Brossoit

LOST: C Paul Stastny, F Matt Hendricks, F Joel Armia, G Steve Mason

PLAYER TO WATCH: RW Patrik Laine. The Finnish phenom’s 44 goals were second
in the NHL last season to Alex Ovechkin‘ 49, and he’s only 20 years old. Maurice
thinks Laine’s game is becoming more mature and well-rounded, and it has to be
to carry the Jets back to title-contending status. Laine also could score
40-plus goals again because his shot is just that wicked.

OUTLOOK: Winnipeg has been on the rise in recent seasons and should be even
better after its playoff run ended in the West final in five games. With Mark
Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little and Dustin Byfuglien still in their
primes, and Laine, Nikolai Ehlers, Joshua Morrissey and goaltender Connor
Hellebuyck still improving, the Jets are among the favorites to come out of the
West — if they can get past Nashville again.


LAST SEASON: 37-35-10, 84 points. Finished fifth in Pacific Division and
missed playoffs.

COACH: Bill Peters (first season, fifth NHL season)

ADDED: F James Neal Redskins Cheap Jerseys , D
Noah Hanifin, F Elias Lindholm

LOST: D Dougie Hamilton, F Micheal Ferland, RW Troy Brouwer

PLAYER TO WATCH: LW Johnny Gaudreau. Calgary’s top line of Gaudreau, center
Sean Monahan and anyone on right wing can be one of the best in the NHL. The
5-foot-9 playmaker from South Jersey is primed for another big season after
putting up 84 points in 80 games. It’s no exaggeration to say he has become one
of the best players in hockey.

OUTLOOK: The Flames should be much improved after firing coach Glen Gulutzan,
replacing him with Peters, trading Hamilton and Ferland to Carolina for Hanifin
and Lindholm and signing Neal. Captain Mark Giordano can go back to playing with
old defense partner T.J. Brodie on a deep blue line. Calgary’s playoff hopes
rest on veteran goaltender Mike Smith in net, or, if he falters, 24-year-old Jon


LAST SEASON: 36-40-6, 78 points. Finished sixth in Pacific Division and
missed playoffs.

COACH: Todd McLellan (Fourth season, 11th NHL season)

ADDED: D Jakub Jerabek, G Mikko Koskinen

LOST: D Eric Gryba

PLAYER TO WATCH: C Connor McDavid. Last season’s Art Ross Trophy winner with
a league-high 108 points, McDavid also won the Ted Lindsay Award as the most
outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA. McDavid is the fastest, most dynamic
and best player in hockey and is must-see entertainment every time he steps on
the ice. Watch him as muc Cincinnati Bengals

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