Padres rally to overcome Scherzer, Nationals

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Colin Rea of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at PETCO Park in San Diego, California. AFP PHOTO

Colin Rea of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at PETCO Park in San Diego, California. AFP PHOTO

SAN DIEGO: Max Scherzer is one of six pitchers to throw two no-hitters in the same season. He’s one of four to ever strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game. He’d flirted with a perfect game in his last start against the World Series-or-bust Cubs.

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Color Wil Myers unimpressed.

The San Diego Padres’ All-Star hopeful strengthened his resume with a first-inning homer, a double and a stolen base off the Nationals’ $210 million hurler and swatted the game-tying double off Washington’s bullpen in the Padres’ 7-3 comeback win in front of 34,113 at Petco Park.

Really, the only thing Myers didn’t do was connect with Brandon Maurer on a no-look flip on a bounding ball that glanced off his glove and then off Brandon Maurer’s in the seventh inning to allow the Nationals to take a 2-1 lead.

Washington added an insurance run in the eighth only to see its relief corps utterly implode.

Alexei Ramirez and Alexi Amarista singled, Jon Jay walked and Myers doubled in two runs to get the Padres rolling on six-run, eighth-inning rally.

Myers’ first-inning homer followed Jon Jay’s nine-pitch at-bat to open the game, the last a 95 mph fastball that the Padres’ center fielder muscled out to the warning track in left.

Two pitches later, Scherzer’s 94 mph offer caught too much of the plate and then caught a ride out over the wall in right field for Myers’ 16th homer of the season.

Six of those homers have left the yard to the right of center field. Nine of them have come this month, the most by a Padre in a month since Chase Headley hit nine in September of 2012 and more than anyone else in the majors in a three-week stretch that has seen the 25-year-old Myers both overtake Matt Kemp for the team lead in homers and move within three of the major league lead.

That’s not all.

His 17 extra-base hits, 1.228 on-base-plus slugging, 22 RBIs and 17 runs all rank top-three in the majors since the calendar flipped to June.

Coming off the worst start of his career (2 2/3 IP, 8 R), Colin Rea was eager to flip the script Saturday night.

The effort started with a strikeout of Ben Revere to open the game, stalled when Michael Taylor walked, stole second and scored on Daniel Murphy’s run-scoring single and picked up steam again when Myers’ first-inning homer reset the game.

In fact, Murphy’s single was the only hit that Rea had given up when Stephen Drew singled to open the fifth. The 25-year-old right-hander retired seven in a row to get to that point, got Danny Espinosa to line into a double play to wipe Drew off the bases and stranded Revere’s leadoff single off Rea’s glove hand in the sixth inning.

Rea was lifted the next inning after allowing a walk and a single with one out and was charged with one more earned run when Myers and Maurer couldn’t quite connect on the flip on Rendon’s pinch-hit single in the seventh. He allowed two runs on four hits and two walks and struck out six over 6 1/3 innings in his strongest start since flirting with his own no-hitter in early May.

Scherzer, too, settled in after Myers’ first-inning homer.

He allowed a two-out single to Brett Wallace before retiring six in a row before Myers’ third-inning double. Then Scherzer struck out six of the next seven batters, settling into the sort of groove you might expect from one of the game’s best pitchers exerting his will on a team diving further and further toward irrelevance.

TNS

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