Scherzer's turn to flirt with no-hitter as Nationals beat Cards 3-1

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Washington's Max Scherzer became the second pitcher to flirt with a no-hitter in as many days as the Nationals stunned Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in game two of the National League Championship Series.

Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and new dad Daniel Hudson closed it out in the ninth to preserve the win for the visiting Nationals, who took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Nationals, who rallied to upset the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers in the previous round, host games three and four on Monday and Tuesday.

The winner of the series will take on either the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in the World Series.

Scherzer's gem came less than 24 hours after Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Washington's 2-0 win in game one.

Scherzer didn't allow a hit Saturday until Paul Goldschmidt led off the seventh inning with a single. Sanchez had his no-hit bid busted up by a single from Jose Martinez.

"I am here to win," said Scherzer. "Right now it is about going out there and trying to win ball games."

Scherzer finished with 11 strikeouts, allowed one hit and walked two and has been pitching on just a few days rest in these playoffs.

"I came in and my arm didn't feel great," he said. "But around the fourth or fifth inning I felt like everything kind of loosened up in my shoulder. I was able to find my arm slot and I was driving my fastball into locations where I wanted."

Cardinals ace Wainwright also fanned 11 batters as he allowed seven hits in 7 1/3 innings.

Right hander Hudson closed it out for his third save of the post-season. He missed the series opener to be with his wife, Sara, for the birth of their third child, a girl.