WASHINGTON (AP) – Max Scherzer sustained a dominant stretch with seven strong innings, Kurt Suzuki homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 on Saturday.
The NL pitcher of the month for June, Scherzer (9-5) allowed four hits and struck out 11 with one walk in his final start before heading to Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
He struck out the side in the seventh.
Scherzer has won seven straight starts and has an 0.84 ERA over his last nine appearances.
He returned from the paternity list following the birth of his daughter Thursday to help Washington win for the ninth time in 11 games.
Both teams wore throwback uniforms in celebration of their franchise’s 50 years since joining Major League Baseball in 1969, with the Nationals wearing the powder blue uniforms of the Montreal Expos.
Kansas City starter Glenn Sparkman (2-5) gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings.
Alex Gordon had two hits and a walk for the Royals, who have lost eight of 10.
With Washington leading 1-0, Matt Adams walked leading off the second and Suzuki followed with his 11th homer of the season.
Juan Soto had two RBI singles.
Hall of Famer and former Expo Vladimir Guerrero threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
It wasn’t the first time in an Expos uniform for Nationals manager Dave Martinez, who caught Guerrero’s pitch, and third base coach Bobby Henley. Martinez hit .279 over 3 1/2 seasons with Montreal, and Henley was a teammate of Guerrero’s on the 1998 Expos.
Expos highlights were shown between innings.
Scherzer stole his first base of the season and second of his career after a single in the fourth.
He was then caught too far off second on Trea Turner’s grounder to third for a fielder’s choice.
Kansas City CF Whit Merrifield recorded his 100th career steal when he swiped second in the first inning.
He’s the sixth fastest player in Royals history to reach that mark, doing it in 474 games. Tom Goodwin was the fastest (243 games).
Royals: Manager Ned Yost said he was without a quartet of relievers following Friday’s 11-inning game including Wily Peralta (who pitched in four out of past five games), Jake Newberry (three out of four), Kevin McCarthy (51 pitches in the past three days) and Ian Kennedy (49 pitches in two days).
Nationals: Martinez said 1B Ryan Zimmerman was “normally sore” coming out of Friday’s game and was given the day off.
Martinez said Scherzer will get some extra time off after the All-Star break and won’t make his next start until Sunday, July 14.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (4-8, 5.53) is winless since May 30. He received one run of support or less in four of his past six outings. He’s never faced the Nationals.
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.55) has a 1.29 ERA with 24 strikeouts, four walks and a .181 opponents’ batting average over his past three starts.