The Nationals decided that Max Scherzer with a broken nose and a black eye was better than any alternative — and the ace proved them right Wednesday night.
Scherzer, who broke his nose Tuesday during batting practice, went seven shutout innings and allowed just four hits against the Philadelphia Phillies in a 2-0 win in the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader.
Lefty closer Sean Doolittle got three outs in the ninth for his 15th save.
Washington improved to 35-38 while the Phillies fell to 39-34. Atlanta began the night at 43-31 and in first in the National League East.
In the first game, Washington lefty Patrick Corbin gave up just one run in six innings and Gerardo Parra and Brian Dozier each had homers and doubles in a 6-2 victory.
A three-time Cy Young Award winner, Scherzer bunted a ball into his nose Tuesday.
The Nationals had pitcher Austin Voth on hand as the 26th man for the doubleheader and a possible backup if Scherzer was too banged up to throw.
Wander Suero pitched a scoreless eighth for the Nationals.
Dozier also homered in the nightcap, as his solo shot in the second gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead against Jake Arrieta. It was the 12th homer of the year for Dozier — the same as Bryce Harper.
Victor Robles hit a solo homer off Pat Neshek in the eighth for a 2-0 lead. Neshek left the game with an injury a few pitches later.
Harper, in his fourth game at Nationals Park as a visiting player, flew out to left off Scherzer in the first, and walked in the third and fifth. Suero retired him in the eighth.
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