WASHINGTON (AP) Neither of the past two NL Cy Young Award winners had his best stuff, though Max Scherzer handled things much better than Jake Arrieta.
Scherzer allowed one run and two hits as the Washington Nationals knocked Arrieta out in the fifth inning on the way to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night. While Arrieta was slow to the plate and allowed seven stolen bases, Scherzer (9-5) threw a strong six innings, striking out six with no walks and retiring 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.
''I didn't really have great fastball command tonight, but I was able to use my offspeed to kind of collect outs when I needed to and I didn't walk anybody,'' said Scherzer, who allowed an earned run in the first inning for the first time since April but was in command the rest of the night. ''When we needed shutdown innings we got them.''
Arrieta (7-6), on the other hand, struggled with his control as he issued a season-high six walks and allowed five earned runs, getting the hook two batters into the fifth inning. The 2015 Cy Young winner hadn't walked more than three batters in a game this season.
Manager Joe Maddon quipped that the Cubs ''let the wrong guys on base,'' but catcher Miguel Montero blamed Arrieta for all the steals.
''The reason why they were running left and right today because they know he was slow to the plate,'' a visibly frustrated Montero said. ''It really sucked because the stolen bases go to me, and when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn't give me any time.''
Four of the Montreal Expos/Nationals franchise record seven steals came from speedy shortstop Trea Turner, who Arrieta called a ''factor'' any time he's on.
''I don't care who is behind the plate,'' Arrieta said. ''He's a threat.''
Washington manager Dusty Baker said the team knew Arrieta was a pitcher to run on, and the result was a lot of small ball for a team accustomed to driving in runs with power. Washington center fielder Michael Taylor went 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Scherzer washed out the RBI triple he allowed to Kris Bryant in the first by driving in a run with an infield single off Arrieta's glove in the fourth.
When Scherzer was lifted after 93 pitches through six with a comfortable 6-1 lead, the Nationals' beleaguered bullpen got three clean innings of relief from Enny Romero, Blake Treinen, Oliver Perez and Matt Albers.
TURN, TURN, TURNER
Turner tied the franchise record with four steals in a game, repeating his own feat from two weeks ago. He had a chance in the eighth to break the record and move within one of the most in a game in the modern era of baseball but did not try with Bryce Harper up and a five-run lead.
''I don't think I was held, but I didn't know if I was supposed to go,'' said Turner, who has 32 stolen bases this season.
CUBS GOING TO WHITE HOUSE
Maddon and some of the Cubs will visit the White House on Wednesday, though it's not an official visit with President Donald Trump. Maddon said he was going out of respect for the Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs and donated to Trump's campaign.
''When you get a chance as a citizen to get to go to the White House, you go,'' said Maddon, who called it completely voluntary for players.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks threw from 90 feet and reported no problems with right hand tendinitis. Hendricks doesn't expect to be back before the All-Star break. ... INF Ben Zobrist is continuing the same routine to rehab a left wrist injury, and Maddon said Zobrist hasn't had any setbacks.
Nationals: Baker said RHP Koda Glover (hip) hasn't started throwing yet, RHP Shawn Kelley (back) threw Monday and OF Chris Heisey (biceps) is progressing and could go on a rehab assignment soon. ... LF Jayson Werth stretched with position-player teammates for the first time before the game since going on the DL with a bruised left foot.
UP NEXT: Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (8-2, 3.57 ERA) faces Cubs RHP John Lackey (5-8, 4.74) in the third game of the four-game series.
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