By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Max Scherzer struck out 10 over eight masterful innings to reach double digits for the fifth straight start and limited the Mets to four hits, leading the Washington Nationals over New York 7-2 on Friday night.
Matt Wieters and Michael A. Taylor hit consecutive homers starting the third inning against Steven Matz (1-1). Anthony Rendon added a two-run homer in the sixth and had three RBIs, Bryce Harper finished with three hits, including a run-scoring single in the eighth, as the Nationals improved to 5-0 at Citi Field this year.
Scherzer (8-4) won for the fourth time in five starts, starting 26 of 29 batters with strikes. He never threw more than 16 pitches in an inning until the eighth, ending that one by fanning Yoenis Cespedes in an 11-pitch at-bat. Scherzer walked two and threw 118 pitches, his most since May 11 last year, but got defensive help when Washington’s infield turned three double plays behind him.
Jose Reyes led off the eighth with his first home run since May 1, a drive into the right-field second deck, and pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson followed with a flyout to the warning track.
Scherzer, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, reached double digits in strikeouts for the eighth time this season and the 57th time in his big league career, and he allowed four hits or fewer for the 10th time in 14 starts. Jay Bruce led off the ninth against Shawn Kelley with his 18th homer.
New York, which dropped 10 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals, was starting a stretch in which it faces Stephen Strasburg on Saturday and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw on Monday.
Making his second start since recovering from left elbow inflammation, Matz allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and no walks. In his return from the disabled list, he won at Atlanta last weekend.
Matz retired his first six batters _ matching the most by a Mets starter this season _ before Wieters sent a sinker into the center-field seats. Taylor drove an opposite-field drive over the right-field wall three pitches later, the sixth back-to-back homers for the Nationals this year.
Rendon doubled the lead in the sixth with another opposite-field drive to right, his 12th home run this season and the NL-leading 103rd for the Nationals. Harper and Ryan Zimmerman hit run-scoring singles against Fernando Salas in a three-run eighth, giving Harper 51 RBIs and Zimmerman 52, and Rendon was walked with the bases loaded by Neil Ramirez.
Daniel Murphy doubled in the sixth and has reached in all 27 games he’s played against the Mets, hitting .393 (42 for 107) with eight doubles, a triple, eight homers and 28 RBIs.
Nationals: LHP Sammy Solis, on the DL since April 19 with inflammation in his pitching elbow, began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday and pitched one inning against visiting Pawtucket, allowing a home run to Rusney Castillo leading off the first. Solis then got three groundouts around a walk.
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (stress injury to the scapula bone in his pitching shoulder) and OF Juan Lagares (broken left thumb) were put on the 10-day DL. New York recalled INF Matt Reynolds and OF Brandon Nimmo from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Nationals: Strasburg (7-2) has allowed more than three earned runs in just two of 13 starts.
Mets: RHP Seth Lugo (1-0) makes his second start of the season after recovering from inflammation in his pitching elbow. He allowed one run and six hits over seven innings at Atlanta last Sunday.
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