NEW YORK (AP) — Gleyber Torres’ tying single in the ninth inning and a winning infield single in the 11th helped the New York Yankees overcame Max Scherzer’s commanding 14-strikeout performance to beat the Washington Nationals 4-3 Saturday.
Scherzer allowed two hits in 7 1/3 innings, but the Yankees rallied three times. It was Scherzer’s 100th game with 10 or more strikeouts — Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez are the only other pitchers to accomplish the feat.
Kyle Higashioka’s home run tied the score at 1 in the third, Torres made it 2-all against Brad Hand in the ninth and Mike Ford’s single evened it 3-3 against Hand in the 10th.
With automatic runner DJ LeMahieu on second in the 11th, Tanner Rainey (0-2) walked Giancarlo Stanton on a full count and Aaron Judge on four pitches, loading the bases.
Washington went to a five-man infield, replacing left fielder Kyle Schwarber with Jordy Mercer. Torre hit a dribbler to the third-base side that bounced off Rainey’s bare hand as New York got its first walk-off win this season.
Justin Wilson (1-0) struck out two in a perfect 11th, and New York moved back over .500 at 17-16. Washington fell to 13-16.
In a matchup totaling five Cy Young Awards, Washington built a 2-1 lead against Corey Kluber on Juan Soto’s bases-loaded walk in the third and Starlin Castro’s RBI single in the sixth that followed Schwarber’s double.
New York tied the score in the ninth when Hand walked LeMahieu leading off and allowed a bloop single by Judge and an opposite-field single to Torres.
Victor Robles’ leadoff single against Aroldis Chapman and Trea Turner’s sacrifice fly scored automatic runner Andrew Stevenson to put Washington ahead 3-2 in the 10th.
But Ford, in a 1-for-23 slump, slapped an opposite-field single to left leading off the bottom half that drove in Clint Frazier, who started the inning at second as the automatic runner.
Scherzer was coming off a five-hitter that beat Miami at home last Sunday, a game that he completed in a relatively swift 2 hours, 37 minutes. Less than two hours after the final out, Scherzer made it to a hospital to be with wife Erica for the birth of son Derek Alexander, who joined daughters Brooklyn (3) and Kacey (1) in the family.
Scherzer allowed one walk and two hits to the Yankees, Higashioka’s fifth homer and LeMahieu’s single later in the inning.
Winner of the 2013 AL Cy Young and the 2016 and ’17 NL honors, Scherzer moved into 20th on the career strikeout list with 2,845, passing Mickey Lolich (2,832). He lost his previous three starts to the Yankees, the only time he dropped three straight starts against the same opponent.
Kluber, the AL Cy Young winner in 2014 and 2017, was not nearly as sharp on the cool and at times rainy afternoon. He allowed two runs, six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts.
In a game that started after a 2:25 rain delay, Kluber forced in the run when he walked Soto on a full-count changeup that sailed low with the bases loaded and two outs in the third. The inning was keyed when Ford left first base uncovered to go after Robles’ push bunt, which Kluber picked up.
Higashioka saved a run when he made a low backhand snag of the throw from LeMahieu at third for a forceout on Josh Harrison’s grounder. Higashioka then tied the score in the bottom half with his fifth homer this season.
BACK IN THE FIELD
Soto returned to right field for the first time since April 19 after recovering from a strained left shoulder.
Washington first baseman Josh Bell was appointed player ambassador to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, a position previously held by Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon. Bell will make regular visits to the academy.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen Saturday and is to throw a simulated game Tuesday.
Yankees: 1B Luke Voit (knee surgery March 29) could be activated Tuesday at Tampa Bay. ... 3B Gio Urshela (left knee) is likely to play Sunday or Tuesday. ... LHP Zack Britton (elbow surgery March 15) threw a bullpen Friday that included sliders and is to throw another Tuesday. He’ll pitch a simulated game next Saturday, then start a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment.
RHP Domingo Germán (2-2, 4.32) starts Sunday’s series finale for New York against RHP Joe Ross (2-2, 4.39).