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Watch: Rick Porcello embarrasses Max Scherzer with improbable hit

GiveMeSport | Updated: 2018-08-14 19:56:56

Entering Monday’s matchup, the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals were headed in two different directions.

The Red Sox have continued their climb and held the MLB’s best record at 56-29. With an immense amount of talent in their lineup, spearheaded by Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox have also benefitted from strong pitching all season long, most notably from ace Chris Sale and former A.L. Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello, who took the mound on Monday.

The Nationals entered Monday having lost five of their last six contests and 12 of their last 16 overall. Although injuries to key position players certainly played a role, starter Max Scherzer entered Monday with a 2.04 ERA with a ridiculous 165 strikeouts in just 108.2 innings pitched and has singlehandedly kept his team in the game every fifth day.

Therefore, the Nationals needed to get back on track in front of their home fans and they had just the guy on the bump to do just that. To add some more drama to the equation, Scherzer and Porcello are former teammates and good friends, both having played for the Detroit Tigers for four seasons earlier in their careers.

Therefore, some pride was at stake as well.

Unfortunately for Scherzer, Porcello won the bragging rights on Monday.

In the top of the second inning, Nationals manager Davey Martinez intentionally walked eighth batter Jackie Bradley Jr. to load the bases with two outs in order to face Porcello, an American League pitcher who virtually never hits.

In fact, he entered the night 5-for-32 with no extra-base hits and two RBIs for his career.

After getting down 0-2 in the count very quickly, Scherzer left a 96-mph fastball right down the middle. Porcello was ready for it, timed it perfectly and found space over the head of Juan Soto, who was playing in with the rest of the outfield.

All three runs scored and he eclipsed his career RBI mark with one swing. Check out the improbable play below:

Per ESPN’s Stats & Info, it was just the third extra-base hit that Scherzer has ever allowed to an opposing pitcher in 284 plate appearances. It’s also the first time in over nine years that Porcello drove in a run.

"I know he can hit. We played together. I've seen him hit," Scherzer said after the game. "Give him a couple sliders to keep him off balance and then was trying to get a fastball up and away, and it ran back middle-in. Anybody can hit middle-in. He can do that. I've seen him do it. That's where you've got to be better, no matter what. You've got to execute pitches against everybody. Just because it's a pitcher doesn't mean you can ever let up. Not saying I did, but the onus, the focus is on every single pitch. You've got to execute.”

"I wish I had a lot to say, but I don't really know what happened," said Porcello. "Obviously I know he's got a big fastball and I got lucky. He got to the top of his windup and I told myself to start swinging and I hit it. We hit once a year. I'm not trying to get too in depth. If anything, I'm trying to keep it simple and get the head out.” 

Porcello moved to 10-3 on the season in the 4-3 victory. In addition to driving in three runs at the plate, he pitched 6.0 innings and allowed seven hits and two earned runs while striking out five. Scherzer fell to 10-5 on the year with the loss and lasted 6.0 innings while allowing four hits and three earned runs in addition to nine strikeouts.

While Scherzer’s up on the Cy Young count 3-1 over Porcello and is set to make a lot more money than him throughout the course of his career, it was the Red Sox starter who had the last laugh on Monday.

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