TORONTO (AP) — Max Scherzer lost his second straight start for the first time since 2015 when Marco Estrada pitched 6 2-3 shutout innings and Devon Travis homered Saturday for the Toronto Blue Jays in a 2-0 win over the Washington Nationals.
Scherzer (10-3) gave up four hits, including the two-run homer by Travis, in six innings. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner struck out 10, increasing his major league-leading total to 152.
The right-hander, who lost to San Francisco in his previous outing, last lost two straight starts in a three-game skid in August 2015. Travis homered for the second game in a row when he connected in the fifth, right after Scherzer hit Luke Maile with a pitch.
Estrada (4-6) allowed three hits, one a bunt single, to win back-to-back starts for the first time this season. Toronto has won six straight at home after losing 10 of its previous 11 at Rogers Centre.
Trea Turner hit a two-out double in the sixth, but Estrada struck out Bryce Harper looking. An exasperated Harper was caught looking again to end the eighth, stranding a runner at first. Harper went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .221.
Estrada left after Michael A. Taylor’s two-out single put runners at first and second in the seventh. Danny Barnes came on and needed two pitches to retire Wilmer Difo on a groundout.
Barnes and Aaron Loup each got two outs and former Nationals closer Tyler Clippard finished the three-hitter for his third save in six opportunities.
Nationals: 1B Matt Adams was out of the lineup one day after taking a pitch off his left hand while attempting to bunt. X-rays Friday were inconclusive because of swelling, so Adams will have another X-ray when the Nationals return home Monday. With Adams unavailable, Daniel Murphy started at first, his first defensive action since returning from knee surgery Tuesday.
Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (3-7, 3.63) faces Blue Jays RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-2, 3.66) in Sunday’s series finale. Roark has won just once in his past seven starts. Gavoglio allowed a season-worst five earned runs in Monday’s loss at Tampa Bay, his second straight losing decision.
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