(SportsNetwork.com) - Max Scherzer eyes his third straight win on Saturday when the Washington Nationals continue their four-game series with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Scherzer had lost two in a row, but has responded with consecutive wins, including a brilliant effort versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday. Scherzer was spotted 10 runs by the second inning, but it didn't matter, as he allowed only a run and five hits in seven innings to even his record at 3-3, while lowering his ERA to 1.99.
"It was real nice, especially when (Denard Span) leads off with a bomb," Scherzer said about the Nationals jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first. "We put up that four-spot in the first and continue to put up runs in the second to make it a 10-0 game. It always feels good. You're teammates are playing well, and I was able to go out there and do my thing."
Scherzer has faced the Padres five times and is 1-2 against them with a 3.41 ERA.
San Diego, meanwhile, will counter with righty Andrew Cashner, who has lost his last four starts, but has been afforded just three runs of support in that span. Cashner lost in Arizona on Sunday, as he surrendered two runs and four hits - two homers - in seven innings of the 2-1 setback to fall to 1-6 to go along with a 3.07 ERA.
Cashner has given up eight home runs already this season after allowing seven in 19 starts a year ago.
"I don't think I've had a mistake missed this year," he said. "I think the biggest thing today is that my fastball command was good. It's getting better, going in the right direction. But I mean, the run support is out of my control."
Cashner is 2-2 in nine games (4 starts) versus the Nationals with a 3.76 ERA.
Washington won for the seventh time in nine tries on Friday, as Jordan Zimmermann tossed six scoreless innings and Bryce Harper homered while driving in two as part of a 3-for-4 performance in the Nationals' 10-0 rout.
Zimmermann (3-2) allowed six hits and a walk while striking out six. A.J. Cole finished off the shutout with three innings of one-hit ball to cap his major- league debut with his first save.
Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond also knocked in two runs apiece for the Nationals, who are just a half-game back of the New York Mets in the National League East.
"It's huge any time you get support early," Zimmermann said. "You can settle in and just throw strikes."
Yangervis Solarte collected two of the Padres' six hits, as they saw their two-game win streak come to an end.
Odrisamer Despaigne (2-2) was dented for seven runs on 10 hits over three full frames in the setback.
"He just couldn't get anything going," San Diego manager Bud Black said of Despaigne. "He got himself in a hole and couldn't get out.
The Nationals have won eight of their past 12 against the Padres.