Scherzer no-hit try into 7th, Nats top Cards, lead NLCS 2-0

ST. LOUIS — Max Scherzer followed Aníbal Sánchez’s near no-hitter with a try of his own and the stingy Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 on Saturday for a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Scherzer didn’t allow a hit until Paul Goldschmidt led off the seventh inning with a single that left fielder Juan Soto played conservatively with a one-run lead. A day earlier, Sánchez held the Cardinals hitless until José Martínez had a pinch-single with two down in the eighth.

Sánchez and Scherzer also began the 2013 ALCS with consecutive no-hit bids of at least five innings for Detroit against Boston.

Scherzer, a St. Louis native who played college ball for the University of Missouri, struck out 11 and walked two in seven innings.

It doesn’t get any easier for St. Louis, either. Ace Stephen Strasburg gets the ball for the wild-card Nationals when the best-of-seven series moves to Washington for Game 3 on Monday night. Jack Flaherty pitches for the Cards.

St. Louis got another solid performance from Adam Wainwright, who struck out 11 in 7 1/3 innings.

But after getting only one hit in the opener, the Cardinals’ inconsistent lineup managed just three hits against Scherzer and the Washington bullpen.

The NL Central champions got their first run of the series when center fielder Michael A. Taylor misplayed Martínez’s pinch-hit liner into an RBI double with two out in the eighth. But Dexter Fowler flied out on Sean Doolittle’s next pitch.

Patrick Corbin got the first out of the ninth before Daniel Hudson closed for his third save of the playoffs. The right-hander was reinstated from the postseason paternity list before the game after he missed the series opener to be with his wife, Sara, for the birth of their third child, a girl named Millie.