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Scherzer, Nationals beat Cardinals 3-1 for 2-0 NLCS lead

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 pinch-hitter José Martínez singled 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.

St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter reacts after striking out during the fifth inning of Game 2 of the baseball National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP PhotoJeff Roberson)

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. Stephen Strasburg gets the ball 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 the Cardinals' inconsistent lineup was unable to mount any sort of threat against Scherzer.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright throws during the fourth inning of Game 2 of the baseball National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP PhotoMark Humphrey)

Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Fans cheer during the fifth inning of Game 2 of the baseball National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP PhotoCharlie Riedel)