NEW YORK — Max Scherzer struck out 10 and outpitched Jacob deGrom in a matchup of aces, and the Washington Nationals edged the New York Mets 3-2 on Sunday to clinch home-field advantage in the NL Division Series.
Trea Turner hit a two-run homer and Scherzer (16-6) limited the Mets to three hits and one walk over six innings. He leads the National League with 263 strikeouts and ranks second to Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.26) with a 2.55 ERA.
Washington, the NL East champion, will host Game 1 of a playoff series on Oct. 6. The team’s opponent remains to be determined, but the only NL division winner that can finish with a better record than the Nationals (94-61) is Los Angeles.
The Chicago Cubs could win 94 games and the NL Central, but Washington won the season series between the teams 4-3.
New York cut the lead to 3-2 with one out in the eighth on Jose Reyes’ RBI single. After Ryan Madson struck out Brandon Nimmo and walked Travis d’Arnaud to load the bases, Sammy Solis struck out pinch-hitter Kevin Plawecki to end the inning.
Brandon Kintzler worked the ninth for his 29th save in 34 chances combined this season with Minnesota and Washington. The Mets threatened again, putting runners on second and third, but Nori Aoki grounded out to end it.
Washington won the season series 13-6, winning eight of 10 games at Citi Field.
Scherzer’s only costly mistake came with two outs in the first when Brandon Nimmo hit a solo homer to give New York the lead.
Turner connected for his 11th homer in the third against deGrom, putting the Nationals in front 2-1.
With Reyes at third after leading off the fourth inning with a single and stealing two bases, Scherzer struck out the side.
DeGrom (15-10) wasn’t too shabby himself, striking out 11 and walking none for his 11th double-digit strikeout game of the season. He ranks second to Scherzer in the National League with 239 strikeouts.
The right-hander allowed two earned runs in six innings, surpassing 200 innings for the first time in his career. He struck out every batter in the Nationals’ lineup.
After serving up Turner’s homer to left field, the Mets’ ace retired his next five batters, but then ran into trouble in the fifth.
Michael Taylor led off with a single and stole second. He went to third on a throwing error by d’Arnaud and scored on a single by Jose Lobaton.
A HELPING HAND
The Mets announced they will team up with New York Governor Andrew W. Cuomo on the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico. This week, Citi Field will serve as a site where fans can donate supplies that will be shipped to the island to aid with the recovery from Hurricane Maria.
Nationals: RHP A.J. Cole (2-5, 4.43 ERA) will be on the mound for the opener of a three-game set at Philadelphia on Monday. Cole earned his first major league win May 6 with a solid outing against the Phillies, allowing one run over six innings.
Mets: RHP Chris Flexen (3-4, 7.13) starts the first game of a doubleheader against Atlanta on Monday. Seth Lugo (6-5, 5.03) gets the ball in the nightcap as the Mets close their home schedule with a four-game series.