WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) – Doug Fister said he really hadn’t heard about the scoreless innings streak being crafted by his fellow Washington Nationals starters.
Fister allowed four hits over seven innings in another superb outing by a Washington starter, and the Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-0 on Thursday for their sixth straight win.
Washington’s rotation has thrown a franchise-record 41 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings over its last six games, the longest streak in the major leagues since Cleveland starters strung together 44 1/3 shutout innings in May 2008.
“Guys aren’t even really paying attention to it. That’s what makes it great,” Fister said of the streak.
In addition to not being aware of the streak, Fister said he doesn’t keep track of the score when he pitches.
‘And honestly when I’m at my best I have no idea what inning it is. I really try and stay simple,” he said. “I want to take things one pitch at a time, and if I get anything bigger than that, I’m in trouble myself.”
Next up is Max Scherzer, who starts Friday at Philadelphia. Scherzer struck out 16 in a one-hit shutout at Milwaukee on June 14, then pitched a no-hitter against Pittsburgh last Saturday, when he had a perfect game until he hit a batter with two outs in the ninth.
“There’s a lot been written,” manager Matt Williams said of his rotation, “We all know that. But they’ve got to out and pitch well, and we’ve got to score runs behind them to get them to this point.”
Fister (3-3) made his second start since a stint on the disabled list caused by right forearm tightness. He struck out four and walked one in his longest outing of the season.
“I wanted to push myself today and skip let me go back out there in the seventh,” Fister said after throwing 111 pitches.
Blake Treinen finished the Nationals’ eighth shutout.
Washington has won eight straight games against the Braves. Ian Desmond had two hits, including a two-run homer, and every Nationals batter had at least one hit.
Braves right fielder Nick Markakis’ streak of 398 games with an error, a record for non-pitchers, ended when he bobbled Denard Span’s first-inning single.
Matt Wisler (1-1), who won his major league debut last week against the New York Mets, allowed six runs — four earned — and nine hits in four innings.
“My fastball command wasn’t as sharp as it needed to be,” the Bryan, Ohio native said. “Balls were staying up.”
Cameron Maybin and Kelly Johnson had two hits each for Atlanta, which has scored 13 runs in its last seven games.
Braves miscues played a role in each of Washington’s rallies.
“We weren’t real pretty to watch today,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Let’s just put it that way.”
Nationals: RF Bryce Harper, whose right leg cramped during Wednesday night’s game, and Anthony Rendon (sore left quadriceps muscle) were both given the day off.
Braves: RHP Williams Perez (4-0), who allowed four runs over six innings in his last start, opposes Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano (4-6).
Nationals: Aaron Harang (4-9) starts for Philadelphia against Scherzer.
POSITIVE SIGNS FOR DESMOND
Desmond began the day hitting .220. “The (homer) the other way and the ball through the middle are really good signs,” Williams said. “It means he’s staying on it, seeing it good. Hope that’ll get him hot and get him rolling.”
Markakis hadn’t made an error since August 10, 2012. He recently surpassed Darren Lewis’ record of 392 consecutive errorless games. Johnson said the streak hasn’t changed the way Markakis plays. “Nick still runs in, charges balls, he still comes in, gets around balls, and tries to get, tries to make the right plays. He’s not laying back,” Johnson said.