Max Scherzer smacked his first career home run on Tuesday night in the second inning of the Washington Nationals’ 7-6 road loss to the Miami Marlins, but left shortly afterwards with neck spasms.

Max Scherzer Home Run Nationals Marlins

The NL All-Star right-hander smacked a three-run homer to left-center field off Marlins rookie left-hander Chris O’Grady. Scherzer initially squared around to bunt but ultimately decided to blast a 381-foot shot on O’Grady’s 0-2 pitch to put the Nationals up 4-0 in the top of the second. The Nationals starter left minutes afterwards after wincing in the dugout.

“You know it had to be something for him to come out of a game up six runs,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re just glad it wasn’t his arm.”

Surprisingly, Scherzer credited his neck injury — which was due to stiffness from sleeping uncomfortably the night before — for the homer.

“It actually helped on my baseball swing. I couldn’t pull my head out, I had to just stay locked in, and that actually gave me a better swing,” Scherzer told reporters. “So sure enough, that’s the reason why I hit a home run.”

The two-time Cy Young Award winner added he wasn’t worried about the spasms because he claims this is something that usually just happens when one sleeps in an awkward position. Scherzer said he received treatment for the spasms, although he still felt stiffness when he turned his head to the left as he stepped up to bat on Tuesday.

“Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you have a crick in your neck,” said Scherzer. “That’s what it is. Like I said, I’ve had this in the past. You just have to take your pills, take your drugs, take your anti-inflammatories, get some rest and just get treatment. This will come and go.”

Scherzer also threw a scoreless ten-pitch first inning on Tuesday. He has never missed a start since becoming a full-time starting pitcher. Scherzer, 33, began his MLB career with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 and has been playing for Washington since 2015.

The Nationals (63-42) are already missing righty Stephen Strasburg, who is on the disabled list with a right elbow injury.

Triple-A right-hander A.J. Cole will start for the Nats in their series finale against the Marlins in Miami on Wednesday at 7:10 pm EST. In his first and only start in the majors this season, Cole (1-0, 1.50 ERA) threw six innings of 1-run ball against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Marlins will counter with righty Vance Worley (0-2, 6.42 ERA), who will be making his first start in more than one month. Worley lasted four innings against the Reds on Friday, three of which were scoreless.

The Nats won the series opener against the Marlins 1-0 on Monday. Washington is 13 games ahead of second-place Miami (50-55) for the National League East lead.

MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 01: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals hits a three run home run in the second inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 1, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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