WASHINGTON (AP) Let the chocolate syrup flow.
As the Washington Nationals have set aside a slow start and entered Wednesday in a tie atop the NL East, they developed an unusual way to celebrate their mounting collection of comeback victories: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer pours chocolate from a bottle on the player responsible for producing the winning run.
Scherzer, who joined the Nationals in the offseason with a $210 million, seven-year contract, did his latest dousing Tuesday night, turning the goop on Ryan Zimmerman after the first baseman's game-ending two-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning lifted Washington past the New York Yankees 8-6.
''It's just something to top off a good win,'' Scherzer explained Wednesday. ''Chocolate sauce is the perfect topping for ice cream, so might as well top off a game and give that person in the on-the-field camera interview a little something to taste.''
Scherzer, who won the 2013 AL Cy Young Award with Detroit, isn't merely content to drop a dollop of the stuff.
He squeezes gobs and gobs, getting it all over the recipient.
Uggla was the first to get the chocolate treatment, after his three-run homer in the ninth inning helped Washington erase an eight-run deficit for a 13-12 victory at Atlanta last month, seen by many as the turning point for the Nationals.
The Nationals went into Wednesday having won 16 of their last 20 games, putting a 7-13 start in the past.
Zimmerman's hit produced Washington's third walkoff win of 2015, and their 11th comeback victory.
Said Zimmerman, whose homer capped a rally from a 6-2 deficit Tuesday: ''That was a pretty aggressive celebration. But that's Max, so it's good.''
''It tastes good. It's better than a pie in your face,'' Scherzer said, chalking up the unusual way of toasting a victory to ''baseball players doing baseball things.''
Still, certainly quite different from the way Nationals manager Matt Williams remembers things from his playing days.
''It was so long ago,'' Williams said with a grin, ''we did the old `shake hands and go in the clubhouse.'''
Now Scherzer's teammates want to know when they'll get a chance to pour syrup on him.
''I can't wait for that. I hope he throws a no-hitter or does something extraordinary so we can get him,'' center fielder Denard Span said. ''But we've got to come (up with something) a little bit more clever than chocolate syrup. We might have to throw some nuts on him. Some whipped cream. Cherry. Everything.''