Scherzer comes within 1 strike of perfect game
Washington’s Max Scherzer lost his bid for a perfect game in startling fashion, hitting a batter with a pitch with two outs in the ninth inning, and had to settle for a no-hitter as the Nationals beat Pittsburgh 6-0 on Saturday.
The victory moved the National back to the top of the National League East division standings, while in the NL West, San Francisco beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to trim the gap between the top teams to half a game.
The Chicago Cubs beat Minnesota in 10 innings in their interleague clash, while Alex Rodriguez continued his memorable weekend with five RBIs as the New York Yankees crushed Detroit.
Scherzer came within one strike of throwing the 22nd perfect game — not allowing any hits or walks — in major league history since 1900, and just needed to get one more batter, Jose Tabata. The Pirates pinch-hitter fouled off three deliveries with the count at two balls and two strikes, then seemed to slightly drop his elbow and got clipped by Scherzer’s slider.
Scherzer immediately grimaced as the ball ricocheted to the ground. The crowd at Nationals Park seemed stunned, too, and surely many wondered whether Tabata had leaned into the pitch to get hit.
Scherzer (8-5) then retired Josh Harrison on a deep fly to left field and was swallowed up by jubilant teammates near the mound. The 30-year-old righty struck out 10.
San Francisco’s Justin Maxwell and Brandon Belt hit two- run homers to lift the Giants to a 6-2 win against the Dodgers.
San Francisco’s Tim Hudson (5-6) pitched strongly into the seventh inning and got a key single for the Giants, who have won five straight over their archrivals and nine of 11 this season.
Los Angeles has been alone in first place for three weeks, but San Francisco could reclaim the top spot with a series sweep Sunday.
Chicago’s Starlin Castro atoned for a costly error the previous night with a two-run single in the 10th inning, lifting the Cubs to a 4-1 victory over Minnesota.
Castro’s error at shortstop in the first inning Friday got the Twins rolling to a 7-2 victory, but he made up for that when he ripped a one-out pitch from Blaine Boyer into center field to break a 1-1 tie.
New York’s Alex Rodriguez — a day after reaching 3,000 career hits — contributed a homer and five RBIs to lead the Yankees to a 14-3 rout of Detroit.
Carlos Beltran went deep from both sides of the plate as New York banged out a season-best 18 hits on Old-Timers’ Day to honor former players at Yankee Stadium.
Baltimore ended Toronto’s ninegame home winning streak when Caleb Joseph singled home the goahead run with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Orioles a 5-3 victory.
The Blue Jays fell just short of matching the longest home winning streak in club history; they won 10 straight at Exhibition Stadium in 1985.
With the score 2-2 in the top of the ninth, J.J. Hardy reached base on a force play and Ryan Flaherty was hit by a pitch. Joseph then snapped a 0-for-9 slump with his go-ahead single. Manny Machado then hit a two-run double to pad the lead.
Seattle’s Taijuan Walker struck out a career-high 11 while pitching into the seventh inning to guide the Mariners past Houston 6-3.
Walker (5-6) allowed five hits, and walked none in 6 1/3 innings.
Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith and Mark Trumbo homered for the Mariners, who have scored at least five runs in back-to-back games for the first time in two months.
Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria hit a three-run homer in the first inning to lay the foundations for the Rays’ 4-1 win against Cleveland.
Longoria, who has been playing with a sore left wrist, hit his first home run in ten days. The Rays have won eight of nine to climb to a season-high 10 games over .500 (40-30).
Cleveland’s reigning Cy Youngwinning pitcher Corey Kluber (3-9) allowed four runs in seven innings to suffer his fourth straight loss.
Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons got four hits as the Braves won 6-4 to send the New York Mets to a fourth successive loss, dropping them from the NL East lead.
The Mets also lost catcher Travis d’Arnaud to an elbow injury when he collided with Pedro Ciriaco who scored standing up from a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. New York said he’ll be assessed day to day.
Kansas City’s Kendrys Morales homered on his 32nd birthday and the Royals rallied to beat Boston 7-4.
St. Louis’ Randal Grichuk hit two home runs, doubled and drove in four runs as the Cardinals cruised past Philadelphia 10-1.
San Diego’s Tyson Ross threw his third career complete game to guide the Padres to an 8-1 win against Arizona.
The Chicago White Sox snapped a season-worst eight-game losing skid with a 3-2 win against Texas, with Carlos Rodon pitching six ef- fective innings.
Oakland committed their majors-worst 70th error of the season but still beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1, as pitcher Jesse Hahn worked 7-2/3 innings for his third consecutive win.
Miami’s Justin Nicolino pitched seven innings to win his major league debut and lead the Marlins to a 5-0 victory against Cincinnati.
Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon homered and drove in three runs to help the Rockies end a five-game skid by beating Milwaukee 5-1.
St. Louis Cardinals’ Jon Jay, left, scores past Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, center, as home plate umpire Marcus Pattillo watches during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 20.