Scherzer throws second no-hitter this year as the Nats sweep Mets
Max Scherzer pitched his second no-hitter this season for Washington, striking out a team-record 17 and leading the Nationals over the NL East champion New York Mets 2-0 in Major League Baseball on Saturday for a doubleheader sweep.
Only one batter reached base against Scherzer, and that came when third baseman Yunel Escobar bounced a throw for an error on Kevin Plawecki’s leadoff grounder in the sixth inning.
The All-Star righty became just the sixth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a year, and the first since Roy Halladay in 2010 — the former Phillies ace had one in the regular season and another in the playoffs.
Scherzer struck out nine straight batters before Curtis Granderson hit an easy popup to Escobar to end it on his 109th pitch.
Johnny Vander Meer, who pitched two in a row, Nolan Ryan, Virgil Trucks and Allie Reynolds also threw a pair in the same season.
The Mets lost their fifth in a row, having dropped the opener 3- 1. The slide has ruined its chance of getting home-field advantage in the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which beat the San Diego Padres 2-1 later on Saturday.
The Nationals won the opener, 3-1, when Bryce Harper hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth off Addison Reed (3-3).
Kyle Hendricks allowed one hit and struck out eight in six innings, and the Chicago Cubs kept alive their hopes to host to the NL wild card game with a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chicago won its seventh straight game behind a stellar effort from Hendricks (8-7). He held Milwaukee without a baserunner until Martin Maldonado one out in the sixth.
The Cubs will face Pittsburgh in the wild card matchup on Wednesday. The Pirates lost 3-1 to Cincinnati on Saturday, leaving them one game ahead of the Cubs, who hold the tiebreaker.
The Los Angeles Angels rallied for five runs in the ninth inning, taking their playoff hopes into the final day of the regular season with an 11-10 win over Texas that again kept the Rangers from clinching the AL West title.
Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson, pitching for the fifth straight day, entered with a 10-6 lead and allowed consecutive homers to Erick Aybar and Kole Calhoun.
Collin McHugh earned his 19th victory, Colby Rasmus homered twice and the Houston Astros beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2 to clinch at least a tie for the American League’s second wild card.
The Astros remained in contention for the AL West title as well
singled with as the league’s first wild card.
McHugh (19-7), pitching a night after teammate Dallas Keuchel won his 20th game, allowed a run and six hits in seven innings to improve to 6-0 in his last seven starts. Jose Altuve homered and doubled for Houston.
Tim Beckham had a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat the ALEast champion Toronto Blue Jays 4-3.
Edwin Encarnacion homered for the fourth consecutive game for the Blue Jays, who fell one game behind Kansas City, which earlier beat the Minnesota Twins 5-1, heading into Sunday’s final day of the regular season. Toronto holds the tiebreaker.
The NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals’ game at the Atlanta Braves was postponed because of rain. A doubleheader has been scheduled for Sunday, the final day of the regular season.
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer #31 celebrates his no-hitter against the New York Mets with catcher Wilson Ramos #40, Dan Uggla #26 and teammates in the second baseball game of a doubleheader in New York, Saturday, Oct. 3.