Scherzer barely misses perfection
Nationals right-hander settles for a no-hitter after hitting a Pittsburgh batter with two outs in the ninth inning.
WASHINGTON — Only one strike from a perfect game, Max Scherzer saw it slip away with a misplaced slider. Or, some thought, a misplaced elbow.
Scherzer lost his bid in agonizing fashion, plunking a batter with two outs in the ninth inning before finishing off a no-hitter Saturday in the Washington Nationals’ 6-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Alet down? Yeah, a little. “I mean there is, just because you’re so close, one strike away from a perfect game,” he said. “But to get a no-hitter in front of these fans, there’s nothing better.”
Pinch-hitter Jose Tabata was all that stood between Scherzer and pitching’s ultimate achievement. Tabata fouled off three 2-and-2 deliveries, then seemed to slightly drop his left elbow and got nicked.
Scherzer grimaced as the ball ricocheted to the ground.
“He tried to throw me a slider inside,” Tabata said. “The slider, no breaking. I stayed right there and it got me.”
Catcher Wilson Ramos had a different view.
“His elbow was a little bit in the strike zone. That’s what I sawin the videos. But it’s happened,” he said.
Scherzer came within one strike of throwing the 22nd perfect game in major league history since1900.
Scherzer (8-5) retired Josh Harrison on a deep fly to left field for the final out and was swallowed up by jubilant Nationals near the mound.
“Pretty easy to do,” Scherzer said of keeping his cool. “Probably took two seconds. I realized I lost the perfect game.
“You just move on. Finish this thing out.”
The 30-year-old righthander struck out 10 batters in his second consecutive dominant performance, and was cheered by a crowd of 41,104.
In his previous start, Scherzer took a perfect game into the seventh inning at Milwaukee and finished with a one-hitter and 16 strikeouts.
MAX SCHERZER acknowledges the crowd at Nationals Park.
PITCHER MAX SCHERZER and catcherWilson Ramos celebrate no-hitter against Pittsburgh.