One hit (batter) away from perfection

Max Scherzer retired the first 26 Pittsburgh Pirates batters he faced Saturday before hitting Jose Tabata with two outs in the ninth inning to end his perfect game bid. However, he did recover and retire the final Pirates batter for the sixth no-hitter in Nationals/Expos history. Here’s a look at Scherzer’s no-hitter, which comes on the heels of his 16-strikeout complete game just six days ago.


Scherzer became just the 13th pitcher in MLB history to lose a perfect game bid with two outs in the ninth inning, and just the second to do so by hitting a batter -- joining the San Francisco Giants’ George Wiltse, who hit the Philadelphia Phillies’ George McQuillen to end his bid. Like Scherzer, Wiltse recovered to get his no-hitter, albeit in 10 innings of work.

Scherzer is just the fourth pitcher in major league history to throw a no-hitter in which the only baserunner came on a hit by pitch.


Scherzer’s no-hitter is the sixth in franchise history and also marks the first time in Nationals/Expos history that no-hitters were thrown in consecutive seasons, with Jordan Zimmermann recording one on the final day of the regular season in 2014. Dennis Martinez remains the only pitcher in franchise history to throw a perfect game, on July 28, 1991, against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

His no-hitter was also just the third thrown in Washington D.C., joining Zimmermann and Bobby Burke, who did so for the Washington Senators in 1931.


Scherzer is the fourth pitcher in the past 40 years to throw a no-hitter in his first season after switching leagues, and all four have come when a pitcher left the American League for a team in the National League East, along with Henderson Alvarez, Roy Halladay and Al Leiter.


Saturday’s no-hitter came just six days after Scherzer shut out the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 16 batters. He's just the fifth pitcher in MLB history to allow one or no hits in two consecutive complete games, and the first since Jim Tobin in 1944.

He’s also just the third pitcher since 1900 to strike out 10 or more batters in consecutive starts while allowing one or no hits, joining Chris Sale in 2014 and R.A. Dickey in 2012.

He also posted a Game Score of 97 in his no-hitter after putting up a 100 in his previous start. He's the only pitcher in the live ball era (since 1920) with a Game Score of at least 97 in back-to-back starts.

**Game Score is a metric created by Bill James that rates how well a starter pitches, based on innings pitched, runs, hits, walks and strikeouts -- 50 is average**


This was the sixth time this season Scherzer struck out at least 10 batters in a game, the fourth pitcher in franchise history to have at least six 10-strikeout games in a season. He joins Pedro Martinez (twice), Bill Stoneman and Javier Vazquez, who was the last to do so in 2003.