This was a theme around the majors, with some of the best in the game excelling. It was most evident in these two veterans.
Bumgarner continued his dominance of the Mets and mastery of Citi Field (which could loom large if the teams meet in postseason, as some have predicted they might). He's 4-0 with a 0.62 ERA in that ballpark, the best ERA of any pitcher there. His win snapped the Mets' eight-game winning streak.
Bumgarner's fastball showed signs of having the life it has had in previous seasons. He averaged a season-high 90.9 mph with it (he did have one start in which he averaged 90.8). Mets hitters were 2-for-14 with four strikeouts against that pitch Sunday afternoon.
Bumgarner owned the outside part of the plate. Six of his seven strikeouts came on an outer-half pitch.
Scherzer had his best start of the season, seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts against the Cardinals. His fastball was humming, too. It averaged a season-high 95.2 mph (in his previous two starts, it averaged 92 and 94.1).
Scherzer threw 44 of 55 fastballs for strikes. He got 10 missed swings against it, his second most in a start this season (he had 13 against the Braves on Opening Day). Cardinals hitters were 2-for-12 against the pitch with five strikeouts, all swinging.
Let's not forget Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw had already had a few moments of brilliance this season, but Sunday he was in best-of-the-best form. Kershaw pitched a 1-0 three-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Kershaw is the third pitcher in major-league history to throw multiple shutouts with at least 14 strikeouts and no walks, joining Roger Clemens (3) and Pedro Martinez (2). The other time Kershaw had such a start was when he threw his no-hitter against the Rockies in 2014.
Kershaw got 27 missed swings, matching the most by any pitcher this season. The common bond he has with the other pitcher, Vincent Velasquez, is that they both did it against the Padres. Kershaw got 15 missed swings on the 35 sliders he threw. He only has had one start in the last eight seasons with more, against the Giants last September when he netted 16.
Best of the rest
Chris Sale has looked like his old self all season. He became the first White Sox pitcher to win his first six starts since Jon Garland won his first eight to start the World Series championship season of 2005. Sale walked four, but gave up only one batted ball that video-review deemed hard-hit, matching his low in a game this season.
Sale has given up one run or fewer in four straight starts, matching his longest such streak.
Marcus Stroman struck out nine in eight three-hit innings on his birthday in topping the Rays. Stroman gave up a home run on his cutter, the first hit he has given up with the pitch all season. But he also got six hitters out with it (including three strikeouts. Opposing hitters are 1-for-19 with two walks in at-bats ending with a Stroman cutter.