What we learned Thursday: Matt Moore nearly makes no-hit history

Giants need Moore to build on dominant performance (1:29)

Pedro Gomez says if the Giants want to be successful in October, the starting pitching has to pick up the slack. (1:29)

As we focus on the playoff races, note that you can always get FiveThirtyEight.com's updated playoff odds report here.

1. I'd say Matt Moore comes up big. As Vin Scully said entering the bottom of the ninth, "Those are the numbers -- not the heartbeats." In his fifth start for the Giants, with his team having dropped the first two games of the series to its hated rival and having lost four in a row and eight of 10 and gone a wretched 25 of 36 since the All-Star break, Moore hadn't allowed a hit. He was trying to become the first Giants pitcher to no-hit the Dodgers since Rube Marquard in 1915. Heck, they weren't even the Dodgers then. They were the Brooklyn Robins.

Bruce Bochy was pacing a rut in the dugout. Moore had thrown 24 pitches in the eighth inning, which brought him to 119 for the game. His career high was 120, back in 2013, before he had Tommy John surgery. In this era of carefully monitored pitch counts, no starter had thrown more than 125 pitches in a game this season. But Moore went out there with a 4-0 lead trying to pitch the 19th no-hitter in Giants history and the team's fifth in five seasons. Kike Hernandez lined out to center field, with Denard Span making a sweet diving catch. Then Howie Kendrick grounded out to third.

Pitch No. 131 to Corey Seager was a curveball low for a ball. Pitch No. 132 was another curve, a swing-and-miss. Pitch No. 133 was a 94 mph fastball in on Seager’s hands, a good pitch ... he swung ... and blooped a single to right field.

"It seems almost unfair," said the great Scully, who nearly saw the 21st no-hitter of his career.

That was it for Moore. Santiago Casilla threw one pitch to close it out.

Just another night in the Giants-Dodgers rivalry. The Giants are two games back in the NL West. We have six more games between the teams before the end of the regular season. The season concludes with the Dodgers playing at the Giants -- in case you want to mark your calendar.

2. Mad Max, home warrior. The Orioles had taken the first three games of the four-game home-and-home set, but the Nationals salvaged a little Beltway pride behind Max Scherzer's gem. He fanned 10 with no walks while allowing just two hits in eight innings. It was his fifth game of the season with at least 10 K's and no walks. Only Clayton Kershaw has more, with six. In fact, the only other pitchers with six such starts in a season are Curt Schilling in 2002 and Randy Johnson in 2004. When Scherzer is on, he's as good as anybody. With a big stretch run and the major league lead in strikeouts, don't forget about him in the Cy Young race.

From Sarah Langs of ESPN Stats & Information on how Scherzer defeated the Orioles:

• Held batters to .077 batting average, his lowest in any game this season

• Third game with 10 K's and two or fewer hits. No other player has multiple such games

• 55 percent chase rate on fastballs, his highest in any game since August 2015

• Did not allow a hit on a fastball for the third time this season

• Used slider 32 percent of the time, his second-highest rate in any game this season. Six of his 10 K's came on sliders

Oh, aside from Scherzer, Trea Turner continued to rake with two more hits, raising his season line to .340/.363/.543.

3. Jarrod Dyson with this week's third "best catch of the season." Kansas City's nine-game win streak was snapped Wednesday, but the Royals beat the Marlins 5-2 on Thursday in a battle of wild-card contenders. Once again, the key was the red-hot bullpen, which tossed four scoreless innings in relief of Edinson Volquez. Kelvin Herrera is now 8-for-8 in save opportunities since taking over for the injured Wade Davis, just like Davis was great after replacing Greg Holland ... which is another reminder that the ninth inning isn't anything special. If you're good, you're good.

The play of the game came in the first inning, when Dyson robbed Christian Yelich of a home run (the first home run robbery in Marlins Park history).

Only 95.8 percent route efficiency? Hmm ... My rankings on the three great catches this week: 1. Billy Hamilton 2. Jarrod Dyson 3. Andrew Benintendi.

4. Of course, Carlos Gomez hits a home run in his Rangers debut. I emailed my editor earlier today: "Carlos Gomez is going to hit .360 with seven home runs for the Rangers in September." I forgot to count August, so it will probably be eight or nine home runs the rest of the season. Considering the Rangers entered the day 21 games over .500 even though they have been outscored on the season, they've kind of been like the old guy with the metal detector who finds a 1716 Peru 8 Escudos Gold Doubloon worth $45,000 buried in the sand underneath your nephew's sand castle.

Anyway, Gomez hit a three-run jack off Josh Tomlin in the second inning, and Cole Hamels made another Cy Young statement with just two hits allowed over eight scoreless in a 9-0 shutout of the Indians. Cleveland's lead over Detroit is down to 4 1/2 games. The Cleveland rotation, so good most of the season, ranks 26th in the majors in August, with a 6.13 ERA.

5. Everyone loses their mind after Dodgers trade .194 hitter. But A.J. Ellis is Clayton Kershaw's bestest buddy. I wrote here why it's a good trade for the Dodgers.