NEW YORK: Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer threw his second no-hitter of the season on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), striking out a franchise-record 17 in a 2-0 win over the New York Mets in the second game of a doubleheader.
Scherzer is just the sixth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to achieve the milestone in the same year and he did it against a Mets team that had already locked up the National League East Division title.
“To throw a no-hitter, sometimes it takes a little luck,” Scherzer said. “I was able to execute all four of my pitches whether I was behind in the count or ahead in the count.”
Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was the last to throw two no-hitters in the same year, in 2010, tossing the first in the regular season and another in the playoffs.
Scherzer allowed just one Mets batter to reach base. Kevin Plawecki hit a leadoff grounder in the sixth to third baseman Yunel Escobar, who bounced his throw to first for an error.
Plawecki was forced out on a grounder by pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy and Scherzer ended the inning by striking out right fielder Curtis Granderson.
Scherzer walked none and struck out nine in a row between the sixth and ninth innings. He got to a three-ball count just twice.
Scherzer also tossed a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 20. And just like that one Scherzer retired the first 26 batters he faced. He struck Pirates pinch-hitter Jose Tabata with a pitch as he missed perfection by one batter.
“These things are special,” Scherzer said. “To do it twice in one season, my gosh, it doesn’t seem possible.”
Nolan Ryan was the previous pitcher to achieve the feat in the regular season, in 1973. Virgil Trucks (1952) and Allie Rey¬nolds (1951) also did it and Johnny Vander Meer threw no-hitters in consecutive starts in 1938.
“If you want to be a dominant pitcher, you look at what you can control,” said Scherzer.
“When you’re able to get out there and punch guys out and not walk anybody, that’s what you have control over. And that’s what I’m proud about.”