Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer threw baseball's second no-hitter of the season after losing his bid for a perfect game in the ninth inning of a 6-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Scherzer retired 26 consecutive batters until he hit Pirates pinch hitter Jose Tabata on a 2-2 pitch with one out to go. Tabata appeared to have slightly leaned in on the pitch. Josh Harrison then flied out to left field on the next at-bat to end the game.
The former Cy Young award winner admitted he was a little disappointed with the outcome.
"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."
Scherzer, 30, was one strike away from becoming only the 24th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game. Dennis Martinez is the only pitcher in Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise history to throw a perfect game, achieving the feat against the Dodgers in 1991.
Scherzer threw 106 pitches, including 82 strikes, to secure his first career no-hitter. The game lasted only two hours and 21 minutes.
Scherzer is the second Nationals pitcher to throw a no-hitter in as many years -- Jordan Zimmermann threw a no-hitter against the Miami Marlins in September. On June 9, San Francisco's Chris Heston threw a no-hitter against the New York Mets.
Scherzer entered the contest with a 1.81 earned-run average, the third lowest in the majors. He improved to 8-5 on the season with the win. Prior to Saturday, Scherzer had pitched only two complete games in his career.
Scherzer joined the Nationals in January, signing a seven-year, $210-million contract following five seasons with the Detroit Tigers.