Max Scherzer, the Washington Nationals' decorated right-hander, joined some exclusive company Wednesday when he became the fourth pitch in history to notch 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, but the 31-year-old also entered another distinguished club with his gem in the nation's capital.
With his first career victory over the Detroit Tigers - the club that employed him from 2010-2014 - Scherzer is now one of just 17 pitchers to defeat all 30 MLB clubs. The only other active pitcher to do it? John Lackey, the Chicago Cubs' 37-year-old newcomer who joined the club last month after securing that elusive first career win against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Last 5 pitchers to defeat all 30 teams
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In just his second career start against the Tigers, Scherzer - a Cy Young award winner with Detroit in 2013 who notched two no-hitters last year in his first season with Washington - allowed two runs on six hits in his first complete game of 2016. He lifted his club to a 3-2 victory while joining Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood, and Roger Clemens as the only pitchers with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning affair.
Even some of the guys in the opposing dugout enjoyed watching Scherzer.
"It was fun," said Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who, like Scherzer, squared off against his former team Wednesday. "I wish we were on the other end of it, but it was fun. Max had his 'A' game today. It was fun just trying to put up zeros and keep the game close. Everybody knew he was on tonight."
Perhaps the most glowing review of Scherzer's outing, however, came from Nationals manager Dusty Baker, who's been involved in professional baseball for almost five decades.
"That's the best performance I've seen in person," said Baker.