Scherzer sets Nationals record with 16 strikeouts in historic complete-game shutout
Max Scherzer wasn't perfect Sunday, but he was as close as one pitcher can get.
The Washington Nationals right-hander was nearly unhittable against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, losing a perfect game bid in the seventh, setting a personal and team record with 16 strikeouts, and throwing the second complete-game shutout of his career in a dominant one-hit, 4-0 win.
Scherzer retired his first 18 batters with 11 strikeouts on 67 pitches and entered the seventh having struck out six of his last seven. He was perfect through six frames until Carlos Gomez led off the seventh inning with a bloop single into right field.
"I was able to execute every pitch for the most part where I wanted to," Scherzer told reporters after the game. "Why would I be disappointed on a broken-bat base hit? It takes luck to do that."
The Nationals ace allowed just two baserunners during his season-high 119-pitch outing - Gomez's single and an eighth-inning walk to Scooter Gennett - while throwing 72 percent of his pitches for strikes and inducing the most swings and misses (27) by any pitcher this season.
"I wouldn't imagine that that's going to be the last opportunity that he's going to have to do something special," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
Scherzer's only the second pitcher to record a Game Score of 100 or better during the last three seasons (the other coming in Clayton Kershaw's 2014 no-hitter), and just the 10th pitcher of all time with a score of at least 100 in nine innings or fewer.
The previous Nationals record for strikeouts in a game was 14, set by Stephen Strasburg in his major-league debut. The franchise mark is held by Bill Gullickson, who accomplished the feat in 1980 as a member of the Montreal Expos.