Jose Tabata had a tough battle with Scherzer with two outs in the final inning, fouling off three 2-2 pitches. He would then get hit in the elbow, giving the Pirates their first baserunner of the game. The crowd at Nationals Park were in disbelief, many believing that Tabata leaned into the 86 mph delivery. Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos believes he did, while Scherzer wasn't so quick to accuse Tabata.
Scherzer was just one strike away from throwing the 22nd perfect game in the majors since 1900. It was the 13th time that a perfect game was broken up with two outs in the ninth inning, and first since George Wiltse in 1908 to happen on a hit by pitch. Instead, it turned into the 289th no-hitter in major league history.
The Nationals' ace got Josh Harrison to fly out to complete the no-no, as he ran his record to 8-5 in his first year in the nation's capital. He struck out 10 and did not walk a batter, as the crowd of 41,104 joined the 30 year-old and his team in the postgame celebration.
The closest play to breaking up the no-hitter was when second baseman Danny Espinosa barely threw out Pedro Alvarez on a grounder to end the eighth.
The Nats' right-hander is the fifth player in major-league history to give up two or fewer hits in consecutive complete game outings. His performances were similar to those of Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds in 1938.
It was also Scherzer's third career shutout. He had just one in 210 career starts before these last two outings. It is also just the second no-hitter in Washington's franchise history, as Jordan Zimmerman threw one against the Miami Marlins on the final day of the 2014 season. It's the fourth no-no in the city's history, joining Walter Johnson and Bob Burke, who did it for the Washington Senators.
Scherzer is the second pitcher to throw a no-hitter this season, joining Chris Heston of the San Francisco Giants, who did it on June 9th against the New York Mets. That makes it 11 straight no-hitters thrown by a National League pitcher. Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners in August of 2012 was the last American League hurler to throw one.
"Mad Max" threw 106 pitches, 82 for strikes, in this dominant performance that helped lower his ERA to 1.76.
Bryce Harper was the bright spot of the offense, hitting his 23rd home run and driving in two in his return. Francisco Liriano suffered the loss for Pittsburgh, dropping his record to 4-6 on the year.
The Nationals will look to sweep away the previously red hot Pirates in the finale on Sunday.