Ryan Zimmerman

Getty Images

Max Scherzer takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning, loses the game

9 Comments

Max Scherzer has been hotter than the sun lately. Coming into today’s game against the Marlins he had won four of his last five starts while striking out 58 batters in his 40 innings. His stuff has looked electric and you get the sense that he could no-hit the opposition any time out.

He looked that way again against the Marlins, no-hitting them through the first seven innings of the game. He struck out ten batters through those seven innings and then led off the eighth by making Derek Dietrich victim number 11. With A.J. Ellis and the bottom of the order coming up after that, Scherzer looked to be in control.

Baseball, however, had other ideas.

Scherzer got two strikes on A.J. Ellis, who hit a comebacker to the mound. Scherzer reached up for it, but only got a piece of it, deflecting the ball upward with his glove. It arced back to shortstop Trea Turner, but slowly. He would’ve had to barehand it perfectly to throw out even the slow Ellis, but he couldn’t get a handle on it. Ellis reached and it was ruled an infield single. It was the right ruling.

That was a nice effort for Scherzer, but the game was not over yet. The Nats only led 1-0 at the time. While Scherzer was up over 100 pitches by then, Dusty Baker stuck with him. Probably because he believed Scherzer had something left in the tank — which was fair given that Ellis did not hit him hard — but also because, one suspects, the Nats bullpen has been extraordinarily unreliable lately and Scherzer was still his best bet to win the game.

Then this happened:

  • JT Riddle grounded out, advancing Ellis to second;
  • Pinch hitter J.T. Realmuto grounded to short. Trea Turner’s throw to first was not great, but first baseman Adam Lind should’ve scooped it up. He didn’t, Realmuto was safe and Lind was charged with an error. It was the right call. Ryan Zimmerman gets that ball. In any event, runners were on the corners, with Jose Urena pinch running for Ellis;
  • Scherzer was visibly frustrated by now, and he was also getting tired. He hit Dee Gordon on the foot with a pitch to load the bases;
  • Then Scherzer uncorked a wild pitch and Ureña scored, tying the game;
  • Giancarlo Stanton singled to left, scoring Realmuto to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Gordon was thrown out on the play after the run scored.

In the top of the ninth the Nats got a single, but that was it. The final batter, Lind, struck out on a called third strike to end the game. The pitch was almost in the right-handed hitter’s batter’s box. Scherzer barked at home plate umpire Dana DeMuth, clearing saying that DeMuth hadn’t called that pitch all game.

Life comes at you fast. One moment you’re five outs from a no-hitter, the next you get the L. Tough break, Max.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
12 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 12, Mets 0; Mariners 5, Tigers 4: It was a huge night for the Seager brothers: Corey hit three homers for the Dodgers, driving in six. Kyle hit a walkoff double to give the M’s the win over the Tigers. My brother and I have never had a night quite that eventful, but one time in 1992 my brother, while home on leave from the Navy, skateboarded down the road in front of our house naked on the very same night I got violently ill after drinking too much Jack Daniel’s (I was 19, so “too much” was “any”) and woke up on the bathroom floor. That’s basically the same thing, right?

Giants 6, Braves 3: Atlanta had a 2-0 lead heading into the eighth, but Julio Teheran ran out of gas, giving up a three-run homer to Austin Slater. Ian Kroll came in after him and gave up two more runs — one charged to him, one to Teheran — and there was no coming back from that. Regarding that homer from Austin Slater: not bad for someone who is obviously a fictional character from a straight-to-VHS 90s action movie. Indeed, I don’t think there is any more of a 1990s name than Austin Slater. That’s the name equivalent of JNCO jeans crossed with a 1-800-COLLECT commercial.

Orioles 6, Indians 5: The Orioles can’t pitch, but when your third baseman goes 4-for-4, hits two homers and drives in four, you have a fighting chance. He also scored the winning run following a double in the seventh. Can Manny Machado pitch?

Angels 8, Yankees 3: You’ll be shocked to learn that Tyler Clippard came into a tie game and coughed up the lead. Shocked, I say!  Here it was Cameron Maybin hitting a solo homer off of him in the seventh. Clippard then gave up a double and an RBI triple. The guy who hit the triple — Yunel Escobar — would then score after Clippard got the hook. The Yankees have lost seven in a row and have fallen out of first place thanks to this loss and . . .

Red Sox 8, Royals 3: . . . this win. Chris Sale pitched eight and a third, striking out ten. Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon each drove in a pair, and recent callups Sam Travis and third baseman Deven Marrero drove in a run each.

Cardinals 8, Phillies 1: You don’t often see teams win extra innings game by seven runs, but the Cards did it. A pitcher’s duel between Mike Leake and Jeremy Hellickson had it at 1-1 at the end of regulation, but the Phillies bullpen — specifically, Edubray Ramos and Casey Fein — hemorrhaged runs in the 11th inning. Stephen Piscotty doubled in two and then Yadier Molina and Tommy Pham piled on with two-run homers.  Matt Carpenter‘s RBI double ended the carnage. Philly has lost 12 of its last 13 games.

Nationals 12, Marlins 3:  Stephen Drew had three hits and three RBI and Ryan Zimmerman drove in three runs with a double and a single as the Nats romped. In other news, Nats starter Gio Gonzalez had a friend sitting behind the dugout who got hit in the head with a bat, but go on and tell me that netting is a “creature of the nanny state,” my dude.

Rays 6, Reds 5: The Rays had a 6-2 lead at one point, but the Reds made it close with three-runs late thanks in large part to sloppy outfield play by the Rays. That sloppy play was by Corey Dickerson, covering center for the injured Kevin Kiermaier, so yeah. Dickerson had some karma to burn, though, as he singled in a run and homered earlier in the contest.

Pirates 7, Brewers 3: Pittsburgh jumped all over Zach Davies in the first inning with David Freese hitting a one-run single, Andrew McCutchen hitting a two-run single and Jose Ozuna hitting a three-run homer. Davis would say on to wear this one — seven runs on ten hits over five innings — but he was a dead man walking after that first inning. McCutchen would later add a homer, giving both him and Ozuna three RBI on the night.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 1Pittsburgh Texas jumped all over Zach Davies Francisco Liriano in the first inning, with David Freese hitting a one-run single, Andrew McCutchen hitting a two-run single and Jose Ozuna hitting a three-run homer Adrian Beltre grounding in a run, Carlos Gomez hitting a solo homer and Jonathan Lucroy and Mike Napoli doubling in and singling in runs, respectively. Beltre And Nomar Mazara would later hit solo shots as Nick Martinez allowed only one run in six and a third.

Cubs 4, Padres 0: Anthony Rizzo was not hit by a pitch in retaliation for that controversial slide during his first at bat last night. I’m glad he wasn’t — plunking dudes is bad form — but the Padres may have been better off if they had hit him. Because as it was he led off the game with a homer, and that homer would prove to be the only run the Cubs would need. Rizzo now has three leadoff homers, which ties him for the NL lead. He has batted leadoff for only seven games. He is 6-for-6 with a walk to open the first inning. Starter Mike Montgomery allowed three hits and two walks in six innings, striking out four.

Twins 9, White Sox 7: Kennys Vargas and Miguel Sano each hit long homers — Vargas’ was ridiculous — as both teams beat the hell out of ineffective opposing starting pitchers in Ervin Santana and Derek Holland.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3: Nolan Arenado hit a two-run triple off Zack Greinke in the eighth inning to help the Rockies rally past Arizona. Carlos Gonzalez homered and saved a run with a diving catch to help Colorado win its sixth straight. Something special is happening with this club.

Astros 8, Athletics 4: Anthony Rizzo may have a nice number of leadoff homers, but he’s got nothin’ on George Springer, who hit his eighth leadoff blast of the season in this one. That helped kick off a five run first. The A’s chipped away at that lead one run at a time, but Carlos Correa‘s two-run single in the eighth and Carlos Beltran‘s homer in the ninth put it away definitively.

The First Base Race Remains Tight in NL All-Star Balloting

Getty Images
12 Comments

The latest balloting is in for the NL All-Star team and the race to start at first base remains tight.

Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has 1,404,251 votes and remains slightly ahead of Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo, who has 1,247,219. Zimmerman is batting .349 on the season with 19 home runs and 54 RBI. If he holds on, this would be Zimmerman’s first ever elected start at first base. Rizzo was the starter in 2016.

The remaining NL leaders include second baseman Daniel Murphy of the Nationals, third baseman Kris Bryant of the Cubs, Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart, catcher Buster Posey of the Giants and outfielders Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon and Jason Heyward of the Nationals, Rockies and Cubs, respectively.

Here are all of the top vote getters: