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

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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: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 5, Twins 2: The Indians had been looking up at the Twins in the standings for much of the season, but this series seemed like a turning point. Cleveland completed a four game sweep yesterday, thanks to Edwin Encarnacion hitting two dingers and Tevor Bauer allowing two runs while striking out eight over seven innings of work. Jose Ramirez gets special honors for abusing the Twins all weekend long. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and two runs scored in this one. For the series, Ramirez was 11-for-18 with four doubles, two homers, six runs and four RBI.

Rockies 7, Giants 5: Have a day Nolan Freakin’ Arenado. He hit for the cycle, completing it with a walk-off three-run home run off of Mark Melancon, turning a 5-4 deficit into a 7-5 win. The Rockies are in first place and are tied for the most wins in baseball. As for the Giants, they are losers of six in a row, sit in last place in the NL West and have a better record than only one other team in baseball: the Phillies. This time last year San Francisco had the best record in baseball and we asked if they’d continue the even year World Series magic. Now we have to ask whether it’s time to blow it all up.

Athletics 4, Yankees 3: A week ago yesterday The Yankees hopped a flight to L.A. riding high. Yesterday afternoon they got back the plane to New York with a 1-6 road trip behind them. If there was a soundtrack to all of this it was probably “California Love” when they headed west and “Free Fallin'” when heading home. Khris Davis hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the third, right on the heels of Chad Pinder‘s two-run double tied it at two. New York would probably like to forget about California now, but they start a home series against the Angels on Tuesday.

Red Sox 6, Astros 5: Xander Bogaerts hit two homers and hit an RBI single in the seventh — his fourth RBI of the game — to give Boston the winning margin in this one. With the win the Red Sox move into a virtual tie for first place with the Yankees.

Blue Jays 7, White Sox 3: The Jays spotted the Sox a 3-0 lead by the fifth inning, but Russell Martin hit a two-run homer to tie things up in the sixth and Ryan Goins RBI triple two batters later gave Toronto the lead for good. Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer to rub things in an inning later.

Rays 9, Tigers 1: Jacob Faria allowed one run over seven innings and struck out nine, but he didn’t have to be that good given the beating the Rays put on Buck Farmer (2.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 3 HR). Farmer has made four starts this year. In the first two he tossed shutout ball into the seventh inning and came away with wins. In his last two he’s allowed 13 runs in four and two-thirds innings. Steven Souza drove in four. Logan Morrison knocked in three. LoMo is having an improbably good season.

Dodgers 8, Reds 7: Kenta Maeda allowed one run over five and doubled in a couple of runs. Bronson Arroyo allowed five runs over three. It may very well have been Arroyo’s last appearance in the majors. If so, a tip of the hat to Arroyo, who most thought was done three years ago and who had himself a damn fine career. As for the rest of the game, Logan Forsythe and Justin Turner homered for L.A. The Reds almost rallied all the way back from an 8-1 deficit but it was not to be. Cincinnati has lost nine in a row.

Mets 5, Nationals 1: Jacob deGrom allowed one run — unearned — in eight innings, allowing only three singles. He smacked his first career homer to boot. Trea Turner stole four bases in a losing effort.

Cubs 7, Pirates 1: Anthony Rizzo continues to take out of the leadoff spot, knocking three hits including a double and a homer in this one. Willson Contreras drove in three runs. John Lackey allowed two hits and struck out four over six innings.

Orioles 8, Cardinals 5: Ubaldo Jimenez had lost his starter’s job but the guy who took it from him sucked too so Jimenez got another crack at it. Not a bad crack, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks over seven innings as the O’s take two of three from St. Louis. Now to see if he can string a couple together in a row.

Braves 5, Marlins 4: Brandon Phillips hit a walkoff single. He also hit a walkoff single on Saturday night. Phillips is having a solid year for Atlanta, hitting .306/.351/.431. Not bad for a guy who was picked up a couple of days before pitchers and catchers reported.

Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4: Arizona jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and then blew it. Gregor Blanco tied it back up in the ninth with a single, however, and Reymond Fuentes, who came into the game as a pinch runner in the eighth put the snakes ahead to stay with a homer in the 10th.

Brewers 2, Padres 1: Jimmy Nelson tossed a complete game, allowing one run on six hits and striking out ten. That was his first career complete game in 89 starts over five seasons. Hernan Perez and Manny Pina hit solo homers in the sixth for all of the scoring Nelson would need.

Mariners 7, Rangers 3: Texas beat the M’s by a combined score of 20-6 on Friday and Saturday nights, but the M’s salvaged one here thanks to Kyle Seager‘s three double, three RBI afternoon. Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer off of Yu Darvish in the first as Seattle scored four that inning and never trailed.

Royals 7, Angels 3: Jason Vargas keeps on doin’ the do, picking up his 10th win of the year. Mike Moustakas hit a three-run double and Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer in support. Vargas’ career high in wins was 14 with the Mariners in 2012. This is only the fourth time he’s gotten to double digit wins in his 12-year career.

 

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

White Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: The White Sox extended their winning streak to three games on Saturday, bolstered by six solid innings from Mike Pelfrey and three home runs from Todd Frazier, Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu. Frazier tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning, capitalizing on a fielding error by Josh Donaldson to put the Sox up 4-2, while Yolmer Sanchez delivered a sac bunt for the fifth and final run of the game.

Indians 9, Twins 3 (Game 1): The Twins relinquished first place to the Indians, tying their division rivals at the top of the AL Central standings after their first loss of Saturday’s doubleheader. Jose Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer combined for eight of the Indians’ nine RBI, a performance that was highlighted by Ramirez’s first-inning home run off of Adam Wilk and Zimmer’s line drive double in the third.

Indians 6, Twins 2 (Game 2): After a short break between games, during which the Twins kept busy by signing first-round draft pick Royce Lewis, the Indians cemented their first-place status with another win. Mike Clevinger went 4 1/3 innings before the teams entered a one-hour rain delay, distributing two hits and a run and striking out four of 15 batters. At the plate, the Twins struck first on a Joe Mauer double in the third inning, but the Indians responded in full force, lashing four home runs to gain a four-run advantage.

Rockies 5, Giants 1: Sometimes, it’s not the quality of hits that matters, but the quantity. The Rockies racked up 13 singles and one double during their five-run rout of the Giants, forcing opposing starter Matt Cain to exit after just five frames, nine hits and two runs. Kyle Freeland, meanwhile, went a full six innings for his eighth win of the year, and survived a scary moment when he took a line drive off of his left forearm in the third inning:

Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 1: Jerad Eickhoff was having a pretty good night, all things considered. He outlasted the Diamondbacks’ Zack Godley, tossing six frames on five hits and one run, and appeared to be in line for his first win of the season. That all changed in the seventh inning, when the D-backs pounced on relievers Edubray Ramirez and Casey Fien for a four-run lead that proved insurmountable. With the loss, the Phillies are now just 1-10 in their last 11 games.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2: Ryon Healy may not be drawing the same kind of attention lavished on sluggers like Aaron Judge or Eric Thames, but he’s creeping up on their home run totals after completing his third multi-homer game of the month. He went 3-for-4 on Saturday, connecting twice for his 16th and 17th blasts of the season.

His first home run came courtesy of a 1-2 cutter from Masahiro Tanaka, knotting the score 2-2 in the second inning:

His second, a 3-2 solo shot in the fourth, propelled the A’s past the Yankees with a one-run lead:

Orioles 15, Cardinals 7: Adam Wainwright didn’t stand a chance against the Orioles. The Cardinals’ right-hander issued back-to-back runs to Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo in the first inning, which looked like child’s play compared to the seven-run spread that awaited him in the second inning. Baltimore lost little time establishing a lead, collecting five hits, two walks and seven runs off of Wainwright before he was forced off the mound. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the bullpen fared little better in Wainwright’s absence, handing over another four runs before the game’s 15-7 conclusion.

Dodgers 10, Reds 2: The Reds are 5-13 against NL West opponents this season, thanks in no small part to their current eight-game losing streak against the Dodgers and Rockies. Saturday’s game was the worst of the eight losses, led by a five-run third inning and a rare two-homer effort from Yasiel Puig. With the win, the Dodgers maintained their second-place status in the division, just on the heels of the 45-26 Rockies.

Braves 8, Marlins 7 (10 innings): The Freeze rebounded for another win on Saturday night, an omen of good luck as the Braves stormed back from a 7-5 deficit to clinch their 30th win of the season in extras. More exciting than Matt Adams‘ four-RBI night, Nick Markakisgame-tying double and Brandon Phillipswalk-off base hit in the 10th? This postgame interview with the Marlins’ Dee Gordon, who discussed a potential race against the Braves’ racing phenom… even one without the standard 200-foot head start.

Padres 7, Brewers 5 (11 innings): The Padres prevailed in extras for their 28th win of the season, capping an impressive start by rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet. Lamet fired 12 strikeouts over six innings, allowing four hits and three runs — one of which was an inside-the-park home run by Brewers’ shortstop Orlando Arcia.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Lamet pitched his way into the history books, becoming just the 22nd rookie hurler to set down 12+ strikeouts within his first five career games in the majors.

Rays 3, Tigers 2: A pitcher’s duel can have only one victor, as the Tigers’ Michael Fulmer discovered the hard way on Saturday. He went toe-to-toe against the Rays’ Chris Archer for four scoreless frames, but lost some of his edge in the fifth inning, surrendering an RBI base hit to Daniel Robertson and allowing another two runs in the seventh on Robertson’s second RBI single and a go-ahead base hit from Mallex Smith.

Nationals 7, Mets 4: After going 1-5 in their last two series, the Nationals are back on top with a three-game win streak against the Mets. Another three-home run effort solidified their lead on Saturday, powered by blasts from Trea Turner, Jose Lobaton and Adam Lind and a five-strikeout performance from Stephen Strasburg.

Rangers 10, Mariners 4: The Rangers may still be a distant second to the 46-23 Astros, but you wouldn’t know it by their dominant run this past week. They’re 7-1 against the Nationals, Astros and Mariners, putting up consecutive 10-4 wins in Seattle to stay one step ahead of the third-place Angels. On Saturday, they got things started with a five-run first inning, highlighted by Mike Napoli‘s two-out homer off of Yovani Gallardo:

The Mariners made a good-faith effort to catch up with an RBI double from Taylor Motter and Mike Zunino’s seventh home run of the year, but it wasn’t enough to overtake their rivals, who returned in the sixth with another five-run spread on three homers from Napoli, Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo.

Astros 7, Red Sox 1: The Astros coasted to a much-needed win on Saturday, banking on six solid innings from rookie right-hander David Paulino. Paulino fanned four of 21 batters, holding the Red Sox to just three hits and one run to clinch his first big league win. Helping matters was the seven runs of support he received from a blistering offensive drive, featuring the Astros’ three-run first inning, home runs from Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran and a run-scoring double play by Norichika Aoki.

Altuve’s blast crowned the Astros’ impressive run, measuring an estimated 428 feet and ricocheting off the train in left field:

Pirates 4, Cubs 3: The Cubs took a tough loss to their division rival on Saturday night, one that Jake Arrieta later pinned on the high humidity at PNC Park. The heat caused Chicago’s ace to sweat profusely, making the ball too slippery to find consistency within the strike zone. He exited in the fifth inning after loading the bases on a hit by pitch, and issued two wild pitches during his abbreviated start.

It wasn’t all bad news for Arrieta and the Cubs, however. The right-hander struck out the side in the second, registering seven strikeouts before making an early exit. At the plate, he logged his second home run of the year off of opposing starter Ivan Nova, skying it 380 feet into the left field bleachers to put the Cubs on the board in the fifth:

Angels 9, Royals 0: Don’t look now, but Cameron Maybin has a pretty nifty streak going. The Angels’ outfielder has reached base safely in 22 consecutive games, bringing his season batting line to a comfortable .267/.375/.408 through 224 PA. He kicked things off on Saturday with a first-pitch home run off of Jake Junis in the first inning:

Maybin wasn’t the only Angel to earn recognition for his prowess at the plate. Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 against the Royals and smashed a two-run homer in the fifth inning, earning his 1,865th career RBI — good for tenth-most among all past and present major league hitters.