WASHINGTON (AP) — A day later, Max Scherzer couldn’t stop smiling.
“I’m doing great,” the Nationals right-hander said the morning after he threw a no-hitter and came within a strike of a perfect game before hitting Pittsburgh’s Jose Tabata in Washington’s 6-0 victory.
“I didn’t get much sleep, but that’s for a good reason, just on a high from the game.”
Scherzer came within one strike of throwing the 22nd perfect game in major league history since 1900.
In his past two starts, Scherzer has retired 54 of 57 batters with a combined 26 strikeouts. He is 8-5 with a 1.76 ERA for the season.
Scherzer’s parents were on hand at Nationals Park on Saturday to see his accomplishment. Brad and Jan Scherzer decided to visit this weekend from Missouri instead of next month.
“It was great to be able to share last night with them as well,” Scherzer said. “That’s what my dad wanted (for Father’s Day). He doesn’t want a tie. I gave him a no-hitter, so he’s pretty happy.”
Scherzer said he received about 120 texts after his brilliant performance, but the ones that meant the most were from opposing players.
“It’s a sign of respect,” said Scherzer, with the ball he threw for the final out resting behind him in his locker.
“I really do appreciate the support.”
Clint Hurdle had offered Scherzer his lineup cards. But instead, the pitcher signed them for the Pirates manager, who plans to auction them off for charity.
Nationals center fielder Denard Span was still marveling at Scherzer. Span faced Scherzer when they were both in the American League. He said that in 2012, his Minnesota Twins preferred facing Tigers ace Justin Verlander instead of Scherzer.
“He was like a sleeper,” Span said. “You overlooked him because of Verlander. Every time he would pitch against us, he would throw seven innings and (allow only) two runs.”
But Span said that Scherzer is even better three years later.
“I haven’t seen anything like that, not that dominating,” said Span, who has seen four major league no-hitters during his eight seasons.
“He very well could have had two (straight) no-hitters. He’s nasty. He’s perfected his craft. He knows what he wants to do. He’s our horse. I’ve never seen any other pitcher work (as hard) as he does.
“He’s working with a purpose. That’s why he’s so confident. That’s why when he strikes out guys, he has his little, I call it old Western, walk with his elbows up in the air. He just has that bulldog mentality. It’s hilarious when he gets in the zone and starts circling the mound.”
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