WASHINGTON -- It was not until he started walking off the field toward the dugout that Max Scherzer began doing the math in his head to realize what he accomplished. Nine pitches, all strikes, and three strikeouts, an immaculate sixth inning en route to Tuesday night's 4-2 victory over the
WASHINGTON -- It was not until he started walking off the field toward the dugout that Max Scherzer began doing the math in his head to realize what he accomplished. Nine pitches, all strikes, and three strikeouts, an immaculate sixth inning en route to Tuesday night's 4-2 victory over the Rays.
It was the second time in the Majors this season that the feat has been accomplished as Scherzer joined Kevin Gausman, who did so against the Indians in the seventh inning on April 23.
"Awesome. It's just one of those things, it just happened," Scherzer said. "Just executing pitches. It's one of those things where, hey, it happened. That's more to the preparation than anything and knowing what [catcher Pedro Severino] wanted behind the plate."
Scherzer punched out Johnny Field, pinch-hitter Christian Arroyo and Daniel Robertson all swinging to pull off the feat for the third time in Nationals history. It joins Scherzer's effort on May 14, 2017, vs. the Phillies and Jordan Zimmermann's on May 6, 2011. Scherzer becomes the fifth pitcher in Major League history to record multiple immaculate innings, joining Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax (who did it three times) and Lefty Grove.
• Immaculate innings in MLB history
"He can throw any pitch in any count," Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez said. "He works really fast. It's funny to say, but everybody enjoys watching that guy pitch. Every inning he gets tougher and tougher. He's got that attitude that, 'It's my game.'
"Every pitch he throws is power. Hard slider, hard curve. He threw me one changeup today that I didn't expect. He has a funky delivery, plus good stuff. That's why he's one of the best pitchers in baseball, or the best."
With each night, Scherzer is making his case that he belongs firmly in that sort of elite company, as he continues to make history every fifth day. On Tuesday night, he struck out 13 in eight innings, allowing two runs, to pick up his Major League-leading 10th win of the season. After winning the National League Pitcher of the Month award in the season's first two months, Scherzer is picking up right where he left off to start the month of June.
"It's hard to compare him to anybody really," manager Dave Martinez said. "I'm around him every day. From the other side, you see him, and you say, 'Wow, every fifth day, he's really good.' But to see him every day, he's the best. He really is."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.