WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer was dominating for most of Tuesday's game against the Indians at Nationals Park. The Nats right-hander had a no-hitter going for 6 1/3 innings and struck out nine batters before Francisco Lindor broke it up with a single. And before Scherzer knew it, the Indians won
WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer was dominating for most of Tuesday's game against the Indians at Nationals Park. The Nats right-hander had a no-hitter going for 6 1/3 innings and struck out nine batters before Francisco Lindor broke it up with a single. And before Scherzer knew it, the Indians won the game, 3-1.
"He hadn't given up any hits," said Indians bench coach Brad Mills, who managed in place of Terry Francona (illness). "But, at the same time, the guys were putting some good at-bats together that kind of lengthened out his pitch count a little bit. And I think that when the guys started seeing more pitches, they started being a little bit more comfortable."
It all started to unravel in the seventh, when Scherzer followed the first Tribe hit with a throwing error, and Cleveland capitalized with a two-run inning. Scherzer finished with 10 strikeouts and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits over seven innings, walking one, en route to a hard-luck loss.
The Major League leader in strikeouts (208) joined Félix Hernández, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander as the only active pitchers with five straight 200-strikeout seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"On the mound pitching, I threw the ball really well tonight," Scherzer said. "It was the little things that beat me."
• Scherzer achieves one feat, flirts with another
Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer matched Scherzer on the mound by blanking the Nationals for 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and striking out four batters. The Nats had runners in scoring position three times in the game against Bauer. Their best chance came in the sixth inning, when Anthony Rendon doubled to left field, but he was stranded when Wilson Ramos and Chris Heisey grounded out. Washington settled for Jayson Werth's homer off Andrew Miller in the eighth.
"It went from a no-hitter to a loss in a matter of time," Nats manager Dusty Baker said. "We couldn't muster too much offense. We hit a couple of balls hard. ... So it was a well-played, well-pitched game. The Indians just outplayed us tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No more no-no: After Cleveland went 0-for-19 to start Tuesday's game against Scherzer, Lindor ended the starter's no-hit bid with a clean single up the middle. That woke up the Tribe's offense. Lindor made it to third thanks to a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Scherzer, and he scored the first run on Jose Ramirez's RBI double. Ramirez promptly stole third and scored on a bloop single to shallow left from Lonnie Chisenhall, putting the Indians ahead for good.
"He's been doing it all year," Mills said of Ramirez, who is batting .384 with runners in scoring position this year. "He stepped in and he was hitting cleanup tonight for a reason, because of that. He did a great job. And that steal of third there was huge, to be able to get that."
"The pickoff put the Indians in scoring position," Scherzer said. "Ramirez was able to hit a double off me. Then, I didn't pay attention to him when he was on second and allowed a big stolen base. They didn't have to get a hit to score a run. That's the difference in the game."
Ramirez added a run-scoring single in the ninth.
Revere's leaping catch:Ben Revere prevented the Indians from getting their first hit in the sixth inning. Tribe catcher Roberto Pérez led off and hit a deep fly ball to center field. It looked like the ball was going over the fence, but Revere made a nice leaping catch for the first out of the inning. Per Statcast™, Revere covered 110 feet with a 98-percent route efficiency in order to make the running, jumping grab at the wall.
"I said, 'Play the best defense as you can, any way you can help your team,'" Revere said. "Scherzer had the no-hitter going and I was trying to get motivated. I didn't want to be the reason he lost the no-hitter."
"When there's a guy throwing a no-hitter, there's always a great play behind that," Perez said. "Those things happen. He made a great catch." More >
Miller Time: With one out and a runner on second in the seventh, Washington called upon Brian Goodwin to pinch-hit for Scherzer. The Indians countered with lefty setup man Miller, who slammed the door on the potential rally. Miller induced a flyout off the bat of Goodwin, then struck out Trea Turner to bring a halt to the Nationals' push. Miller stayed in for the eighth, allowing a leadoff homer to Werth before exiting with one out. Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen handled the rest for the Tribe.
"It's nice to have those guys down there, the way they're throwing," Mills said. "We didn't have them exactly set up just that way, but that's the way we felt the lineup was set up to put them in the best position."
Missed opportunities: The Nationals went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners. Revere had two of Washington's six hits, while Werth, who extended his on-base streak to 39 straight games with a walk in the first inning, delivered the lone run.
"For me, I want to make sure he doesn't get the win. If he's going to throw a no-hitter, I want to make him throw 10, 12, 14 no-hit innings. The way you do that is keep it scoreless. It was kind of a challenge. Obviously, when you face a guy like that, you know it's going to be low-scoring anyways. I'm happy it turned out the way it did." -- Bauer, on facing Scherzer during a no-hit bid
• Bauer works with new catcher, does just fine
FRANCONA ON THE MEND
Francona sat out the game after falling ill in the hours before first pitch. Mills assumed the managerial duties for the day. All indications after the game were that Francona, who went back to the team's hotel during the game, was feeling improved as the evening progressed.
"I know the doctors checked him out and so forth," Mills said. "They just felt it'd be better for him to probably go back to the hotel. And he did. Knowing him, he was probably really agonizing during the game. But, I think he's doing fine, hopefully. We'll see how it works out for [Wednesday]. Everybody cares about him."
Indians: For Wednesday's tilt at Nationals Park at 4:05 p.m. ET, the Indians will hand the ball to right-hander Josh Tomlin (11-4, 3.81 ERA). Tomlin allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Friday, but he has gone 6-2 with a 3.44 ERA on the road this season. The righty has a 5.70 ERA in his past five turns for the Tribe.
Nationals: Left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who will start against the Indians on Wednesday, has turned his season around after a rough stretch in May and June. In his last five starts, the lefty has a 2.03 ERA. His most recent outing against the Giants was also his best since April -- he allowed one run on two hits in seven innings.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.