Max delivers, then heads to delivery room

Nationals ace pitches five-hitter, then immediately joins wife for birth of third child

May 3rd, 2021

WASHINGTON -- had somewhere to be after the game. They were very important, pre-scheduled plans, too. So he efficiently dominated with a nine-inning, one-run victory in two hours and 37 minutes against the Marlins on Sunday, and then he made a quick exit from Nationals Park.

Scherzer’s wife, Erica, was going into labor with their third child.

“After the game, we talked a little bit and he was like, ‘I’m having the baby tonight, might as well pitch like that,’” catcher Yan Gomes said following the Nats’ 3-1 victory and first three-game sweep since Sept. 27-29, 2019.

Scherzer dazzled with a near-Maddux -- a complete game shutout of fewer than 100 pitches. The 36-year-old right-hander finished with nine strikeouts, five hits and no walks while facing 31 batters, just four above the minimum. He needed only 106 pitches (76 strikes) to deliver the Nats to their fourth straight win, moving them to .500 on the season.

A crowd of 8,482 rose to its feet chanting “Let’s go Max! Let’s go Max!” as he caught Corey Dickerson swinging for the final out before he dashed into the clubhouse to get ready to leave. (Scherzer was not available to speak to the media after the game.)

“He’s been an amazing pitcher his whole career,” Gomes said. “It almost comes down to some of these outings, he finds these new motivations.”

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and seven-time All-Star, threw a complete game for the 12th time in his 14-year career, moving into a tie with Dallas Keuchel for 12th most among active pitchers. The last time he went nine innings was Sept. 8, 2018, against the Cubs. Of those complete games, Sunday's was the eighth in which he allowed five hits or fewer.

“Any time someone can bring a kid into the world, it’s pretty cool,” said a rally helmet-wearing , who gave Scherzer offensive support with a three-run homer in the third inning. “For him to go a complete game and pitch the way he did today and then go over and have a baby with his wife, pretty cool day for him. We’re happy for him. He never ceases to amaze, I guess is the best way to put it.”

With this performance, Scherzer made his last start -- seven runs allowed over five innings in a loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday -- a distant memory. He improved to 2-2 with a 2.54 ERA on the season.

“What he did today and what he’s been doing, he’s a workhorse,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He competes every time he’s out there, and when he’s not out there, he’s still competing and trying to get better. He had a great day.

“He picked our team up, and now he’s going to spend some time with his family, which is awesome.”