Scherzer takes perfect game into 6th, Nats beat Phils 5-2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Max Scherzer has been so dominant that teammates are surprised when he actually gives up a hit.
Scherzer took a perfect game into the sixth inning in his bid to become the second pitcher in major league history to throw two consecutive no-hitters and the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 Friday night.
On a day Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg resigned, Scherzer stole the show.
Scherzer (9-5) retired the first 16 batters before Freddy Galvis doubled on a 1-1 pitch to the right-field wall. The Nationals right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings.
"Once you get through the order first time through, you know you have something going," Scherzer said. "But, it's hard. It takes luck and when you make mistakes, they have to mishit it."
Scherzer tossed a no-hitter last Saturday against Pittsburgh, falling one strike shy of a perfect game before hitting Jose Tabata on a 3-2 pitch with two outs. He threw a one-hitter, striking out 16 in his previous start.
But he couldn't match Johnny Vander Meer, who threw two straight no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds in June 1938. The deepest a pitcher took a no-hitter after throwing one was Nolan Ryan in 1973, when he allowed a hit with no outs in the eighth.
"It's an unbelievable feat," Scherzer said of Vander Meer. "It seems so improbable he was able to do that."
Scherzer has taken a no-hitter into the sixth inning in three straight starts.
"Every time he goes out there, it seems he's going to be perfect," outfielder Matt den Dekker said. "It's fun to watch."
Phillies starter Aaron Harang (4-10) gave up five runs four earned and nine hits in six innings to drop his seventh straight decision.
Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 24 chances. The game ended when Domonic Brown ran through a stop sign at third base on Cody Asche's single and was tagged out in a rundown.
Wilson Ramos drove in Washington's first run on an infield single in the first. Den Dekker hit a two-run homer in the sixth to make it 5-0.
Scherzer singled to extend his hitting streak to six games and scored on Danny Espinosa's sacrifice fly in the fifth. Another run scored in the inning when right fielder Brown dropped Ramos' liner for an error.
Brown hit an RBI double off Scherzer in the seventh and pinch-hitter Ben Revere hit his third career homer in 2,194 at-bats in the eighth.
"He was really good again, complete comfort and dominance," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
Sandberg quit with a 119-159 career record over parts of three seasons leading Philadelphia. His only full season was in 2014, when the Phillies finished with a 73-89 record. Third base coach Pete Mackanin replaced him on an interim basis.
"He wasn't real happy about his decision, but I think he might be a little relieved at this point," Mackanin said of Sandberg.
Scherzer's victory was No. 100 in his career. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner had 82 wins for Detroit and nine for Arizona before coming to Washington this season.
"To be able to win 100 in the show, it's special," he said.
The Nationals had a franchise-record streak of 47 1/3 scoreless innings by their starters snapped in the seventh. It was the second-longest streak since 1961, trailing the 1974 Orioles who had a streak of 54 innings.
Nationals: RF Bryce Harper, whose right leg cramped during Wednesday night's game, missed his second straight game. 3B Anthony Rendon was placed on the 15-day DL because of a sore left quadriceps. CF Denard Span was scratched from the lineup due to back spasms.
LHP Gio Gonzalez (5-4, 4.41) goes for Washington against Phillies lefty Adam Morgan (1-0, 1.59) on Saturday afternoon. Morgan beat the St. Louis Cardinals in his major league debut last Sunday.