Max Scherzer retired the first eighteen batters he faced before Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder Carlos Gomez dropped a broken bat blooper into short right field for a single that broke up the Washington Nationals' starter's bid for perfection. Gomez, after the game, a 4-0 win for the Nats in Miller Park, seemed almost apologetic for having reached base on the type of hit he did.
"I got lucky, I got lucky," Gomez told reporters.
"I'm happy because I hit it enough, but not really, because when a guy has a game like that, you broke [up] the perfect game and stuff like that, it's... I don't enjoy it. I would enjoy it if I hit a real base hit, because he dealt.
"He pitched unbelievable. He's one of the best pitchers and probably the best pitcher that I've ever faced."
The only other blemish in Scherzer's outing was an eighth-inning walk to Scooter Gennett, who echoed Gomez's sentiments when he spoke after the Brewers' loss, telling reporters, "I really haven't seen anything like it before."
Scherzer struck out 16 of the 29 batters he faced, induced six ground ball outs and gave up just the one hit on the day.
ESPN Stats & Info writers broke down what Scherzer accomplished even further:
"Scherzer had 27 missed swings, the most by any pitcher in a game this season.
He won on the strength of a dominant slider, which he threw a season-high 26 percent of the time. He struck out nine with the slider, four more than his previous career high with the pitch.
Eleven of Scherzer’s 16 strikeouts came on a pitch on the outer third of the plate, or off the outside corner. Scherzer was able to dot that pitch location with a season-high 62 percent of his pitches.
Efficiency was also a Scherzer hallmark. Ten of his 16 strikeouts came on 0-2 or 1-2 counts."
"I mean, he was just tough," Brewers' skipper Craig Counsell said. "You felt like every hitter was 0-2. He'd throw quality pitches. There [were] very few mistakes.
"The first seven innings I didn't really see any mistakes, any pitches to hit, or just very, very few pitches to hit.
"You go up there trying to be aggressive and he makes a really quality pitch. So, your hat's off to him. He was excellent today."
"I just thought I was able to really get my slider going against the right-hand hitters," Scherzer said after he set a franchise record with his sixteen strikeouts.
Just the 10th time a pitcher has had a game score of 100 or better since 1977. #Scherzer— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) June 14, 2015
"I was able to execute it in the zone and out of the zone and [Jose Lobaton] was back there just calling a great game for me. He did a great job of knowing when to sequence it, knowing when to double up, triple up.
"A lot of times I was going with him and it was just working. So that's really, I felt like, the reason I was able to have so much success today."
Counsell said the slider was "was just good." Not like "just good" but, Just. Good.
"We weren't seeing the slider," he explained. "it was just a good pitch today."
The Brewers couldn't touch the slider, Scherzer was painting the corners with his fastball.
"And when I needed the changeup I had the changeup for the lefties," he said.
"I was able to drop in curveballs when I needed to. I just was able to execute every pitch for the most part where I wanted to. When I'm able to do that and you've got a good catcher back there who can sequence it, we get some good plays out there and some timely hits, it's the recipe [for] how to win a ballgame."
• We talked about Scherzer's outing, the Nationals' win, Ian Desmond's issues and more on the latest edition of Nats Nightly: