Matt Williams was asked for his reaction to the hit-by-pitch on Pittsburgh Pirates' pinch hitter Jose Tabata that ended Max Scherzer's bid for a perfect game with two out in the ninth inning of Saturday's matchup in the nation's capital immediately after the game.
Washington's second-year skipper declined to comment on the 2-2 pitch from the Nationals' starter that caught Tabata on his elbow guard, but he did say he wasn't about to challenge the call on the field.
"I think that's irrelevant at this point," he said. "The last thing I'm going to do is walk on the field and mess up Max's rhythm. That would be a crying shame. I ain't doing that."
"I know slider is the right pitch," Scherzer said. "I could have gone changeup as well, but the slider just kind of slipped -- not slipped -- but I just didn't finish the pitch and it backed up on me and clipped him. It's just one of things that happened. You just focus on what you can do next, just move on to the next hitter and just go right after Harrison and do everything you can do and just pound him with fastballs and I was able to collect that final out."
While fans were still talking about it for the next 48 hours, Scherzer moved on from the moment quickly and stayed focused on the task at hand, retiring the next batter and completing the first no-hitter of his career.
It didn't take long to move on, Scherzer explained.
"Pretty easy to do," he told reporters. "Probably took two seconds. I realized I lost the perfect game, just move on, finish this thing out."
Tabata was asked about "leaning" into the pitch, but told reporters, including NatsInsider.com's Chase Hughes that he just thought it was a slider inside that didn't break.
"When I see that, I was like ‘wow,'" he said. "It got me in the elbow. I had a protector on the elbow. I know he tried to throw me a slider or something inside. But the slider was not broken, there was no break on it. It was right there and he got me."
After the outing, the on-field celebration, a quick shower to get the chocolate syrup off, and his meeting with reporters, Scherzer called in to MLB Network Radio to talk about what he'd just accomplished.
The hosts too wondered how he moved on from the HBP to focus on locking down the fourth no-hitter in D.C. baseball history.
"You just take two seconds to reset and just focus on the next better," Scherzer said.
"You've got Harrison up so it's just get him out as quick as possible. Be aggressive right at him, nothing's changed. So it just takes two seconds to reset. Any more than that and you've got a negative thought and it's only going to make you worse."
Scherzer was also clearly able to get over the disappointment of losing the perfect game too, and he had no issue with Tabata.
"It was a slider that was in," he said. "I kind of lost a little control over it. It backed up on me. I have no qualms about it whatever, that's just baseball. He did what he needed to do. Kudos to him, actually."
The first chance they got, in Sunday's series finale with the Pirates, fans in the nation's capital let Tabata know what they thought: