Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth last time out on the mound, and ended up allowing just two hits and one run in seven innings, in which he struck out eleven in a 4-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
It was the third straight win for Washington's right-handed starter, who has put a 1.23 ERA, three walks, 28 Ks and a .156/.188/.273 line against in 22 IP over that stretch.
Scherzer talked after the outing against the Cubs about what was working for him in the 96-pitch start in the nation's capital.
He threw mostly fastballs, 56 of his 96 pitches, averaging 95.8 mph with his four-seamer, up from his average of 94.1 mph on the year.
"I just felt good today," Scherzer said after the win.
"Body felt good, and it was a nice warm day, perfect pitching conditions, so just the arm felt live and was able to use my fastball all day because of that. Was able to really locate well on both sides of the plate and when I'm able to do that, that's typically when I have a lot of success."
The weather is almost always perfect in San Diego's and Petco Park, where the 31-year-old starter struck out 10 in a 113-pitch effort on the mound, but received no decision in what ended up a 7-3 loss when Felipe Rivero blew up in the eighth inning...
Here's how it happened:
Scherzer took the mound with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a two-out RBI single by Daniel Murphy, who drove Michael A. Taylor in after Taylor walked and stole second base, 1-0.
Padres' first baseman Wil Myers tied it up with one swing in the bottom of the first, however, sending a 1-0 fastball out to right for an opposite field home run, 1-1.
Myers' home run was his 16th of the season and his 9th in 17 games in June and it was Scherzer's 18th HR allowed, tied with the LA Angels' Jered Weaver for the most by any MLB starter.
Scherzer settled in nicely after the shaky start, with the exception of a double to left by Myers in the third that almost went out, and retired 10 of 11 Padres' batters after Brett Wallace's two-out single in the second, seven via strikeout.
He was up to 13 of 14 set down and 9 Ks after he added two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 5th.
Padres' starter Colin Rea limited the Nationals to two hits through five, and worked around a leadoff single by Ben Revere in a scoreless sixth.
Scherzer worked around a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning, and was done for the night after throwing 113 pitches total and striking out 10.
• Max Scherzer's Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 Ks, 1 HR, 113 P, 76 S, 2/4 GO/FO.
Rea was lifted with two on and one out in the seventh after a single to center by Wilson Ramos and a walk by Stephen Drew, and with two out in the inning, Anthony Rendon sent a grounder to first that bounced off a diving Myers' glove.
Myers' recovered the ball, but his toss to covering pitcher Brandon Mauer bounced off the reliever's glove and into foul territory, allowing Ramos to come in and put the Nats ahead, 2-1.
• Colin Rea's Line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 82 P, 55 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
Matt Belisle worked around a single for a scoreless seventh inning in relief.
Felipe Rivero came on in the eighth, but gave up back-to-back hits and a base-loading walk in front of Wil Myers, who hit a line drive to center that a diving Michael A. Taylor couldn't catch. 3-3 game.
An intentional walk to Matt Kemp loaded the bases for Brett Wallace, who sent a grounder back to the mound, but Rivero bobbled it and threw it by Wilson Ramos at home, 4-3 Padres on the error.
Blake Treinen took over on the mound with the bases loaded and no one out and issued a walk that forced in a run, 5-3, and Yangervis Solarte hit a blooper over the left side of the infield to bring in two more and make it 7-3.
That's how it ended, after Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless ninth. That escalated quickly. 7-3 Padres final.
Nationals now 43-26
- In today's Padres-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: San Diego's offense has put up a combined. 282 AVG (156 for 553) with 84 runs scored... over the last 16 games, going 7-9 over that stretch.
- In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Washington is 19-9 against San Diego... since the start of the 2012 season and 33-38 overall against the Padres since 2005.
- Last night's win was the Nationals' seventh in the last eight games, their 10th in the last 12 and 14th in the last 18 games.
- Washington's 43-25 record is the best record in franchise history (2005-present) through 68 games, and the All-Time franchise history, and the Nationals' record is the second-best in the NL right now, behind only the Chicago Cubs (45-20).
- San Diego's .282 AVG as a team this month is tied for the best in the National League with the Washington Nationals and third-best in the majors behind the New York Yankees (.288) and Detroit Tigers (.304).
- Jon Jay (.368 AVG), Matt Kemp (.354 AVG) and Will Myers (.349) have the third, eighth and eleventh-best averages, respectively, among qualified players in the National League over the last month.
- Daniel Murphy's two-hit game last night was his 29th multi-hit game of the season.
- Murphy's home run last night was his 12th this season, but his first against a left-handed pitcher this year. He enters play tonight with a .361 AVG (MLB's best) and he's tied for second in multi-hit games and OPS (1.010).
- Jayson Werth's multi-hit game last night was his third consecutive multi-hit game and in a bonus Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, Werth has a .350/.437/.600 line with three doubles, four home runs, 10 walks and 13 runs scored... since May 29th.
- Padres' closer Fernando Rodney hasn't pitched in the first two games of the series with the Nationals, so his streak of 23 ⅓ without allowing an earned run remains intact if untested.
- Rodney's streak extends back to the start of the season, and according to STATS, Inc. it's the longest streak without allowing an earned run in Padres' franchise history.
- In a bonus Padres-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: San Diego first baseman Wil Myers is 22 for 63 (.349 AVG) with six doubles, eight home runs and 16 runs scored... in 16 games in June. He added his ninth home run and seventh double in the last 17 games.
- Myers' eight home runs this month, are tied for the most in the majors so far in June, and are the most in the NL over that stretch. He hit his 9th home run in June off Max Scherzer in the first.
Nationals now 43-26