WASHINGTON — Max Scherzer struck out 20 batters, matching the major league record for a nine-inning game as he pitched the Washington Nationals past the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Scherzer had a chance to break the mark when James McCann stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning. McCann, who whiffed his previous three times up, grounded to third for the final out.
The astounding performance came in Scherzer’s first outing against the Tigers, his former team. The right-hander, who pitched two no-hitters last season and struck out 17 in the second one, joined Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson as the only big league pitchers to compile 20 strikeouts in nine innings.