Scherzer gets 3,000th K, near perfecto vs. Padres
LOS ANGELES — Max Scherzer had been anticipating his 3,000th career strikeout. He had his family on hand, and Los Angeles Dodgers fans knew it was coming.
As if that wasn’t enough history for one day, he nearly threw a perfect game, too.
Scherzer got his milestone and took a perfect game into the eighth inning as the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 8-0 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
“In the fifth or sixth, I realized I had something going there,” he said. “Once I was able to get through the sixth, I was like, ‘I got a chance to do this.’ “
Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Scherzer retired his first 22 batters, including Fernando Tatis Jr. just before Eric Hosmer doubled to deep right with one out in the eighth. The crowd of 42,637, including his wife, three children and parents, saluted Scherzer with a standing ovation after he finished the inning.
“I knew Tatis and Hosmer were going to be tough at-bats,” Scherzer said. “Hosmer, we’ve done so many battles over the years. I pulled a changeup down and he was able to put a barrel to it.”
Scherzer became the 19th player in major league history to reach 3,000 career strikeouts in the fifth when Hosmer went down swinging for the second out of the inning. The crowd roared long and loud for the 37-year-old All-Star, who doffed his cap and threw the historic ball toward the dugout.
“To me, this is a testament to durability,” Scherzer said. “Making my 30-plus starts a year, year in and year out. All the hard work I’ve put in to be able to have this moment is what feels good.”
Scherzer struck out nine overall on 92 pitches over eight innings in recording his 10th straight win.
“I love strikeouts because the ball’s not in play,” he said. “They can’t get a hit when the ball’s not in play.”
The three-time Cy Young Award winner threw an immaculate inning in the second with three strikeouts on nine pitches.
Scherzer (14-4) has tossed 29 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run and is 6-0 in eight games with an 0.88 ERA since joining the Dodgers at the July trade deadline. He leads the majors with a 2.17 ERA.
“It’s just kind of amazing to watch greatness,” teammate Mookie Betts said. “You really appreciate the best of the best when you get to see it every day.”
Corey Seager and Betts hit solo homers, and Justin Turner added a three-run blast in the seventh to back Scherzer.
In a big blow, San Diego starter Blake Snell left after 11 pitches with a left adductor injury. The Padres used seven pitchers in the emergency bullpen game.
“It’s something that he’s dealt with in the past,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “It usually doesn’t come on until the sixth or seventh inning. For whatever reason, today it tightened up on him early. He says he’s walking better now. He already feels a little bit better.”