Sunday, October 4, 2015

Max Scherzer Fans 17, Tosses Second No-Hitter of Season; Colby Rasmus Keeps Houston on Pace for Playoffs

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 3, 2015

American League

Scherzer: 2nd No-Hitter
Rasmus: 2HR, 2RBI
The AL wild card race continues to confound and confront the NY Yankees, despite having already clinched one of the two spots.

Baltimore took a double-header at Camden yards from the playoff-bound Yanks, taking the first game in a laugher, 9-2, and the second game on a mistake-filled eighth inning that saw the Orioles score the game winning run on a bloop single, a bunt single and two wild pitches from reliever Delan Betances, for the 4-3 win.

The Yankees have dropped five of their last six, and need just one win or a Houston loss to claim home field for the wild card game on Tuesday.

The AL West became even more confused as the Angles scored five runs in the ninth to overtake the Rangers, 11-10, leaving Texas one game up on the Astros after Houston whipped the Diamondbacks, 6-2. LA is two games back but still alive in the wild card.

Colby Rasmus slugged a pair of homers and drove in two runs in Houston's win. The Astros face the Diamondbacks in Arizona at 3:10 pm EDT to complete the regular season. A Houston win assures the Astros of being in the playoffs, either as a wild card or as champions of the AL West, pending a one-game playoff with the Rangers, which would purportedly be played on Monday.

National League

With the Mets in the playoffs and the Nationals playing out the string and making vacation plans, Washington took a small measure of revenge on their NL East rivals, sweeping a doubleheader, 3-1, in the opener and 2-0 in the nightcap, the latter, notably, the second no-hitter of the season for Max Scherzer.

Once again, Scherzer flirted with a perfect game, the only mar on his otherwise gemstone-perfect performance a sixth inning throwing error by Yunel Escobar. Scherzer fanned a season-high and franchise record 17, needing 109 pitches for the complete game win, improving his record to 14-12. Down the stretch, Scherzer was simply untouchable, notching nine straight strikeouts from two outs in the sixth until two down in the ninth. Curtis Grandson ended the game with a pop-up to third.

Washington scratched out a couple of runs in the 6th and 7th innings, the first on an RBI single by catcher Wilson Ramos. Dan Uggla socked a solo homer in the seventh.

Scherzer joined Nolan Ryan, Virgil Trucks, Allie Reynolds and Johnny Vander Meer, who pitched two in a row, as the only pitchers in MLB history to throw two no-hitters in the same season. His first no-hitter was against Pittsburgh on June 20. In that game, a hit batsman (Jose Tabata) kept him from perfection.

Washington and the Mets wrap up the regular season on Sunday at 3:10 om EDT.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Pirates were attempting to sort out the wild card, but the Cincinnati Reds kept the two from finalizing which would have the better record and host the one-game playoff on Wednesday.

Cindy broke a 12-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh, while the Cubs got six strong innings from Kyle Hendricks (1 hit, 0 ER) and three relievers for a 1-0 win at Milwaukee. The results left Pittsburgh with a one-game lead over Chicago with one game to play. Both teams are in action on Sunday. A Chicago win and a Pittsburgh loss would produce a tie for the wild card and the Cubs would host the game at Wrigley field. A Pittsburgh win or a Cubs loss would put the game in Pittsburgh.

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