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Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 5: Scherzer's first no-hitter

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Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 5: Scherzer's first no-hitter

We are counting down the 10 biggest moments of 2015 for the Nationals as we approach New Year's Day. In the sixth installment, we look back at the first no-hitter Max Scherzer threw this season against the Pittsburgh Pirates...

If a perfect game has been accomplished 23 times in MLB history, then what Max Scherzer did on June 20 against the Pittsburgh Pirates was technically more rare. He came as close one possibly can get to being perfect without closing the deal. He was just one strike away.  

There were two outs in the ninth and two strikes when Scherzer threw a slider that barely nicked Jose Tabata's elbow. Scherzer became just the second pitcher ever to lose a perfect game with two outs in the ninth by hitting a batter. It hadn't been done since 1908. Only 12 other times has a pitcher lost a perfect game after recording 26 outs.

Scherzer would get his first no-hitter, as Josh Harrison flew out to left in the next at-bat. That made Scherzer just the third pitcher ever to lose a perfect game after 8 2/3 innings, yet still accomplish a no-hitter.

That provided for an interesting dynamic at Nationals Park that day, for Scherzer, his teammates and the fans. There was the intensity and buildup of a perfect game bid before the letdown of it slipping away. Then, just seconds later, Scherzer got his no-no, just the second no-hitter in Nationals history and the first of his career. There was celebration, then disappointment, then celebration. 

Of course, Scherzer was disappointed himself that he didn't secure perfection, but he was still able to enjoy what was until that point the best performance of his career. And it just happened to come with his parents in town to celebrate Father's Day. Scherzer's family was originally planning to visit Washington on July 4, but pushed their trip up due to a conflict. How fortunate for them.

Scherzer technically put in an even more impressive outing in October of 2015 with his second no-hitter, a 17-strikeout masterpiece that ranks as the second-greatest pitching game of all-time based on Bill James' game score. But this one ranks higher for this particular list given it happened first and given it was so close to being a perfect game.

Scherzer also happened to do it against a Pirates team that had won eight of their previous nine games and ended up with 98 wins on the season. He no-hit one of the best teams - based on their regular season record - in recent years. 

Scherzer's first no-hitter will go down as one of the best days in Nationals history and one that was very close to being something even better.

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More from the countdown:

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 10: Scherzer signs

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 9: Trade deadline series vs. Mets

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 8: Scherzer's second no-hitter

Nats 2015 biggest moments No 7: Harper's 3 homers vs. Marlins

Nats 2015 biggest moments No. 6: Final chance vs. Mets

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Former National Jayson Werth pleads guilty to DUI in Arizona

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USA Today

Former National Jayson Werth pleads guilty to DUI in Arizona

Former National Jayson Werth pled guilty last week to driving under the influence in Arizona. 

The plea deal stems from an April arrest, when Werth was at the Mariners' spring training facility in Peoria. 

He was sentenced to a diversion program, ordered drug and alcohol screening, and fined more than $1,600, along with having his driver's license suspended. 

The Mariners said it didn't affect their decisions to not call him up before he retired this summer. 

The Nationals inducted Werth into their Ring of Honor earlier this month. The team was not aware of the charges against Werth at the time, according to reports.

In January 2015, Werth pled guilty to reckless driving after he was cited for going 105 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone of the Beltway in Virginia. He served 10 days in jail for those charges.

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Harper drives in 100th run, Nationals beat Marlins 7-3

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Harper drives in 100th run, Nationals beat Marlins 7-3

Anthony Rendon homered and drove four runs, Bryce Harper reached 100 RBIs in a season for the first time and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 7-3 on Monday night.

Juan Soto and Matt Wieters also homered for Washington, which broke it open with four runs on three pitches in the fourth inning.

Harper started the big inning, driving in his 100th run with a sacrifice fly that scored Adam Eaton and put Washington ahead 3-1. Harper, a pending free agent who may be playing his final home series at Nationals Park, got a standing ovation from the sparse, rain-soaked crowd. His previous high was 99 RBIs in 2015, when he won the NL MVP Award.

Rendon and Soto then homered back-to-back on the next two pitches from Sandy Alcantara (2-2). Rendon lofted a two-run shot, his 23rd, down the left-field line, and then Soto lined one into the visitors' bullpen in left-center to make it 6-1.

Rendon extended his on-base streak to 32 games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Peter O'Brien had two hits for Miami, which had won three straight. The Marlins left 10 men on base.

Justin Miller (7-1) allowed one unearned run in the fifth in relief of Stephen Strasburg, who was pulled after throwing 100 pitches over four innings. Strasburg gave up a run on three hits and four walks while striking out five and hitting a batter.

Strasburg hasn't lost since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 22.

Alcantara allowed six runs on seven hits and five walks in four innings.

The Nationals trailed 1-0 in the first when Rendon's double scored Eaton and Harper.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Marlins: Manager Don Mattingly expects RHP Jose Urena, who experienced leg cramps last time out, to make his next scheduled start Friday in New York. "He ran yesterday," Mattingly said. "It looks like he's going to be fine. He's getting an extra day (Thursday) anyway. I think he'll start."

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark went home Sunday to be with his wife after the recent birth of their third child. He is still slated to start Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Marlins: RHP Jeff Brigham (0-3, 5.84) makes his fourth major league start and first against Washington.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (17-7, 2.57) needs 10 strikeouts to reach 300 for the season. He's 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA against the Marlins in 2018.

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