WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer pitched a no-hitter Saturday, losing his perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning when he hit a batter in the Washington Nationals' 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Scherzer was masterful in retiring the first 26 batters and was one strike from throwing the 22nd perfect game in major league history since 1900.
Pinch-hitter Jose Tabata fouled off three 2-2 pitches before Scherzer clipped him on the elbow with a breaking ball. Tabata dropped his elbow as the pitch approached, and Scherzer immediately grimaced after plunking him.
Scherzer then retired Josh Harrison on a deep fly to left.
The Nationals' ace admitted there was a bit of a letdown after hitting Tabata.
"I mean there is, just because you're so close, one strike away from a perfect game," he said. "But to get a no-hitter in front of these fans, there's nothing better."
Scherzer struck out 10 Pirates. In his previous start, he took a perfect game bid into the seventh at Milwaukee and finished with a one-hitter and 16 strikeouts.
Scherzer turned in perhaps the most dominant consecutive starts in the majors since Johnny Vander Meer pitched back-to-back no-hitters for Cincinnati in 1938.
Signed to a $210 million, seven-year contract in the offseason after leaving Detroit, the 2013 AL Cy Young winner pitched the second no-hitter in Nationals' history. Jordan Zimmermann threw one against the Marlins last year to end the regular season.
It was the fourth no-hitter in the city's baseball history - Walter Johnson and Bob Burke threw them for the old Washington Senators.
This was the second no-hitter of the season. San Francisco rookie Chris Heston did it June 9 against the Mets.