(Reuters) - Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer joined an elite club on Saturday when he threw his second no-hitter of the season in their 2-0 win over the New York Mets.
The 31-year-old became just the sixth player to achieve the feat. His previous no-hitter this season came on June 20 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Scherzer threw 80 strikes in 109 pitches and recorded a career-high 17 strikeouts in a masterful performance in chilly conditions in New York.
Scherzer, who won the 2013 AL Cy Young award when he was with Detroit, tied the major league record for strikeouts in a no-hitter set by Nolan Ryan in 1973.
Relying mainly on his fastball, Scherzer struck out nine successive batters, before completing the rout when Mets’ right fielder Curtis Granderson popped out to third baseman Yunel Escobar.
Only one Mets batter, Kevin Plawecki, got to first base, on a throwing error by Escobar in the sixth inning.
“You’re speechless when you hear stuff like that,” Scherzer said in an on-field interview when told of the rarity of his accomplishment.
He said it was one of those nights when everything came together at the same time.
“You’re in synch with your mechanics, in synch with the catcher and in synch with what you want to do.
“You’re reading the swings, reading what they’re doing and you’re just trying to execute pitches around that.”
The most recent pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season was Roy Halladay for Philadelphia in 2010. One of Halladay’s no-hitters came in the post-season.
The last pitcher to hurl two no-hitters in the same regular season was Ryan (1973).
Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938) have also completed the feat.
There have been seven no-hitters in the major leagues this year.
Scherzer’s performance came in the penultimate game of a disappointing season for the Nationals.
The pre-season hot favorites in the National League East, they are 83-78 and will finish a distant second to the Mets in their division.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury