NEW YORK – Max Scherzer pitched his second no-hitter this season for Washington, striking out a team-record 17 and leading the Nationals over the NL East champion New York Mets 2-0 Saturday night for a doubleheader sweep.
Only one batter reached base against Scherzer, and that came when third baseman Yunel Escobar bounced a throw for an error on Kevin Plawecki's leadoff grounder in the sixth inning.
The All-Star righty became just the sixth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a year, and the first since Roy Halladay in 2010 — the former Phillies ace had one in the regular season and another in the playoffs.
Scherzer struck out nine straight batters before Curtis Granderson hit an easy popup to Escobar to end it on his 109th pitch.
Working quickly on a brisk, blustery night at Citi Field, Scherzer (14-12) added to the no-hitter he threw against Pittsburgh on June 20, when he came within one strike of a perfect game.
Johnny Vander Meer, who pitched two in a row, Nolan Ryan, Virgil Trucks and Allie Reynolds also threw a pair in the same season.
The Mets lost their fifth in a row, having dropped the opener 3-1. The skid has put in peril their chance of getting home-field advantage in the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Scherzer pitched the seventh no-hitter in the majors this year, including one by San Francisco rookie Chris Heston at Citi Field on June 9.
This is Scherzer's first season with the Nationals after the 2013 AL Cy Young winner left Detroit and signed a $210 million, seven-year deal as a free agent.
In a season that has spiraled downward for the Nationals, the gems by Scherzer have been highlights. This also marked the second straight year a Washington pitcher came up big late — Jordan Zimmermann threw the first no-hitter in Nationals' history on the final day of the regular season in 2014.
At times, Scherzer looked as if he was simply playing catch with Wilson Ramos. Wherever Ramos put his catcher's mitt, Scherzer seemed to hit it.
Matt Harvey (13-8) lost despite allowing just one unearned run and four hits in six innings.
The Nationals won the opener when Bryce Harper hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth off Addison Reed (3-3). It was Harper's 42nd homer. Rafael Martin (2-0) got one out as the Nationals ended a six-game skid against the Mets. Felipe Rivero worked the ninth for his second save.