Max Scherzer tied the MLB record with 20 strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers tonight, throwing 96 strikes on 119 pitches in nine innings of work as the Nationals won 3-2. He had a chance to get 21, but James McCann grounded out to a sheepish Daniel Murphy. Scherzer struck out at least two Tigers in every inning but the fourth, and every Tigers batter except Victor Martinez struck out at least once. Here’s the swing and miss that got him to 20.
Only Roger Clemens (twice), Randy Johnson, and Kerry Wood have ever struck out 20 batters in a game before. The 18th anniversary of Wood’s 20 K game was just five days ago, and one of the teams Clemens dominated was also the Tigers.
You’re always gonna catch some breaks in a historically great game like this, and his came in the third, when he hit Ian Kinsler, but struck him out since his bat crossed the plate anyway. Incredibly, Scherzer only threw 23 balls in the entire game, easily the least in a 20 strikeout game. His 119 pitches also makes this outing the most efficient 20 K game ever.