Max Scherzer equaled Major League's nine-innings record of 20 strikeouts on Wednesday, leading the Washington Nationals past Detroit Tigers 3-2.
Pitching against his former team, Scherzer had a chance to strike out the final batter and stand alone in the record books but James McCann grounded out for the last at-bat of the game.
Scherzer's incredible performance ties him with Roger Clemens, who reached the 20-strikeout mark twice, along with Randy Johnson and Kerry wood.
"I think it was about the eighth inning when I (struck) out somebody and they said it was 18, that was the first time I had the number," Scherzer told reporters. "So I knew I had a shot at going out for ninth for 20."
Scherzer (4-2) did not walk a batter on yet another magical night for the Washington ace.
Last season, Scherzer fired off two no-hitters to become just the sixth pitcher in Major League history to accomplish that. Scherzer played for Detroit from 2010 to 2014, winning the Cy Young Award in 2013, before signing with the Nationals and he came back to haunt the Tigers on Wednesday.
"Tonight, facing my former team, it was an emotional game," Scherzer said. "I have so much respect for how they play the game and compete. To have a game like that against that caliber of hitters really puts a feather in my cap."
RANKING THE TOP MLB PLAYERS OF THE LAST 25 YEARS:
25 best baseball players of last 25 years
Scherzer equals MLB record with 20 strikeouts against Tigers
Craig Biggio, Roy Halladay, Trevor Hoffman, Mike Mussina, Joe Mauer, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Jeff Bagwell, Eric Gagne, CC Sabathia, Tim Hudson, Chase Utley, Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada, Juan Gonzalez, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitle, Curt Schilling, Bobby Abreu, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Beltran, Edgar Martinez, Johan Santana, Jason Giambi, Raphael Palmiero, Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff.
(The Sporting News via Getty Images)
25. Mike Trout
Rookie of the Year, MVP, 4-time All-Star
(Harry How via Getty Images)
24. Jim Thome
600+ home runs, 5-time All-Star, 72.9 bWAR
(BRIAN BAHR via Getty Images)
23. John Smoltz
200+ wins, 150+ saves, 8-time All-Star
(Doug Pensinger via Getty Images)
22. Frank Thomas
2-time MVP, 4-time All-Star, 500+ home runs
(TIM ROBERTS via Getty Images)
20. David Ortiz
9-time All-Star, 3-time World Series champion, 400+ home runs