NEW YORK (AP) 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 on 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.
He became 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.
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.
The Mets lost their fifth straight, having dropped the opener 3-1. They will have to play their postseason series at the Los Angeles Dodgers for Games 1 and 2 and 5, if necessary.
Matt Harvey (13-8) lost allowing one unearned run and four hits in six innings with 11 strikeouts.
The teams combined for 35 strikeouts, a big league record for a nine-inning game. The previous mark was 31 set by Texas and Seattle in 1997, STATS said.
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.
DODGERS 2, PADRES 1
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Zack Greinke earned the NL ERA title and the Dodgers clinched home-field advantage in their upcoming playoff series with the New York Mets.
The Dodgers’ win combined with Washington’s doubleheader sweep of the Mets (89-72) ensured Los Angeles (91-70) will open the Division Series at home Friday.
Greinke (19-3) allowed one run and four hits in eight innings to conclude the regular season with a 1.66 ERA, beating out Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, who finished at 1.77. Arrieta tossed a no-hitter against the Dodgers in August.
Greinke had the lowest ERA by a qualifying pitcher since Greg Maddux’s mark of 1.63 for Atlanta in 1995. It is the lowest for a Dodgers pitcher since Rube Marquard’s 1.58 in 1916.
Greinke struck out eight, giving him 200 for the season and marking the fifth time in his career he reached that mark.
Kenley Jansen earned his 36th save in 38 chances.
Padres starter Robbie Erlin (1-2) gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings while auditioning for a spot in next year’s rotation. The left-hander struck out four and walked none.
ANGELS 11, RANGERS 10
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – The Los Angeles Angels rallied for five runs in the ninth inning, taking their playoff hopes into the final day of the regular season with a wild win that again kept Texas from clinching the AL West.
Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson, pitching for the fifth straight day, entered with a 10-6 lead and allowed consecutive homers to Erick Aybar and Kole Calhoun.
Ross Ohlendorf (3-1) relieved and retired Mike Trout on a grounder, then gave up Albert Pujols’ double on a difficult popup to short right that ricocheted off first baseman Mike Napoli’s glove, whose back was to the plate.
C.J. Cron, David Freese, Carlos Perez and Giavotella had consecutive two-out singles, with Cron, Perez and Giavotella driving in runs.
Josh Hamilton homered twice for Texas against his former team.
ASTROS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 2
PHOENIX (AP) – Collin McHugh earned his 19th victory, Colby Rasmus homered twice and Houston clinched at least a tie for the American League’s second wild card.
The Astros remained in contention for the AL West title as well as the league’s first wild card.
McHugh (19-7) allowed a run and six hits in seven innings to improve to 6-0 in his last seven starts. Jose Altuve homered and doubled for Houston.
Paul Goldschmidt hit his 32nd home run for the Diamondbacks.
The Astros have won six of seven to help scramble the AL playoff picture.
Rasmus led off the fourth and eighth with his 24th and 25th home runs, respectively.
Altuve doubled and scored on Carlos Correa’s sacrifice fly in the first, then hit a solo home run off Jeremy Hellickson (9-12) in the fifth.
RAYS 4, BLUE JAYS 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Tim Beckham had a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for Tampa Bay.
Grady Sizemore had a leadoff double off Roberto Osuna (1-6), who later loaded the bases with two outs with two walks. Beckham won it with his liner to left.
Edwin Encarnacion homered for the fourth consecutive game for the Blue Jays, who fell one game behind Kansas City for the AL’s best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs heading into Sunday’s end of the regular season. Toronto holds the tiebreaker.
John Jaso and Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the Rays. Alex Colome (8-5) worked the ninth to get the win.
Encarnacion put the Blue Jays up 3-1 on his 39th homer this season, a two-run shot off Brandon Gomes in the sixth.
ROYALS 5, TWINS 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Twins were eliminated from the AL playoff race when they were stifled by Yordano Ventura for seven innings in a loss to Kansas City.
Ventura (13-8) carried a no-hitter into the fifth and struck out 11 to win his third straight decision for Kansas City, which took a one-game lead over Toronto, which lost to Tampa Bay, for home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Blaine Boyer (3-6) allowed two runs, one earned, while getting two outs for Minnesota (83-78), which committed two errors in a costly four-run seventh inning for the Royals.
Minnesota loaded the bases in the ninth before Wade Davis struck out Kennys Vargas and Eduardo Escobar for his 17th save in 18 chances.
ORIOLES 4, YANKEES 3, 2nd game
ORIOLES 9, YANKEES 2, 1st game
BALTIMORE (AP) – The New York Yankees failed to clinch home field in the AL wild-card game, getting swept by Baltimore in a day-night doubleheader.
Only needing one win to host Tuesday’s one-game playoff, reliever Dellin Betances allowed the go-ahead run in the second game to score on a wild pitch in the eighth inning. The Orioles roughed up Ivan Nova in the opener.
New York (87-74) has lost five of six. Should the Yankees and the Astros end up tied, Houston holds the tiebreaker and the game would be played at Minute Maid Park.
In the night game, Paul Janish led off the eighth with a single, reached second on a wild pitch by Betances (6-4), and got to third on Gerardo Parra’s bunt single before scoring on a second wild pitch with one out.
T.J. McFarland (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for Baltimore and Zach Britton got his 36th save in a ninth inning in which pinch-runner Rico Noel was picked off first.
Manny Machado hit his 35th home run, connecting for a fourth consecutive game, and Nolan Reimold hit the first leadoff homer of his career.
New York was 3 for 19 with runners in scoring position in the doubleheader.
In the first game, Nova (6-11) allowed eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, walked three and hit a batter to raise his ERA to 5.07.
Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen (11-8) allowed two runs in six-plus innings. Parra had four hits and three RBIs. Machado drove in three runs and J.J. Hardy had three hits.
REDS 3, PIRATES 1
PITTSBURGH (AP) – A.J. Burnett was outpitched by a rookie in the final regular-season start of his career, and Cincinnati prevented Pittsburgh from clinching home-field advantage in the NL wild-card game by snapping a 13-game skid.
Pittsburgh still needs a win Sunday or a loss by the Chicago Cubs to host the one-game playoff Wednesday night. If the Cubs beat Milwaukee – and the Pirates lose to Cincinnati again – the wild-card showdown would be played at Wrigley Field.
Brandon Finnegan (5-2) limited the Pirates to one run in six innings. Adam Duvall hit his fifth homer and Aroldis Chapman got four outs for his 33rd save, ending Cincinnati’s longest losing streak in 70 years.
Burnett, who plans to retire after 17 seasons, gave up three runs and five hits with four walks in 6 2-3 innings. His nine strikeouts gave him 2,513 in his career, pushing Burnett (9-7) past Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson and into 30th place on the all-time list.
CUBS 1, BREWERS 0
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Kyle Hendricks allowed one hit and struck out eight in six innings, and Chicago kept alive its hopes to host to the NL wild card game.
Chicago won its seventh straight game behind a stellar effort from Hendricks (8-7). He held Milwaukee without a baserunner until Martin Maldonado singled with one out in the sixth.
Hector Rondon tossed the ninth for his 30th save.
Addison Russell drove in the game’s only run off Tyler Wagner (0-2), singling home Chris Coughlan from third in the second inning.
INDIANS 2, RED SOX 0
CLEVELAND (AP) – Corey Kluber pitched eight innings while Carlos Santana and Ryan Raburn homered for Cleveland.
Kluber (9-16) ended his rocky season with a strong performance, allowing three hits and striking out nine. The right-hander, who won the AL Cy Young Award last season, recorded his first victory since Aug. 14.
Santana led off the second with a home run while Raburn’s homer started the fourth. Both landed several rows deep in the bleachers in left field.
Craig Breslow (0-4) gave up both home runs, his only mistakes in 5 1/3 innings. The veteran left-hander made his second career start after 522 relief appearances.
Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.
WHITE SOX 4, TIGERS 3
CHICAGO (AP) – Leury Garcia singled home the winning run in the ninth as the White Sox avoided finishing last in the AL Central.
Pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck doubled to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. After Jose Abreu was intentionally walked, Garcia singled.
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run home run for the Tigers and virtually locked up the AL batting title. He had three hits to raise his AL-best average to .338 while Boston’s Xander Bogaerts was hitless in four at-bats to drop to .320.
Detroit is 2 1-2 games behind Chicago for last place in the division after winning the Central the last four seasons.
Nate Jones (2-2) struck out one for the victory. Neftali Feliz (3-4) allowed two runs while only getting two outs for his seventh blown save.
GIANTS 3, ROCKIES 2
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Jake Peavy pitched five innings for his fifth consecutive win, and rookie Kelby Tomlinson hit an inside-the-park home run during San Francisco’s victory over Colorado.
Brandon Crawford and Marlon Byrd also homered off Chris Rusin (6-10) for the Giants, who beat the Rockies for the eighth time in 18 meetings this year.
Peavy (8-6) allowed one run and four hits to improve to 5-0 over his last eight starts.
Ben Paulsen homered for the Rockies, who have lost four of five.
MARLINS 5, PHILLIES 2, 2nd game
MARLINS 7, PHILLIES 6, 1st game
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Dee Gordon got his 200th hit of the season in the opener, and Christian Yelich tied a club record with hits in eight straight at-bats as Miami swept a doubleheader.
Yelich was 5 for 5 in the first game then hit safely in his first three at-bats in the second. In the first game, Gordon became the first Marlins player since Hanley Ramirez in 2007 to record 200 hits with a sixth-inning single.
The Phillies were assured last place in the NL East and the first pick in the 2016 draft.
Gordon went 4 for 9 on the day to raise his average to .331. He trails Washington’s Bryce Harper for the NL batting crown by .0001 entering Sunday’s final game.
Gordon had two steals to up his season total to 58, overtaking injured Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton for the league lead.
Philadelphia needs to win Sunday’s regular-season finale to avoid losing 100 games in a season for the 15th time in club history.
Rookie left-hander Justin Nicolino (5-4) gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings to earn the Game 2 victory. A.J. Ramos recorded his second save of the day by striking out the side in a scoreless ninth, earning his 32nd save in 38 chances.
Phillies rookie right-hander Alec Asher (0-6) failed to earn a win in his seven starts this season, allowing three runs and six hits in two innings.
Maikel Franco homered for Philadelphia in his first start since fracturing his left wrist on Aug. 11 when he was hit by a pitch.
ATHLETICS 7, MARINERS 5, 13 innings
SEATTLE (AP) – Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer in the 13th for Oakland.
Semien’s 15th home run gave the Athletics their first three-game winning streak in more than a month after Tom Wilhelmsen blew a save opportunity in the ninth inning for the Mariners.
J.C. Ramirez (0-1) pitched a perfect 12th inning before running into trouble in the 13th, giving up a leadoff single to Stephen Vogt and then Semien’s homer.
Pat Venditte (2-2) entered in the 10th and pitched three scoreless innings for the Athletics. Felix Doubront worked the 13th for his first save.
Robinson Cano had a three-run homer and extended his hitting streak to 15 games for the Mariners.
Oakland’s Danny Valencia homered for the second straight game.