The 37-year-old right-hander fanned Eric Hosmer of the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
The crowd gave the three-time Cy Young Award winner a standing ovation, and Scherzer doffed his cap. He threw the keepsake ball into the dugout. Hosmer went down on six pitches, retired on a swinging strike.
The punchout also kept Scherzer perfect through five innings in a game that also included an immaculate inning. He’s thrown two no-hitters in his 14-year career but never a perfect game.
Knowing Scherzer needed one more to reach the mark, fans got to their feet and cheered each time he had two strikes on a batter. Some held up cell phones to record the moment.
Scherzer came into the game needing six strikeouts to reach 3,000. He got Trent Grisham in the first. He struck out the side on nine pitches in the second, retiring Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham, who all went down swinging.
In the third, Scherzer struck out Wil Myers on five pitches.
Scherzer is 13 strikeouts from catching Houston’s Justin Verlander for the most among active players. Verlander — a teammate of Scherzer’s in Detroit — is missing the entire 2021 season following Tommy John surgery.
It took Scherzer 404 games to reach the mark, second fewest in history behind Hall of Famer Randy Johnson at 362 games, per Elias. He’s also the first to reach 3,000 Ks in a Dodgers uniform.
Scherzer is 13-4, and his 2.28 ERA was second in the National League behind Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes entering Sunday. He was acquired from the Washington Nationals in July and put himself in contention for a fourth Cy Young down the stretch for the Dodgers.
He is on a nine-game winning streak and hasn’t lost since May 30 against Milwaukee. He is 9-0 in his last 15 starts since June 4, going 9-0 with a 2.23 ERA. Four of those wins have come with the Dodgers.
Scherzer was drafted by Arizona in 2006 out of Missouri. He has pitched for the Diamondbacks, Detroit and Washington, and is a combined 188-97 with a 3.15 ERA in his career.