Did Jose Tabata lean in, ruin Max Scherzer’s perfect game?

0:45 | MLB
Watch Nationals P Max Scherzer celebrate no-hitter vs. Pirates
Saturday June 20th, 2015

Washington Nationals righthander Max Scherzer tossed a no-hitter on Saturday, but was his perfect game attempt ruined by a lean-in by Pittsburgh Pirates pinch hitter Jose Tabata?

Many fans took to Twitter to say as much Saturday evening, claiming that Scherzer only struck Tabata’s left elbow because Tabata leaned into it.

The video evidence is compelling, although this is something that can’t legitimately be verified short of an admission of sorts by Tabata. With two outs in the ninth and Tabata facing a 2–2 count, Scherzer’s eighth pitch of the at-bat was an 86 MPH slider that struck Tabata just at the bottom of his elbow.

Sure, there’s a case to be made for saying Tabata lowered his body and extended the elbow out just enough to draw the HBP. But was it intentional, or somewhat of a natural reaction? Cases could be, and were, made both ways.

• Man who caught A-Rod's 3,000th hit won't give ball back to Yankees

Scherzer, for his part, shared no ill will toward Tabata.

Many others, of course, cried foul on Tabata.

Thanks to @BaseballVines, we even have an informal poll. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority said Tabata leaned in.

Los Angeles Dodgers righthander Brandon McCarthy was one of the more notable reactions, and he took the side of the play being a normal HBP.


Mike Fiammetta

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.