Mets pull Max Scherzer after 6 perfect innings in his return from injured list

New York Mets starter Max Scherzer throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Max Scherzer would likely have had his shot at history in different circumstances. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

It appears that Max Scherzer is no worse for wear following a stint on the injured list.

The New York Mets starter returned to the mound Monday after a brief stint on the injured list with an oblique injury. He proceeded to pitch six perfect innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in a tidy 68 pitches.

Alas, history was not in the cards for the three-time Cy Young winner. Manager Buck Showalter pulled him after the sixth, presumably not wanting to extend Scherzer fresh off a trip to the injured list. The Mets led 5-0 when Scherzer left the game.

Were it not for his recent injury, Scherzer's night on an otherwise low pitch count looked like a prime candidate to secure the 24th perfect game in MLB history. Scherzer didn't appear to be upset with the decision when his night was done.

The Mets are in a battle with the Atlanta Braves for the NL East title and have their sights set on a World Series championship. Keeping Scherzer and fellow Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom healthy is a big part of both goals. And at 38 years old, Scherzer certainly values prioritizing his health. But a missed opportunity at a perfect game surely stings nonetheless.

The combined perfect game and no-hitter didn't last long. Reliever Tylor Megill, fresh off his own stint on the injured list, allowed a double to Christian Yelich to lead off the seventh. Rowdy Tellez brought Yelich home with a two-run home run.

The Mets held on for a 7-2 victory, which just so happened to be the 200th of Scherzer's career. It also clinched a playoff berth for New York.

Scherzer is not the first future Hall of Famer to have a perfect game bid cut short in 2022. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Clayton Kershaw after seven perfect innings in April. Like Scherzer, a pitch count was in play for Kershaw, who was making his first start of the season following a truncated spring training.