Richard Justice

ICYMI: Top 10 feats from top day of '16

From rare feats to walk-offs, spectacular was on display on special day

ICYMI: Top 10 feats from top day of '16

Where do you start on a day like this one? With Mad Max's 20 strikeouts? Of course. No doubt about it.

On the other hand ... did you catch Noah Syndergaard's amazing night? Sure, we love the guy because of that 100-mph fastball and an absolutely fearless approach. About the last thing we expect is to be celebrating his hitting. There it was, though, on this crazy day. Syndergaard hit the second home run of his career in the third inning against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Two innings after that, he hit another one.

Must C: Thor hammers two homers

That was the day in a nutshell. How about three extra-inning walk-offs? Or the Padres sweeping a doubleheader from the Cubs? Or the Red Sox making a habit of scoring 13 runs?

Was this the best day of the 2016 season? Absolutely. That's the thing about this game. It delivers again and again, not just with incredible individual performances, but teams doing themselves proud.

This is a reminder why it's the best sport on the planet and why we love it. This isn't the September stretch run. This isn't the postseason.

Doesn't matter. On Wednesday, baseball gave us one of those days that was spectacularly entertaining. We could use a day or two to wrap our minds around all of it. That is, if we weren't back at it on Thursday.

Wednesday was memorable in many ways. OK, let's count 'em:

1. Max!
Scherzer was ridiculously good in striking out 20 as the Nationals beat the Tigers, 3-2, at Nationals Park. He was just as good afterwards, soaking in the moment, looking for the right words. That was one of the sweetest parts of this day.

Scherzer is one of the real good guys in baseball. He's smart, curious, talkative and relentlessly driven to be great. Scherzer has remade himself during nine big league seasons, refining his slider, adding a curveball, looking for any advantage.

Scherzer had it all on display, throwing 51 of 62 fastballs for strikes, throwing 119 pitches in all and joining Kerry Wood, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens in the 20-strikeout club.

Scherzer discusses his 20 K's

2. Thor!
Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda did what he was supposed to do. He threw the opposing pitcher a batting-practice first-pitch fastball in the top of the third inning.

Oops. Syndergaard lost it, launching a towering home run to right field at Dodger Stadium. Encore? The Mets trailed, 2-1, and had two runners on base when Syndergaard came to bat in the top of the fifth inning.

This time, Maeda was careful. He missed with a curve to open the at-bat. But with the count 2-2, Maeda threw an 80-mph slider that caught too much of the plate. Routine. Syndergaard launched this one over the wall in center. The last pitcher to homer twice in a game was Micah Owings in 2007.

You can't make this stuff up.

Thor on his two homers

3. The Cubs
Chicago began the day having not lost back-to-back games. The Cubs had won 25 of 31 overall and 12 of 13. And then along came the Padres, who have played way better than a 13-20 record might indicate.

San Diego beat the Cubs twice. In one day. By scores of 7-4 and 1-0. Brett Wallace won the afternoon game with a three-run home run in the seventh inning. In the nightcap, Padres starter Drew Pomeranz combined with three relievers on a four-hit shutout.

Pomeranz's 10 strikeouts

4. Three extra-inning walk-offs
The Giants beat the Blue Jays, 5-4, in the 13th when Buster Posey drew a bases-loaded walk. They celebrated like crazy, possibly happy to have a four-hour, 28-minute grind over with. So did the Mariners when Chris Iannetta's home run beat the Rays, 6-5, in the bottom of the 11th. That one lasted only four hours, one minute.

The Astros had a happy day, too, letting a ninth-inning lead get away, but winning in the 16th on Marwin Gonzalez's two-run home run.

Must C: Gonzalez ends it in 16th

5. The Red Sox
Boston beat Oakland, 13-3. The Red Sox had won 13-5 on Tuesday and 14-7 on Monday. The Red Sox have been in business since 1908, and this is the first time they have scored 13 or more runs in three straight games. Also, getting at least 13 runs and 15 hits in three straight games ties the longest such streak in the Majors the past 100 years. The 1999 Indians were the last team to score at least 13 runs in three straight games.

Bradley Jr.'s three-run home run

6. The Braves
Atlanta beat Philadelphia, 5-1, for its second home victory of a tough season. Williams Perez flew from Rochester to Atlanta on Wednesday to get the surprise start after Jhoulys Chacin was traded to the Angels. The 24-year-old right-hander did fine, allowing one earned run in eight innings.

Perez's eight brilliant innings

7. Mark Trumbo
And to think some people wondered if Trumbo help the Orioles all that much when they acquired him last offseason. All he has done is sprint toward a spot on the American League All-Star team with 11 home runs and a .323 batting average. Trumbo hit two more homers on Wednesday as Baltimore beat Minnesota, 9-2, to remain tied with the Boston for first place in the AL East.

Trumbo's long two-run homer

8. The Rangers
This victory wasn't quite as dramatic as rallying from five runs down in the eighth inning on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Rangers only came back from deficits of 1-0, 4-2 and 5-4 to beat the White Sox, 6-5. Adrian Beltre singled in what turned out to be the winning run in the sixth, and three relievers combined for 3 1/3 shutout innings.

Beltre's go-ahead RBI single

9. Nolan Arenado
This wasn't just great baseball. It was terrific theater by two teams who believe they'll be in contention until the end. The Rockies led, 7-1, after six innings, then the D-backs scored three runs in the top of the seventh and three more in the eighth to tie it. Finally, with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Arenado's 13th home run -- tops in the Majors -- and the last of his three hits put Colorado ahead to stay in a game that ended 8-7.

Arenado's go-ahead home run

10. The Pirates
The Reds led 3-1 early and 4-3 in the eighth. Josh Harrison homered in the eighth to tie it for the Pirates, and Jordy Mercer singled in Jung Ho Kang in the top of the ninth to win it, 5-4.

Kang's solo homer

Afterwards, Bucs manager Clint Hurdle called it "a gritty win."

"It was an interesting game a lot of different ways," Hurdle said.

Yes, it was. It was that kind of day.

Richard Justice is a columnist for Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.