When Max Scherzer rejected the Detroit Tigers’ $144 million extension in 2014, coming off a Cy Young Award-winning season, he not only gambled he could get a bigger offer but also argued he was still improving.

Turns out he was right on both fronts.

In his second season with the Washington Nationals, who signed him to a seven-year, $210 million deal in January 2015, Scherzer proved to be the most dominant pitcher in the National League, and on Wednesday he was rewarded with his second Cy Young over the Chicago Cubs’ Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks.

Scherzer received 25 first-place votes for a 192 points, Lester finished with 102 and Hendricks with 85.

Scherzer, 32, becomes just the sixth pitcher to earn Cy Youngs in both leagues, joining Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, as well as Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay.

In going 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA and 284 strikeouts, Scherzer led the league in two of the three Triple Crown categories, lagging only in ERA (eighth). He also displayed a rare combination of overpowering stuff, durability and knack for keeping runners off base by pitching a league-high 228 1/3 innings while registering the NL’s lowest WHIP (walks and hits per inning) at 0.97 and holding batters to a .199 average.

Scherzer had his signature moment on May 11 when he tied a major league record by striking out 20 batters in a game – against his former Detroit teammates.

His overall numbers this year were comparable or a shade better than in his Cy Young season of 2013, when Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA but with fewer innings pitched (214 1/3) and strikeouts (240).

The Cubs boasted by far the majors’ best starters’ ERA at 2.96, with Hendricks (2.13) and Lester (2.44) ranking 1-2. They also finished 2-3 in WHIP just behind Scherzer, but the Nationals’ ace had a sizable lead in innings pitched and strikeouts, and those might have been the decisive factors.

Hendricks had a 16-8 record, led the majors in ERA and finished just behind Scherzer with a WHIP of 0.98. Lester tied his career high in wins with a 19-5 mark.

Ballots
Max Scherzer, Nationals ...25...3.....1......1...0....192
Jon Lester, Cubs ...1...16...9...2...0...102
Kyle Hendricks, Cubs ...2...7...8...7...5...85
Madison Bumgarner, Giants ...0...2...6...7...6..46
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers ...2...0...1...5...3...30
Johnny Cueto, Giants ...0...0...3...3...4...19
Jose Fernandez, Marlins ...0...1...1...1...9...18
Noah Syndergard, Mets ...0...1...1...3...2...15
Jake Arrieta, Cubs ...0...0...1...0...0...2
Tanner Roark, Nationals ...0...0...0...0...1...1