About a half-hour after the Washington Nationals’ season ended, Max Scherzer’s pitching eye and non-pitching eye blazed wide, united in a devastated daze.

“It was a good pitch,” he said, reliving the pitch Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit out to tie the decisive Game 5, his last pitch of the 2016 season. “Right on the black.”

Scherzer then shook his head and turned to his locker, left to an offseason of wondering why his best stuff was not good enough when he needed it most.

But it was good enough more often than not in 2016, so often that he was named the National League Cy Young Award winner Wednesday night, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

A month after that crushing loss, Scherzer sat with family and college friends on a boat in the British Virgin Islands, hollering with joy as he was sprayed with champagne, celebrating an impressive consolation prize.

Scherzer became the sixth pitcher – and first since Roy Halladay in 2010 – to win baseball’s highest pitching honor in each league.

“For some reason this just means so much more to me. It just verifies everything I try to go out there and set out to achieve,” said Scherzer. “Winning the second one confirms that everything I tried to do works.”

Scherzer is the first National to win the award, and the first Cy Young winner managed by Dusty Baker in his two decades spent managing four teams. Since the right-hander became the first $200 million man in Nationals history two winters ago, he has responded with two no-hitters, a 20-strikeout game and pitching’s top honor.

Scherzer, 32, beat out Cubs aces Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks in a decisive vote that does not include the postseason. He was named first on 25 of 30 ballots, with three second-place votes, one third and one fourth. Lester was second with one first-place vote; Hendricks, first on two ballots, finished third.

Though he was a late addition to the National League all-star team and a late entry into the Cy Young race, Scherzer quietly stalked another elite season from start to finish. He led the National League in wins (20), innings pitched (2281/3), strikeouts (284), WHIP (0.97) and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (5.07). He finished second in batting average against (.196), seventh in ERA (2.96), and induced a higher percentage of swinging strikes than anyone in baseball (15.3 percent, according to FanGraphs).

“For me, it’s a culmination of everything,” Scherzer said. “Competing at the same level, doing what we need to do when I take the mound, to going out there and actually doing it.”

When he stumbled, he usually tripped over home runs. His ultimate demise came by the home run, the only run the Dodgers scored against him in six-plus innings in Game 5.

“I know we didn’t win the World Series. That was my ultimate goal,” Scherzer said. “But being able to pick up this second Cy Young really means a lot to me, and I owe it to my teammates.”

By that tough end to Game 5, the votes were in, Scherzer’s Cy Young fate sealed. Despite what he characterized as a disappointing playoff performance, Scherzer has proven himself a worthy recipient of the largest contract in franchise history. Since the start of the 2015 season, he has made two opening- day starts, been named to two all-star squads, won 34 games and set highs in strikeouts each season.

He has settled in as a clubhouse staple: He’s the guy who chooses when the team wears shorts for batting practice instead of pants, the veteran chatting with young pitchers in the dugout, the National who stood at his locker and defended Jonathan Papelbon the day Papelbon’s tenure ended. Scherzer says he prefers to lead by example.

“I know I have things in my game I would like to be better, things I would like to improve on in 2017,” Scherzer said. “But to win this award, there’s so much history and so much meaning to it … to be able to win the award over (Lester and Hendricks) obviously means something amazing.”

So if October’s disappointment cast a shadow on his season, a second Cy Young will offer the consolation of another elite season of individual accomplishment.

HALL OF FAME broadcaster Vin Scully, who retired last month after spending his entire 67-year career in the booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday at the White House.

ROCKIES: Mike Redmond, a former Sea Dogs catcher who became a major league manager, joined Colorado as the bench coach on new manager Bud Black’s staff.

BRAVES: General Manager John Coppolella said he hopes to add another starting pitcher, even after agreeing to deals with veteran right-handers R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon last week.

ASTROS: The team agreed to a two-year deal with free-agent pitcher Charlie Morton.

WHITE SOX: Chicago hired former major league All-Star and Gold Glove second baseman Mark Grudzielanek to manage Triple-A Charlotte.