Scherzer goes to 10-0
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — Max Scherzer has shrugged off the significance of his undefeated start, saying records are fluky statistics for pitchers and that he’s simply playing for a good team.
When the Detroit Tigers right-hander found out he is the first to accomplish a couple feats since Rogers Clemens and Pedro Martinez, though, it knocked Scherzer off his humble script.
“That tickles me when you say those type of names,” he said.
Scherzer improved to 10-0 and struck out 10, Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer and Detroit beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 on Monday night.
He became the first pitcher to begin a season 10-0 — with all decisions coming in starts — since Clemens went 11-0 for Toronto in 1997, according to STATS. And Scherzer is the first to have at least six strikeouts in his first 14 starts in a season since Martinez did it in 2001 with Boston, STATS said.
“He’s at the top of his game pretty much,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Scherzer allowed one run and seven hits in six innings. Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 24th homer in the second, but struck out with the bases loaded in the fifth and the Orioles down by two runs.
“He was just coming after me,” Davis said. “Of course, when you’re throwing 96, 97, 98, that helps.”
Jake Arrieta (1-2) allowed five hits on 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings, and was sent to Triple-A Norfolk after the game with a 7.23 ERA.
“Stuff has never been an issue with Jake, it’s just command,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
With two on and none out in the fifth, Arrieta struck out Cabrera on a wild pitch that allowed two runners to get into scoring position. Victor Martinez hit a sacrifice fly and Jhonny Peralta’s RBI single to give Detroit a four-run cushion in the fifth, chasing Arrieta.
Scherzer’s start ended after finishing off the sixth inning with two strikeouts, giving him at least 10 in a game for the fifth time this year.
Scherzer lowered his ERA to 3.08 this season for the AL Central leaders. He is the second pitcher in Detroit history to start this strong since 1909, when George Mullin was 11-0 with one victory as a reliever, the Elias Sports Bureau said in information provided by the Tigers.
Drew Smyly followed with three hitless innings for his second save.
“We got (Scherzer’s) pitch count up and got him out of there,” Showalter said. “But Smyly is a good one, you can see why they’re so high on him.”
Detroit began the game leading baseball with an average of 5.72 runs per game at home and almost scored that much through five innings.
Austin Jackson led off with a single and scored on Cabrera’s seemingly effortless swing, an opposite-field drive that cleared a high wall in right-center for his 19th homer to make it 2-0.
“I watched the replay on video a couple times and by his swing, you think it might be a fly ball to right field,” Arrieta said. “But with the strength he has in his swing, a swing like that on that ball ends up in the seats.”
NOTES: Detroit put RHP Anibal Sanchez (shoulder) and C Alex Avila (left forearm) on the 15-day DL and recalled OF Avisail Garcia and C Bryan Holaday from Triple-A Toledo to take their roster spots. The Tigers plan to call up LHP Jose Alvarez to start in place of Sanchez on Thursday at home against the Boston Red Sox. … The Orioles are planning to start LHP Zach Britton in place of ailing RHP Jason Hammel on Tuesday night against Detroit and RHP Justin Verlander. … Orioles Miguel Gonzalez left the team Monday to be with his wife, who is expecting their first child, but Showalter said the team might not put him on paternity leave.
RANGERS 8, ATHLETICS 7
ARLINGTON, Texas — Nelson Cruz homered twice, A.J. Pierzynski drove in three runs and Texas snapped a six-game losing streak with an win over AL West-leading Oakland.
The Rangers had scored only eight runs during what was the longest active skid in the majors, and all six losses came at home.
Cruz’s second homer was a two-run shot onto the hill in straightaway center field on an 0-2 pitch from Jesse Chavez (1-1) in the fifth. Cruz added a run-scoring double in the seventh.
Neal Cotts (3-1) went 2 1-3 perfect innings in relief of rookie Nick Tepesch. Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers each worked 1-2-3 innings, then Joe Nathan secured his 21st save in 22 chances.
ROYALS 2, INDIANS 1
CLEVELAND — Pinch-runner Elliot Johnson scored from third base on a wild pitch by reliever Matt Albers in the ninth inning, giving Kansas City a win over Cleveland.
Johnson sprinted home and slid in safely after Albers’ pitch got under catcher Carlos Santana and went all the way to the backstop.
Aaron Crow (3-2) struck out two after putting the potential go-ahead run at third in the eighth. Greg Holland stranded the tying run at third in the ninth for his 15th save in 17 tries.
Bryan Shaw (0-1) couldn’t protect a 1-0 lead for Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, charged with just one run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings.
BLUE JAYS 2, ROCKIES 0
TORONTO — Maicer Izturis hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and Toronto won its sixth consecutive game with a victory over Colorado.
Josh Johnson struck out a season-high 10 over 7 1-3 innings but remained winless in seven starts with Toronto, having received only 13 runs of support. Johnson allowed five hits and walked two, lowering his ERA from 5.40 to 4.38.
Brett Cecil (3-0) escaped an eighth-inning jam and Casey Janssen finished for his 14th save.
Rajai Davis singled off reliever Matt Belisle (4-4) to start the eighth-inning rally, just the second hit of the game for the Blue Jays.
REDS 4, PIRATES 1
CINCINNATI — Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier hit upper-deck homers off left-hander Francisco Liriano, and the Cincinnati Reds moved a season-high 15 games over .500 by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Monday night.
The Reds hit four solo homers in all, extending their best start since 1995, the last time they won a playoff series.
Cozart connected in the fourth and Frazier in the sixth off Liriano (5-3), who hadn’t allowed a homer in his seven previous starts. He opened the season on the disabled list, recovering from a broken right arm last December.
Joey Votto and Jay Bruce connected in the eighth off Bryan Morris.
Mike Leake (7-3) extended the best stretch of his four-year career, giving up six hits — including Russell Martin’s RBI double — in seven innings.
PHILLIES 5, NATIONALS 4
PHILADELPHIA — Domonic Brown hit an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Phillies beat the Nationals.
The Nationals tied it at 4 when Chad Tracy hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth off closer Jonathan Papelbon (1-0). It was the first blown save for Papelbon, who had converted his previous 13 chances.
Ben Revere led off the Phillies’ ninth with a single against Fernando Abad (0-2). Revere was running on Jimmy Rollins’ one-out single and easily reached third base.
Abad struck out pinch-hitter Steven Lerud for the second out before Brown fisted the winning hit to center. Papelbon was the first player to greet Brown in celebration as he was rounding first base.
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