DETROIT – Max Scherzer will be hard-pressed to top his last outing for the Detroit Tigers, especially since he has to face Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in his next one.
Scherzer looks to improve to 7-0 on Sunday when the Tigers complete a four-game home series with the Minnesota Twins.
The right-hander retired 22 straight batters in one stretch as he yielded one run over eight innings Tuesday in a 5-1 victory at Cleveland. He struck out seven to push his season total to 75.
“That was pretty impressive,” manager Jim Leyland said. “He did a terrific job.”
Scherzer (6-0, 3.61 ERA) won for the first time in five career home starts against the Twins (19-27) on April 29 by limiting them to three runs over 7 1-3 innings with 10 strikeouts as he earned a 4-3 victory. Mauer and Morneau each went 0 for 3 in that contest.
Both hitters entered 2013 with good numbers against Scherzer, with Mauer 8 for 20 and Morneau 5 for 10 with three homers.
Scherzer has also been boosted by the second-best run support average in the majors at 8.23.
Detroit (27-20) had its four-game win streak snapped as Minnesota ended its 10-game slide with Saturday’s 3-2 victory. Mauer homered in a three-run first inning and finished with three hits.
“It feels good to get out from under that 10-gamer,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the third inning. “We got out to a quick start, and then we had to hold on for a long time against a really good team.”
Mauer is hitting .407 over 21 games since going hitless in five straight games for the first time in his career. He broke up Anibal Sanchez’s no-hit bid in the ninth inning Friday night.
“Mauer is Mauer,” said Detroit catcher Brayan Pena, who is 13 for 25 during a six-game hit streak. “Sometimes you make great pitches to him, and he still can hit you.”
The Twins also limited Miguel Cabrera to a single in four at-bats and no RBIs Saturday after the reigning AL MVP drove in 15 runs over his previous five games. Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and is batting .442 during that run.
Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey (3-4, 6.69) has pitched carefully to Cabrera, allowing three hits in 12 at-bats with six walks. Pelfrey threw 38 pitches over two innings Tuesday at Atlanta in a start cut short due to rain.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts against the Tigers this season. Prince Fielder is 6 for 17 against Pelfrey with a three-run homer this year following a walk to Cabrera.
Twins center fielder Wilkin Ramirez left Saturday’s game after a collision with left fielder Josh Willingham on a fly ball in the sixth inning. Aaron Hicks replaced Ramirez, who Gardenhire said has a sore jaw.
“I was worried about him,” Willingham told the Twins’ official website. “But I was talking to him the whole time, so I knew he was fine.”
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