DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer joined some elite company following another superb performance his last time out.
He could, however, have his hands full against a Boston Red Sox team that’s given him trouble over the years.
Scherzer tries to stay unbeaten as the Tigers continue a four-game set against the visiting Red Sox on Saturday night.
Second in the AL in opponents’ batting average (.189) and strikeouts (116), Scherzer (10-0, 3.08 ERA) had everything working again Monday. The right-hander allowed one run and struck out 10 over six innings in a 5-1 win over Baltimore.
“He’s at the top of his game pretty much,” manager Jim Leyland said.
Scherzer became the first starter to win his first 10 decisions since Roger Clemens went 11-0 with Toronto in 1997. He’s also the first to record at least six strikeouts in each of his first 14 outings since Pedro Martinez did so with Boston in 2001.
“That tickles me when you say those type of names,” he said.
Scherzer wrote his name into the team record books, too, becoming the second Tigers starter to go 10-0. George Mullin opened a franchise-best 11-0 in 1909.
“You have to savor this a little bit because of the history of this organization,” Scherzer, who’s posted a 1.93 ERA over his last six outings, told MLB’s official website. “It’s special to be 10-0. But at the end of the day, I don’t measure my success on being 10-0. I measure my success on everything else I do on the mound.”
Though he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, Scherzer could run into trouble against the Red Sox (45-31). He’s 1-3 over six starts versus Boston while compiling a 9.21 ERA, by far his highest against any team he’s faced more than once.
David Ortiz is 6 for 10 with two homers against Scherzer, and Dustin Pedroia has also taken him deep twice. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury are a combined 8 for 15 with two home runs.
The Red Sox had a big day at the plate Friday, winning 10-6 behind 17 hits. Shane Victorino, who went 4 for 5 with a homer and tied a career high with five RBIs, is 11 for 22 with three homers and eight RBIs in five career games against the Tigers (40-32).
“They’re a good lineup – put the ball in play and did what they needed to do to put up runs,” losing pitcher Doug Fister said.
Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 4 with a three-run homer for Detroit, which has dropped three of four while surrendering 50 hits and 31 runs. Cabrera is 14 for 28 with two homers during a seven-game hitting streak.
The Tigers try to bounce back against Allen Webster (0-1, 11.74), who’s expected to be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. He gave up eight runs in 1 2-3 innings during his second big league outing, a 15-8 loss to Minnesota on May 8.
“He got predictable against a good fastball-hitting team,” manager John Farrell said. “I think he learned an important lesson, or at least one challenging experience, that I’m sure served him well as he continues to develop.”
The right-hander went 4-1 with a 3.16 ERA over his last six starts with Pawtucket.
“Much better command (of late),” Farrell added. “And particularly to his fastball. He’s worked deeper into games. He’s been a little bit more efficient. … We’re looking forward to seeing him here Saturday.”
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