By CURTIS CRABTREE/Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) – The Detroit Tigers and reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer are in a bit of a slump.
Scherzer (6-2) was handed his first loss in nearly two months in a 4-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Mariners rookie Roenis Elias held Detroit to just three hits and only put one runner in scoring position.
“I just thought we were flat (offensively),” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “It was just one of those days where we made quick, easy outs and didn’t put up much of a fight.”
“Today was as flat as we’ve been all year, for sure.”
Elias (4-4) struck out eight and walked one in his 12th major league start, and the first one to last longer than seven innings.
“He had all his secondary stuff,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I thought his changeup was exceptional. He kept the fastball down for the most part. Pitched in and out. The curveball was good as well, but I thought the changeup was the equalizer today.”
Elias is the first Mariners rookie to record a shutout since Freddy Garcia on Aug. 24, 1999, against the Tigers.
The Tigers have lost 10 of their past 14 games.
“It’s disappointing,” Ausmus said. “You come into Seattle after splitting in Oakland and you hope to take the series. We ended up losing two of three and it turns into a losing trip as opposed to a winning trip. So I’m not really excited about that.”
Scherzer is also struggling.
Scherzer gave up four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings against the Mariners. He allowed seven runs to the Cleveland Indians and five runs to the Oakland Athletics in his previous starts, both no-decisions.
In his first nine starts, Scherzer had a 6-1 record with a 1.83 ERA. In his past three outings, Scherzer has allowed 16 earned runs with a 7.32 ERA. His ERA for the year has climbed to 3.20.
“There is part of the process I’m doing right,” Scherzer said. “When you are not walking guys and you are striking guys out, it’s a good thing. You wear this one on the chin and keep going.
Scherzer took his first loss since a 5-1 defeat by the San Diego Padres on April 13.
“They did a good job hitting some pitches that were up and capitalized on some off-speed mistakes that sailed up in the zone,” Scherzer said.
Endy Chavez hit a leadoff double in the Seattle first and Michael Saunders doubled for a 1-0 lead.
Willie Bloomquist and Chavez each singled in the third, putting runners at the corners with no outs. James Jones flied out, Saunders struck out and Bloomquist was thrown out at home plate on a double steal attempt.
In the fifth, Dustin Ackley led off with a single and stole second base. Bloomquist hit an RBI double and James singled home a run.
Brad Miller homered off Scherzer in the seventh to extend the lead to 4-0.
NOTES: Seattle 2B Robinson Cano was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game. He is day to day while dealing with a bone bruise on his left hand. … Jones was removed from the game for precautionary reasons in the eighth with tightness in his left groin. He was replaced defensively by Cole Gillespie. … Detroit C Bryan Holaday has thrown out just two of 10 runners who have tried to steal against him. Ackley and Jones both stole bases in the fifth inning for Seattle. … Seattle SS Miller homered for the first time since April 11 against Oakland, his fourth on the year. … Elias threw the first complete game shutout for Seattle since Aaron Harang on June 11, 2013, in a 4-0 win over the Houston Astros.
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