Scherzer, Tigers shut down Indians
MAY 21, 2013 10:25p ET
With pitchers like Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister, Detroit's rotation isn't prone to extended slumps.
If one does get going, there's always Max Scherzer to shut it down.
Coming off a 3-1 series loss to Texas where his fellow starters struggled, Scherzer dominated first-place Cleveland on Tuesday night. After allowing a first-inning run, Scherzer retired the last 22 batters he faced. He finished his night with a flourish, striking out the side in the eighth inning.
"It was pretty boring in the outfield," Andy Dirks told FOX Sports Detroit's Shannon Hogan. "When's he got good fastball command, that's what Max does. He gave us a great game when we needed one."
Cleveland had won five straight, but couldn't do anything against Scherzer, who had his off-speed pitches to help a heater that was registering in the high-90s.
"He knew the eighth inning was going to be his last one, so he cranked it up to 98," Jim Leyland said. "He was just what the doctor ordered for us, and maybe a little more."
Scherzer didn't pitch in Texas, but also struggled in his last start. He gave up five runs in seven innings in a loss to Houston, and didn't look sharp out of the box against the Indians. But after he settled down, he looked like an ace.
"In the first inning, Michael Bourn led off with a single, and he's such a dangerous basestealer that I started speeding up and couldn't get into a rhythm," Scherzer said. "Once we got into the second, I was able to settle down and throw four pitches for strikes."
Scherzer credited a great deal of his success to catcher Alex Avila, who helped him keep Cleveland's hitters unbalanced.
"I thought we did a really nice of sequencing pitches," he said. "There were times where I threw three straight changeups or a breaking ball on a fastball count. With all four pitches going, we were able to use some unusual sequences, and it really helped."
Scherzer needed to be good, since the game was still 1-0 after five innings.
"I knew that if I could keep putting up zeroes, the offense would eventually get going," he said. "That's what ended up happening."
Dirks tied the game with a sixth-inning homer, and Detroit went ahead two batters later on a homer by, who else, Miguel Cabrera. This one, his fourth in two games, cleared the centerfield fence to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
"Dirksy hit a homer, I doubled and then the best hitter in baseball managed to hit a line drive over the centerfield fence," Torii Hunter said. "That's impressive."
Cabrera, a right-handed hitter, hit his first homer Sunday night more than 450 feet to right-centerfield. The next three have all been to dead centerfield.
"There aren't many guys who can do that," Leyland said. "That's why he is who he is."
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