Tigers 3, Mets 0: Chasing MLB history, Max Scherzer uses both arm and bat in raising record to 19-1

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer out pitched Matt Harvey, holding the Mets scoreless over six innings to become the third pitcher in MLB history to win 19 of his first 20 decisions. Scherzer also drove in the Tigers' first run with a second inning double.


Final - 8.24.2013 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 15 0
New York Mets 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
WP: Max Scherzer (19 - 1)
SV: Joaquin Benoit (17)
LP: Matt Harvey (9 - 5)

Taking on phenom Matt Harvey, Max Scherzer was looking for win number 19 on the season. A victorious Scherzer was dominant, out pitching Harvey while shutting down the New York Mets in a 3-0 Detroit Tigers' win. Scherzer joins Rogers Clemens and Rube Marquard as the only pitchers in MLB history to win 19 of their first 20 decisions.

As good as Scherzer (19-1) was, he did need help to reach the 19 win milestone. Even though he allowed just three hits, striking out 11 over six innings, Scherzer walked a season high four while tossing 118 pitches. Jose Alvarez and Jose Veras took over, combining to pitch two scoreless innings, bridging the gap to closer Joaquin Benoit. Benoit earned his 17th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Tigers tagged Harvey (9-5) for a career high 13 hits, but were held to just two runs in his 6 2/3 innings of work. The Mets needed four relievers to get through the final 2 1/3 innings, Gonzalez Germen giving up the final Tigers' run.

The Tigers outhit the Mets by a huge amount, 15-3. Scherzer contributed at the plate as well, driving in the first run of the game with a second inning double. Austin Jackson added an RBI single in the second, Don Kelly capping off the scoring with a ninth inning sacrifice fly.

Nearly all the Mets' offense was supplied by one player. Ike Davis reached base three times on a pair of singles and a walk.

Much like game one of the series, it was a workmanlike win for the Tigers. Save for a base loaded jam in the sixth which Scherzer marvelously pitched out of, the Tigers were never in serious danger. They weren't able to convert on all their opportunities, as shown by 12 left on base and scoring only three runs on 15 hits, But three runs were more than enough when Scherzer and the bullpen are on their game.

Top of the first, Matt Harvey was greeted with back-to-back one out singles off the bats of Omar Infante and Miguel Cabrera. Infante advanced to third when Prince Fielder just got under a Harvey fastball, flying out to deep center. In need of a two out hit, the Tigers didn't get it from a badly slumping Matt Tuiasosopo, bouncing into an easy 6-4 fielder's choice to extinguish the threat.

Max Scherzer began his quest for win number 19 by falling behind lead off man Eric Young 3-0, but quickly settled in to retire the Mets in order.

"I'm pretty jealous of him right now." -Justin Verlander, hitless for his career, when asked about Max Scherzer

Leading off the second, Andy Dirks' line drive found the gap in right center for a stand up double. Brayan Pena, making his first start since injuring his big toe late in Wednesday's game, followed with a looping single to left center. Dirks played it halfway, forced to hold at third.

Two on and no one out, Ramon Santiago popped up to shallow left. Amazingly, it would be Scherzer who would pick up Santiago, helping his own cause. The Mets' outfield playing extremely shallow, Scherzer squared up to bunt on Harvey's first pitch, taking it for ball one. The second pitch was a knee high fastball placed nicely over the plate. Scherzer ripped a line shot just over the glove of shortstop Omar Quintanilla, splitting outfielders Young and Juan Lagares. By the time Byrd ran the ball down short of the waring track and got it back in, Dirks crossed the plate, Pena had lumbered to third and a broadly smiling Scherzer was standing on second with an RBI double.

Scherzer_medium

Austin Jackson's ground ball found the hole in the left side. Quintanilla laid out to keep the ball in the infield, but had no play. Pena scored, everyone was safe, Jackson credited with an RBI infield single to put the Tigers up 2-0.

Runners on the corners, Harvey would pitch his way out of further trouble, Infante and Cabrera bouncing out to end the frame. But the Tigers had scored twice on four hits off the Mets' ace.

After his adventures on the base paths, Scherzer backed up his big RBI double by tossing a shutdown bottom of the second. After Ike Davis led off with the Mets' first hit, a single to center, Scherzer merely struck out the side.

The Tigers put a runner in scoring position for the third straight inning, Tuiasosopo and Dirks lining one out singles to center. Harvey pitched his way out of another jam, striking out Pena and Santiago, once again, popping up to kill the threat. The Tigers almost caught a break as Young collided with Quintanilla, but the Mets' shortstop held on to the ball.

While the Tigers were making Harvey work (eight hits through three innings), Scherzer was protecting his two run lead by turning on beast mode. He wasn't just mowing down Mets, but striking them out in bunches. Between Davis' lead off single in the second and drawing a two iout walk in the fourth, Scherzer struck out seven of the eight Mets he faced. Wilmer Flores bounced into an unassisted fielder's choice to Infante, forcing Davis to end the fourth.

While Scherzer was getting everyone but Davis out, the pitcher's duel everyone anticipated finally started taking shape. After Dirks' one out single in the second, Harvey had set down eight straight Tigers through the fifth, including a three pitch strikeout of Cabrera.

Bottom of five, the Mets were able to work the count. Lagares battled to a 12 pitch lead off walk, Scherzer not getting a borderline 3-2 call. John Buck fought to a 3-2 count before flying out. Two down, Scherzer nibbled instead of going after Harvey, going to a full count before walking him. Though it also appeared home plate umpire Jeff Nelson had shrunk the strike zone, Scherzer getting nothing out of the outside corner.

Two on and two out, a tough 32 pitch inning finally came to an end when Young swung though a 78 MPH off-speed pitch for Scherzer's ninth K of the afternoon. The Mets were still without a run and only owned one hit, but Scherzer's pitch count through five was an elevated 97. It was looking more and more like a short-handed Tigers' bullpen (Drew Smyly and Bruce Rondon were not available) would need to give Jim Leyland three innings.

Harvey's out streak ended when Dirks singled for the third time leading off the sixth. He advanced to second on Pena's ground out, but neither Santiago or Scherzer could get a hit with runners in scoring position, both bounding out to end another threat.

Bottom of six, and Scherzer seemingly tiring ,Daniel Murphy led off with the Mets' second hit of the game, singling through the left side. One out, Davis doubled over the head of Dirks, Murphy holding at third. Scherzer proceeded to walk the bases loaded, issuing a four pitch free pass to Flores.

Bases loaded and no one out, despite Scherzer looking gassed and in deep trouble, Leyland elected to keep his started in the game. It proved to be the correct decision. Scherzer blew a fastball by Lagares for the second out, then completed his Houdini act when Buck popped up the first pitch he saw. Santiago hauled in the pop up, ending Scherzer's day after six innings and 118 pitches.

Harvey found himself in need of his own Houdini act in seventh. Infante and Cabrera led off the inning with back-to-back singles. He got it, with help from Tiger's third base coach Tom Brookens. Fielder slapped a single through the left side, Brookens sending Infante in spite of Young coming up to throw just as he was rounding third base.

Infante was out by ten feet. OK, maybe five. Either way, not a smart call by Brookens, especially when you factor in Infante's ankle issues.

The Tigers almost ran themselves completely out of the inning after Tuiasosopo sent a cue shot through the right side. A still gimpy Cabrera held up at third after taking a big turn. Fielder, running with his head down, didn't notice third was still occupied until he was halfway there. The big man was able to scramble back to second when Byrd's throw went to the plate.

The bases loaded with one out, Harvey's day was over after 6 2/3 innings, two runs and a career high 13 hits.

Then the incompetent human element took over, costing the Tigers a run.

Lefty Scott Rice on the mound, Leyland countered with Torii Hunter pinch hitting for Dirks. Hunter sent a comebacker which glanced off the glove of Rice, Quintanilla grabbing the deflection and flipping to second. Even though Tuiasosopo was already on the bag, and the guys in the broadcast booth giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead because he was obviously safe, second base umpire Ed Hickox called him out. Replays confirmed what the naked eye already knew, the call was badly blown.

Safe_medium

Instead of a two out, the bases loaded and a 3-0 lead, the inning was over.

Bottom of seven, Jose Alvarez made his first appearance after being called up to replace Phil Coke, taking over for Scherzer. Alvarez had a nice debut as a reliever, tossing a 1-2-3 inning. With two down, Young appeared to have beaten out a chopper to short, but the Tigers might have gotten a make up call for the third out. Unfortunately, FOX never gave us a replay.

Right-hander Gonzalez Germen pitched the eighth for the Mets, the Tigers once again going down in order. Alverez flew out to end the inning, Leyland needing his reliever to hit because he used up his bullpen Friday night (in a 6-1 game).

An excellent outing for Alvarez ended after retiring four straight Mets, Leyland calling for Jose Veras with one out and no one on in the bottom of the eighth. Leyland allowed Alvarez to hit because he was needed for one batter in the eighth?

Regardless, the move worked. Veras got the final two outs needed to end the eighth, the Tigers entering the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead.

Looking to add an insurance run, the top of the Tigers' order went to work in the ninth against Germen. Jackson and Infante led off, putting runners on the corners with back-to-back singles. Looking to increase his MLB RBI lead, Cabrera swung at the first pitch, which is usually a successful strategy. Not this time. In a rare failure with runners in scoring position, Cabrera popped up for the first out.

Playing the percentages, Mets manager Terry Collins wanted a lefty out of the pen to face Fielder. Pedro Feliciano proceeded to plunk the tigers' slugger, loading the bases for Don Kelly, who had taken over left field for Tuiasosopo in the eighth. In spite a facing a lefty, Donnie Baseball overcame the odds and did the job. His sacrifice fly to right center plated Jackson without a throw, the Tigers pushing their lead to 3-0.

The Mets' revolving bullpen door working to full effect, Collins called on his fourth reliever, right-hander Scott Atchison. He ended the inning on hunter's comebacker. But in scoring for the first tine since the second inning, the Tigers were up 3-0, giving closer Joaquin Benoit an important insurance run.

Benoit had one of the easier saves you'll ever see. needing just eight pitches to slam the door on the Mets in 1-2-3 fashion.

GAME OVER. Your final score is Tigers 3, Mets 0.

Max Scherzer continues to make baseball history, raising his record to a ridiculously good 19-1.

The win raises the Tigers' record to 76-53 (.589) on the season. After an 18-8 July (.692), the Tigers are 15-8 (.652) in the month of August. The Indians and Royals both have Saturday night games, currently 6 1/2 and 11 games back in the Central, respectively.

In Sunday's series finale, Rick Porcello (9-7, 4.52 ERA) takes on Mets' right-hander Dillon Gee (9-8, 3.60 ERA). Porcello has pitched quite well for the past six plus weeks, posting a 5-1 record and 3.31 ERA in his last eight starts. But in his last appearance, Porcello gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings to the Twins, suffering his first loss since June 30. Gee, the Mets' number two starter, has been excellent over the past two months with a 4-1 record and 2.10 ERA over his last ten starts. Gee also faced the Twins in his last start, holding them to one run and six hits in 7 2/3 innings. Getaway day first pitch is 1:10 PM.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

Today's Max Scherzer - Matt Harvey match up made MLB history.

Too bad the vast majority of fans couldn't see it, being they were shown the Dodgers - Red Sox game.

Mario Impemba had the day off, but Rod Allen was in the TV booth for FOX. FOX network Rod is a little different than FSD Rod.

The blackout policies of FOX and MLB serve little purpose but to piss fans off.

Acutally, consider yourself lucky if you were blacked out of the game Mitch Williams was calling, Athletics - Orioles. You missed bon mots such as...

Max Scherzer stunned the world with his RBI double off one of the best pitchers in the NL.

No one was happier with Scherzer's hitting prowess than his teammates, who exploded after his RBI double.

Dugout_medium

THREE ROARS:

Max Scherzer: Scherzer was brilliant for four innings, then had to battle to get through two more. But holding the Mets scoreless for six innings on three hits and 11 strikeouts is a nice way to get win number 19 on the season.

Andy Dirks: Dirks owned Harvey, necking out three hits along with scoring a run.

Jose Alvarez: Making his first appearance in relief after replacing Phil Coke in the pen, Alvarez retired all four Mets he faced.

BONUS ROARS:

Omar Infante: Three hits out of the two spot raises Infante's batting average to a robust .319.

The Tigers fan setting in the first row: Instead of going after a foul pop up, he smartly got out of the way.  This allowed Cabrera to make the play, ending the eighth inning.

Smart_fan_medium

THREE HISSES:

Letting Mets' pitching off the hook: The first six in the Tigers' batting order combined for 13 hits in 26 at bats, yet only drove in two runs. It was Scherzer, of all Tigers, who broke the ice with an RBI double.

The human element: Umpiring was frustrating for both sides.

Tom Brookens: Infante was a dead to rights if he tried to score on Fielder's seventh inning single. Brookens sent him anyway.

BONUS HISS:

FOX and MLB: Their blackout policies are beyond absurd.

ROLL CALL:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 996
Total commenters 44
Commenter list Amish Houdini, AwesomeJackson, BadCompany22, BigAl, Brion, Canadian Molasses Runner, Designated for Assignment, DetroitSports, GWilson, Grand Rapids Howie, Grzesio, House by the Side of the Road, J_the_Man, Jacob30, JerseyTigerFan, KGW, Kurt Mensching, MSUDersh, MakeItTrizzle, Michigan&TrumbullinLA, NCDee, Nonsuch Ned, RealityIsOptionable, RedWingedLigerFan, RossandRachelforever, SanDiegoMick, Scherzerblueeye, SpartanHT, Thorpac, Tigerdog1, TomduhB, Verlanderful, WestsideTigersfan, XFizzle, aelix, ahtrap, brywalker, josejose50, lesmanalim, melliemacker, mrsunshine, rock n rye, sauce1977, swish330
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/8/24/4654104/game-129-tigers-at-mets-4-05-p-mhttp://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/8/24/4655108/game-129-overflow

TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 RedWingedLigerFan 129
2 SpartanHT 98
3 Michigan&TrumbullinLA 96
4 Tigerdog1 76
5 sauce1977 60
6 JerseyTigerFan 60
7 SanDiegoMick 56
8 NCDee 47
9 swish330 42
10 Verlanderful 38

TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
6 NCDee And Little AudreyYC goes home a happy girl!!!!
3 RedWingedLigerFan FATALITY!
2 sauce1977 [no title]
2 Verlanderful How do you spell relief?
2 NCDee [no title]
2 Michigan&TrumbullinLA "Step onto the golden shores of the overflow..."
2 SpartanHT Overflows. Detroit Tigers
2 SpartanHT 19 wins for MAX Power

GAME 128 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Miguel Cabrera all but shut the door on the Mets with his three run homer in the second inning, giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead. Cabrera ended hs night with two hits, a run scored and three RBIs, taking the BYB PotG balloting with 60% of the vote.

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