Max Scherzer's winning streak is over, out-pitched by Texas Rangers starter Derek Holland in a 7-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Scherzer's streaks of 13 wins to start the season and 19 starts without a loss came to an end.
Holland (8-4) pitched around five walks and five hits, holding the Tigers to just one run over seven innings. The Rangers' bullpen shut down the Tigers in the last two innings as their offense put the game away late.
Losing his first regular season game since September 23, 2012, Scherzer (13-1) allowed four runs on eight hits, striking out six in six innings. The Rangers tacked on three runs off Al Alburquerque in the ninth inning to to put the game on ice.
Nelson Cruz led the Rangers' offense with four hits, two runs and an RBI. Adrian Beltre had three hits, including a ninth inning home run, Mitch Moreland also going deep for the Rangers.
The Tigers' offense, once again punchless against left-handers, could only muster six hits. The lone Tigers' run scoring on Hernan Perez's single, his first career RBI.
Top of one, Scherzer struck out the side in impressive fashion. But the Rangers did have a pair of two out singles from Nelson Cruz and Andian Beltre before A.J. Pierzynski whiffed on three pitches to end the mini-threat.
Torii Hunter had the Tigers' first hit, a one out single in the first. Miguel Cabrera was unintentionally intentionally walked, moving Hunter into scoring position. Prince Fielder's bid for an opposite field home run fell a few feet short of the bullpen, but Hunter turned it into a sacrifice fly by taking third. But Holland was able to retire the smoking hot Victor Martinez to end the inning. Both teams had stranded a pair of runners in the opening frame.
With two down in the second, Jurickson Profar hit Scherzer with a line drive which somehow managed to miss his pitching hand, yet carom off his left forearm. Scherzer quickly gathered himself and threw Profar out to end the inning.
Scherzer immediately entered the clubhouse for treatment, but was back on the mound to start the third inning. What was likely a bruised left forearm or wrist didn't affect Scherzer in the least, retiring the Rangers in order.
In the bottom half of the third, the Tigers loaded the bases with two out. After one was down, Austin Jackson walked, taking second on Hunter's single. Cabrera hit a line drive to Cruz in right, and dropped the ball while transferring to his throwing hand. The umps made the correct call, the ball was caught for the second out. Holland wild pitched the runners ahead 90 feet before issuing his second walk of the inning. Fielder received the free pass, loading the bases for Martinez.
Holland pitched out of the jam by striking out Martinez on a pitch out of the zone. In his two at bats against Holland, Martinez had stranded three runners in scoring position with two outs.
Dodging a bullet in the third, the Rangers countered by scoring the first run of the game. Cruz led off the fourth inning with a double, advancing to third on a ground ball, coming home on Pierzynski's sacrifice fly. Just as it looked as Scherzer would get out of the inning relatively unscathed, he walked Elvis Andrus. The walk extended the inning, which ended up costing Scherzer two runs. Mitch Moreland took Scherzer to the opposite field for a two run home run and 3-0 Rangers lead. The big fly was number 13 on the season for Moreland.
Profar kept the inning alive with the Rangers' third extra base hit in six batters, legging out a bloop double to short left. David Murphy beat out an infield hit, Scherzer starting to bleed from paper consecutive paper cuts. Ian Kinsler flew out to left to finally bring the inning to an end. But the Rangers had sent eight to the plate, scoring three runs on four hits, a walk, a sacrifice fly and a big two run homer off the bat of Moreland.
The Tigers countered the Rangers' three runs with a rally of their own in the bottom half of the fourth. Jhonny Peralta bounced a lead off single past a lunging Beltre, then stole his third base of the season to move into scoring position. Holland proceeded to issue his fourth base on balls of the night, walking Matt Tuiasosopo.
While Mitch Williams calling for the bunt on the FOX broadcast, Brayan Pena bounced into a pitcher's best friend instead, a 6-4-3 double play. It would be the Tigers' number nine hitter who would come through with the big two out run scoring hit, Hernan Perez singling to center for his first career RBI. Peralta crossed the plate, pulling the Tigers within two at 3-1. Jackson ended the inning with a not very good at bat, striking out swinging on three pitches, the last pitch in the dirt.
Scherzer walked Leonys Martín leading off the fifth, leading to another trouble filled inning. Martin stole second, advancing to third on an awful throw by Pena, all Peralta could do was watch the ball skip into center field. Scherzer looked as if he would get out of the jam, striking out Cruz, Beltre bouncing out to short with the infield pulled in.
But another paper cut would make it a 4-1 game. Pierzynski dropped a duck snort just inside the left field line for an RBI bloop double. He couldn't have walked the ball out to left and placed it any better.Andrus would fly out to end the inning, Scherzer's pitch count at an elevated 101.
The free passes were bedeviling Scherzer. The last two Rangers to draw walks would come around to score.
In the meantime, the Tigers were being bedeviled by another left-handed pitcher. Holland got out of the fifth on another double play, this one off the bat of Fielder. Despite allowing five hits and four walks, Holland had held the Tigers to just the one run through five innings. Compared to Scherzer's elevated pitch count, Holland was at an economical 66 pitches.
If I'm the opposition, I'm calling them up every lefty I have in the system to face the Tigers.
Scherzer remained on the mound for what would be his last inning, the sixth. Murphy reached on a two out single, but Scherzer got out of the inning on a nice defensive play by Perez. Scherzer deflected Kinsler's comebacker, Perez making the adjustment to make the play and step on the bag for the inning ending force.
Scherzer's night was over after six innings and 122 pitches. Down 4-1as the pitcher of record, it would be up to the Tigers' bats to keep Scherzer undefeated. They didn't do their part in the bottom of the sixth, going down 1-2-3 on SEVEN pitches.
Luke Putkonen took over for Scherzer and could only retire one of the three Rangers he faced. After Cruz and Beltre reached on back-to-back singles, Jim Leyland called on Phil Coke to face the lefty swinging Pierzynski. Expecting the worst, we got something unexpected. What Coke did do was inducce Pierzynski to bounce into an inning ending 6-4-3 twin killing.
Bottom of seven, Jackson walked with two down. Then Torii Hunter, having a season full of questionable decision making, made a horrific one. He tried to bunt his way on, resulting in an easy, inning ending out for Holland. WHAT THE HELL? Small ball in that situation is ridiculous. In fact, it was just plain stupid, especially with the best hitter on the planet standing on deck.
Leyland decided to live dangerously (or was attempting what he had said earlier in the week, "Phil Coke needs to get Phil Coke going.") leaving Coke in the game to pitch the eighth. He retired the side 1-2-3. For the first time since June 18, a stretch of nine appearances, Coke did not allow a base runner.
Ron Washington pulled Holland after seven excellent innings and only 95 pitches, replaced by right-hander Joakim Soria. Fielder reached on a one out bloop single, but that was all the Tigers could muster. The big man was stranded, the Tigers still down 4-1 going into the ninth.
Al Alburquerque pitched the ninth for the Tigers, once again the walk and an inability to stop teams from stealing leading to a run. Kinsler walked with one down, then stole second without a throw with two out. Then Perez made a rookie mistake, which cost the Tigers a run.
Cruz dribbled a bouncer up the middle. Perez got tho the ball, then tried to make a play where there wasn't one. Perez tied to flip the ball to Peralta, but only succeeded in tossing the ball away, allowing Kinsler to score the fifth Rangers run.
Beltre then made it all moot. He took Alburquerque yard to the opposite field, clearing the right field wall at the 365' mark for a two run homer. Beltre's 21st home run of the season closed the door on the Tigers and Max Scherzer's streak, putting the Rangers up 7-1.
The game well in hand, Washington sat down closer Joe Nathan, who had been warming up..He went with the sure thing instead, that being another left-handed pitcher. Lefty Neal Cotts retired the Tigers in order.
Game over. Scherzer's streak over. Your final score is Rangers 7, Tigers 1.
Wins and losses depend on more than just the arm of the starting pitcher. Scherzer had pitched worse during his 13 win, 19 start streak and won. He's pitched far better and received a no-decision. Normally Scherzer is the recipient of the best run support in the game, tonight the Tigers' bats didn't live up to their half of the bargain. Given just one run of support, Scherzer never really had a chance at remaining undefeated.
The Tigers continue to have trouble crossing the ten wins over .500 barrier, the loss dropping their record to 51-42 on the season. Their lead in the Central shrinks to 1 1/2 games, as the Indians have won three straight, handling the Royals for a second straight game.
The Tigers and Rangers reach baseball's official halfway point in Sunday's series finale. Left-hander Martin Perez (3-1, 2.08 ERA) takes the mound for the Rangers, Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.71 ERA) gets the start for the Tigers. Perez is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his last four starts since being recalled from Triple-A. Verlander is looking for a little revenge, his May 16 start against the Rangers was the worst of his career, allowing eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. First pitch at Comerica Park is scheduled for 1:08.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
One Tigers farmhand will be in Sunday's Futures Game lineup:
Toledo @MudHens' Jordan Lennerton batting sixth and starting at first base for Team World in tomorrow's Futures Game.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) July 13, 2013
That's nice and all for Lennerton, but a 27 year old career minor leaguer who is not considered a prospect by the Tigers being selected for the Futures Game defeats the purpose.
Party in the press box tonight!
Mitch Williams is doing color on the Tigers broadcast. First Bert Blyleven, now Wild Thing? It's official. FOX hates Tigers fans. Williams spent the game talking about how much he hates pitch counts.
Comments like this in regard to MLB Gameday being slow to update is why you should follow Mlive's Chris Iott on Twitter:
The game's over. RT @MHelmer15 How long of a delay is it?— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) July 13, 2013
Max Scherzer struck out the side in the opening inning. This will put Scherzer's excellent season in perspective while reminding us of the bad old days of 2003:
Next strikeout will give Max 150 on the season. 10 years ago Bonderman led the Tigers with 108 over the entire season.— Shawn (@DetTigerTalk) July 13, 2013
Justin Verlander and Wild Thing agree, Max Scherzer should start the All-Star Game.
An excellent view of Scherzer's mechanics:
Animated: Max Scherzer's changeup & fastball deliveries side-by-side http://t.co/V0R4tdgpUE— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) July 14, 2013
Scherzer's heavy 122 pitch workload will limit how long he can pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game. Odds are Jim Leyland will hold his meal ticket to one inning of All-Star work.
Scherzer did keep one streak alive tonight.
Scherzer's strikeout of Profar in the 6th was his sixth K of game. Scherzer raises streak to 19 straight games with at least 6 Ks.— George Sipple (@GeorgeSipple) July 14, 2013
Tonight was not one of Scherzer's better starts, but when eight hits is the most you've given up in almost a year, the bar is set pretty damn high.
Scherzer gave up eight hits, the most he's allowed in a start since August 10, 2012, also against the Rangers. #Tigers— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) July 14, 2013
The reaction to Torii Hunter's seventh inning bunt was swift and damning.
FOR A QUALITY VETERAN HITTER THAT WAS PRETTY GODDAMN STUPID— Grey (@spacemnkymafia) July 14, 2013
The guy is batting over .300, but LET'S DO SOMETHING I NEVER DO WELL AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS— Bryan Craves (@DisplacedTgrFan) July 14, 2013
I mean seriously you just handed them the final out of the inning.— very NIPPLE EXCITED (@catswithbats) July 14, 2013
Smooth, Torii.— Tokarz (@tokarzontigers) July 14, 2013
Torii, why did you bunt there? "Ahhhh." I mean, Cabrera was on deck. "Ahhh." Does that seem wise? "Hot tamale!"— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 14, 2013
Not sure what Torii Hunter's strategy was on the bunt. But if you're batting .300-plus and Cabrera's on-deck -- the bunt was craaaazzzzyyy.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) July 14, 2013
The game thread was just as stunned:
OMG, why would you do that? It’s
After the game, even Hunter agreed, saying he was "pissed" for leaving Cabrera in the on-deck circle.
Said that Holland saw him shift to bunt and threw a back-door slider that Hunter mildly rolled to Holland. Not happy with himself ...— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) July 14, 2013
On a more positive note, Scherzer had X-rays taken on his left wrist, which came back negative. But the injury was an ongoing issue.
#Tigers Scherzer: The first 2 innings after it happened, they were icing it, rubbing the ice on top of it to try to keep the swelling down.— Dana Wakiji (@FSDwakiji) July 14, 2013
#Tigers Scherzer: We were able to keep the swelling down, but you couldn't get away from the soreness that was in there.— Dana Wakiji (@FSDwakiji) July 14, 2013
Phil Coke: Four up, four down. Tonight was his best outing in over a month.
Hernan Perez: Gets a ROAR for his first career RBI. Unfortunately, it was the only RBI of the night for the Tigers. Perez does need to lean to not try to make a play when there is none, as we saw in the ninth.
Torii Hunter: The only Tiger with two hits, but...
Torii Hunter: I'm at a complete loss for words over the bunt. It didn't cost the Tigers the game, but it sure as Hell didn't help the situation.
Victor Martinez: Martinez was bound to cool off sooner or later, tonight was the game. Hitless in four at bats, left six on base, three in scoring position with two out.
Al Alburquerque: Allowed two runs on three hits, one a home run, and a walk. Nothing has changed, Alburquerque is still the same pitcher he was before he was sent down.
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TOP TEN COMMENTERS:
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The trigger man of the Tigers' offense had an adventurous game on the base paths. But Torii Hunter also added two hits, scored two runs while driving in another to take the PotG vote with 46%.