Tigers' Scherzer mows down Pirates in win
DETROIT — One after another, Pirates batters walked to the plate Thursday, took some swings, then turned and walked away.
Half of their plate appearances against Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer resulted in strikeouts.
Scherzer racked up a season-high 14 strikeouts, as the Tigers beat the Pirates, 5-2.
“He pitched like a Cy Young Award winner,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “The fastball maintained finish through the zone. The two-seamer, the four-seamer, the breaking ball played extremely well against right-handers. The changeup worked against left-handers.”
It was Scherzer's biggest strikeout spree since May 20, 2012, when he fanned a career-best 15 against the Pirates.
This time, Scherzer (14-4) went eight innings and gave up three hits and walked two. He threw 121 pitches.
Scherzer joined Mickey Lolich as the only Tigers pitchers to pitch eight scoreless innings, amass 14 strikeouts and allow three or fewer hits.
Scherzer outdueled Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano (3-9), who struck out nine and gave up three hits in six innings.
“I got a lot of swings and misses,” Liriano said. “I wasn't trying to do too much, just locate pitches. I was using all my pitches.”
J.D. Martinez produced the first Tigers' two runs. He hit a solo home run in the fifth inning and walked with the bases loaded in the sixth.
In the eighth, Miguel Cabrera doubled and scored on a throwing error by second baseman Michael Martinez. Nick Castellanos added a two-run single off reliever Brandon Cumpton to make it 5-0.
Those add-on runs were huge. Gaby Sanchez smacked a pinch-hit, two-run homer off Phil Coke in the ninth inning. It was Sanchez's first home run since May 26.
Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer left the game after the seventh inning due to tightness in his right forearm. He said he first noticed it while throwing between innings.
“It started out just being something I felt in my forearm,” Mercer said. “Then, as I continued to throw, it really started tightening up. It was out of the blue. I've never had forearm problems before.”
It was the sixth time in 25 starts this season that Scherzer notched double-digit strikeouts. This year, he became the first pitcher in Tigers history to have at least seven Ks in each of his first seven starts.
The first seven outs Scherzer recorded were strikeouts. The eighth out was the back end of a double play: Chris Stewart was caught trying to steal second base when Martinez muffed a hit-and-run by taking a called third strike.
After Stewart was nabbed, Gregory Polanco ended the third inning by whiffing on an 0-2 slider in the dirt.
In the first inning, Scherzer thew 14 pitches — 11 fastballs and three sliders. In the second, he mixed in some changeups to wipe out Pedro Alvarez. By the fourth, Scherzer also was breaking off obscene curveballs to thoroughly confound the batters.
Despite all of the strikeouts, the Pirates had two scoring chances against Scherzer. Starling Marte doubled with one out in the second, and Travis Snider doubled to lead off the fourth. Neither runner made it any further.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Behind Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Diamondbacks
- Crosby, Malkin want to remain in Pittsburgh
- Injured Penguins optimistic about returning next season
- McCain renews push to have military, not CIA, manage drone strikes
- Boy, 15, charged with firing shots in Brighton Heights
- McKees Rocks fire displaces 2 residents
- Israel thwarts terrorist attack
- Penguins notebook: Crosby to play in worlds for 1st time since 2006
- United States aided rebels in Caucasus, Russian President Putin claims
- NASA head tells Pitt grads their generation will ‘walk the face of Mars’
- Spirit Airlines lifts fortunes of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport