Scherzer gives up four runs, takes first loss of 2013
Right-hander fans six over six innings, but offense comes up short
DETROIT -- Lucky No. 13 turned out to be quite the opposite for Max Scherzer, who took his first loss of the season in the Rangers' 7-1 win over the Tigers on Saturday night at Comerica Park in front of a sold-out crowd.
Scherzer (13-1) allowed a season-high eight hits, four earned runs and two walks in six innings while striking out six. He's struck out at least six batters in all 19 of his starts this season.
"I ran into a good team," Scherzer said. "They swung the bat well. I threw some good pitches, they hit it. I made some bad pitches, they hit it even further. That's what happens when you're not quite 100 percent on your game."
Scherzer had a scare in the second inning, when Jurickson Profar drilled a comebacker to the mound. Although Scherzer was about to move his pitching hand out of the way, the ball hit him in the left wrist before he was able to corral it and get the out at first.
"It got me right on the wrist, right on the bone," he said. "I was still able to pitch, and pitch effectively. I hit my spots, but it changed how my mechanics worked. But at the same time, I was still able to execute pitches, I thought, and they were able still to get the barrel to the ball."
X-rays came back negative.
Although Scherzer was able to fight the pain to throw a 1-2-3 third inning, he faced some trouble in the fourth. After Nelson Cruz scored following a leadoff double, Elvis Andrus drew a two-out, seven-pitch walk.
"I had a 3-2 slider, and he was able to foul it off, and I thought if I was able to come with it again, I'd be able to induce some weak contact," Scherzer said. "It just got away from me. Any time you have a two-out walk, with his speed, you have to be quick to the plate, because you know he's probably going to steal in that situation."
With Andrus on first, Mitch Moreland drilled the next pitch to the right-field seats for his 13th home run of the season to give the Rangers a three-run lead.
"That part of the game, I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit," Moreland said. "I had the walk before me, and I got a first-pitch fastball middle away. I just put a good swing on it."
In the fifth, Leonys Martin walked, stole second and scored on an A.J. Pierzynski blooper that landed on the left-field line for an RBI double.
Scherzer only walked two batters, but both came around to score.
"Scherzer is a really good pitcher," Moreland said. "It's always tough against him. We just wanted to create some opportunities, get guys on base and take advantage of it. We were able to do that."
Meanwhile, Derek Holland shut down the Tigers, allowing just one run on five hits in seven innings. He also struck out seven, all on his slider.
"His slider was really working today; it came up real hard," Torii Hunter said. "You couldn't tell if it was a fastball or slider, the same delivery. He beat us today. He pitched well. You have to give credit where credit is due."
Scherzer's loss was his first since Sept. 23, 2012; he went 19 starts without a losing decision.
"I mean, obviously, it's a nice streak," Scherzer said. "Hopefully, it just shows well and I can pitch consistently. I believe in my talents, and I believe going forward I'm going to put together other streaks as well."
The four runs were the most Scherzer allowed in a start since May 15, and at the same time, his usual supply of run support disappeared.
"He probably wasn't as dominant, but he still gave us a chance to win and kept us close," Hunter said. "We just weren't able to get any run support for him. Tonight we failed him."