Max Scherzer left everything on the field Monday night, including a soon-to-be-trademarked fist pump indicating a strong performance. Magic Max pitched eight solid innings, striking out nine and only allowing three hits in a 2-0 victory over the Houston Astros.
The Detroit bats seemed to calm down after returning from Kansas City: Rajai Davis’ RBI single in the seventh and Victor Martinez’s solo shot in the eighth being the difference makers. A far cry from the 26 runs and 42 hits against the Royals, two runs and six hits put away a Houston team unable to produce against the Cy Young winner. Scherzer did not allow a base runner past second base.
Although the team got a man on base in each of the first five innings, the Tigers had trouble completing the trip around the diamond. In the first inning, Miguel Cabrera stepped up with two on and no outs. A quick ground ball resulted in two outs and a stunted rally. Detroit found life after capitalizing on an error by first basemen Marc Krauss. An Alex Avila walk and an Andrew Romine sacrifice later, Davis’ ground ball found a gap and won Detroit its eighth in nine games.
Martinez’s smash into center field gave run support to the always tense bullpen. Luckily for Tigers fans with heart conditions, closer Joe Nathan put the Astros down in order after a walk.
Detroit continues the series with Houston on Tuesday at Comerica. The winless Brett Oberholtzer takes the mound for the Astros, while Detroit counters with righty Robbie Ray.
Ray recently was added to the 40-man roster, and looks to make his major league debut tomorrow.
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The two runs of offensive production was the lowest in two weeks for Detroit. The Tigs scored one run against the White Sox April 21.
Tonight’s game marked the first shutout of the season for Detroit.
Scherzer becomes the first Tiger in franchise history to have at least seven strikeouts in his first seven starts.
Richie Cozzolino is host of Tiger Talk for Impact Sports.