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The Grand Slam: Max Scherzer bests Garrett Richards as Tigers top Angels

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards has been one of the breakout pitchers of the 2014 season, but as his matchup Thursday night against Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers showed us, there's a reason Scherzer is the reigning Cy Young winner and every pitcher in the AL is trying to dethrone him.

Scherzer bested Richards in a pitcher's duel between two of the AL's top teams. The Tigers beat the Angels 6-4, as Scherzer struck out 11 batters in seven innings. He allowed six hits and three runs, but when you're backed by the Tigers offense, that's often OK. His record improved to 12-3.

Richards wasn't bad, but he wasn't as good as he has been this season. He gave up seven hits and four runs, as his record fell to 11-3. Richards hadn't given up four runs in a start since May.

Scherzer definitely knew he needed to step up with Richards on the mound:

''Richards is a great pitcher and he's been having an awesome year, so you know you have to bring your 'A' game,'' Scherzer said. ''I felt good with everything tonight and had all four pitches going. I hadn't been getting the swings and misses I had been searching for with that pitch, so I made a little adjustment with my grip. Tonight I felt like I had a lot more consistency with it and a lot more downward action.'' 

GARZA REBOUNDS TO STIFLE METS
The last time Matt Garza pitched, he gave up five runs and only got one out before the Milwaukee Brewers went to their bullpen. His performance Thursday will help to average that out a bit. Garza rebounded in fantastic fashion, holding the New York Mets to two hits and one run in eight innings of work. The Brewers gave Garza plenty of offensive support and won the game 9-1.

ROYALS OUTLAST INDIANS IN 14
What started as a pitcher's duel ended up as a walk-off win for the Kansas City Royals in 14 innings. Nori Aoki's RBI single gave the Royals the 2-1 win, which seemed like a slim possibiility earlier in the night when Indians starter Corey Kluber took a perfect game into the seventh inning.

Omar Infante busted up the perfect game with one out in the seventh, but the Indians hadn't had much success themselves against Royals starter Danny Duffy. Duffy didn't give up a run in seven innings, striking out seven and allowing two hits. Kluber, meanwhile, pitched nine innings and struck out 10, but he gets a regular ol' no-decision for his outstanding effort. The only run the Indians could muster came in the ninth inning when Yan Gomes drove in Carlos Santana to tie the game. 

TYSON ROSS IMPRESSES AGAIN FOR PADRES
There's not too much for the San Diego Padres to be excited about these days, but an offensive outburst and another good start from Tyson Ross made for a good day. Ross struck out a career-high 11 batters to improve to 9-10, while the Padres offensive exploded in a 13-3 win against the Chicago Cubs.

Ross has had a great July, sporting an ERA of 1.03 in five starts.

For the rest of Thursday's results, check out our scoreboard.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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