Max Scherzer would gladly trade personal accomplishments for team success, but he realizes his solid numbers and exceptional start have given the Detroit Tigers more opportunities for victories.
He'll look to become the first 10-game winner in the AL by helping guide the Tigers past the surging Baltimore Orioles on Monday night at Comerica Park.
Scherzer (9-0, 3.19 ERA) has won four of his last five starts while posting a 2.00 ERA and striking out 38 over 36 innings. He gave up two runs in seven frames of a 3-2 win over Kansas City on Tuesday to become the first Tigers starter to begin a season 9-0 since Vern Kennedy in 1938.
The right-hander has lost only once over his last 27 starts, including three in last year's playoffs, going 16-1 with a 2.66 ERA.
"Don't get me wrong - I love being 9-0, but it's more important that we (win)," Scherzer said. "For me, it's all about going out there and pitching deep into the game and (being) effective. The way I look at success is how well I pitch (and not the amount of personal victories)."
Scherzer would have added another win to his credit after he struck out 10 and allowed three runs in eight innings versus the Orioles on May 31, but the bullpen allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth in Detroit's 7-5 defeat.
He's 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in his last four starts against Baltimore. Adam Jones is 8 for 15 with a homer lifetime off Scherzer, who may have a tough time with a Baltimore club that has won six of eight.
Jones went 2 for 4, Nick Markakis had four hits and Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 23rd homer Sunday as the Orioles (40-30) beat Boston 6-3. Manny Machado added two hits and has a career-high 14-game hitting streak, which began during Baltimore's 4-2 win over Detroit on June 2.
Baltimore has won four of its last five matchups against the Tigers, with the only loss coming June 1 with scheduled starter Jason Hammel on the mound.
Hammel (7-4, 5.24) pitched three-plus innings and gave up five runs - including back-to-back-to-back homers to Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila to chase him in the fourth inning - in a 10-3 defeat earlier this month.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 7.66 ERA in five career starts versus the Tigers, with Peralta going 7 for 15 with two homers lifetime against him.
Hammel has given up at least four runs in seven starts, including four in six innings of Baltimore's 9-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. He'll again face the AL Central-leading Tigers (38-29), who are coming off a 5-2 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
Torii Hunter hit his 300th career homer and finished with two hits to snap a 0-for-13 slump.
''It's special,'' Hunter said. ''I just wanted one. To get 300 home runs in the major leagues ... this is a tough game to play.''
Miguel Cabrera, hitting just .179 over his last nine games, is hitting .500 with eight homers over his last 12 versus Baltimore.