DETROIT -- Max Scherzer knows that personal winning streaks are sometimes a product of good fortune. After becoming the first Detroit Tigers pitcher to start a season 10-0 in over 100 years, Scherzer admitted he can't deflect all of the credit.
Scherzer mowed down the Baltimore Orioles in another stellar performance, striking out 10 in six innings of a 5-1 victory Monday at Comerica Park. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Tigers pitcher to go at least 10-0 to start a season was George Mullin, who got off to an 11-0 start in 1909.
The last major league pitcher to reach the 10-0 mark was Roger Clemens, who went 11-0 for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997.
"It's nice being 10-0, I'm not going to lie," said Scherzer, who gave up a solo home run to major league homer leader Chris Davis and scattered seven hits. "It just also shows how good an offense we have, too. I haven't had some of my best outings, and they've picked me up.
"Today, we were able to score some early runs off their pitcher, and I was able to come out and make some big pitches, too. Win-loss record is a fluky stat at times, especially when you're on a good offensive team. I judge myself not on record but how I pitch, and right now, I'm pitching well."
Scherzer's strikeout totals have also been steady and impressive. He has notched six or more in his first 14 starts this season, the second pitcher to achieve that in American League history. Pedro Martinez did it three times, including a record 29-game streak in 2000.
"You certainly take your hat off to Max for doing what he's done and being the first one since (1909) to do what he did," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I think Max would say, the biggest part about that was the Tigers won."
Miguel Cabrera hit his 19th homer, a two-run shot, and had three hits to lead Detroit's offense. Omar Infante had four hits, and Austin Jackson contributed three in a 14-hit attack for the AL Central-leading Tigers. Drew Smyly pitched three perfect innings after Scherzer departed and was credited with his second save.
Davis' 24th homer was the highlight for the Orioles, who dropped two games behind idle Boston in the American League East. Manny Machado's 14-game hitting streak was snapped, and Jake Arrieta (1-2) took the loss. Arrieta allowed five runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, then was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.
Davis lost a crucial showdown to Scherzer in the fifth, striking out with the bases loaded and two outs. Scherzer thought he had struck out Davis with two fastballs earlier in the at-bat, then finally put him away with a 97 mph heater on a 3-2 count.
"I executed a 3-2 changeup and Davis was able to foul it off, but that allowed me to get a fastball by him on the next pitch," Scherzer said. "That was a big situation, given how good a hitter he is with the bases loaded."
Cabrera quickly gave the Tigers a 2-0 advantage, blasting a one-out, opposite-field homer in the first inning following a leadoff single by Jackson.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter knew his team had little chance of winning when Scherzer was handed an early lead.
"We shouldn't feel like he's picking on us," he said. "He's really good when you stake him with that type of lead. You're not going to like the outcome very often."
Davis' solo homer in the second made it 2-1, but the Tigers got that run back in the bottom of the inning on Jackson's RBI single.
The Tigers chased Arrieta during the bottom of that inning, tacking on two runs for a 5-1 lead. Victor Martinez had a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, and Jhonny Peralta added an RBI single.
"He elevated some balls," Showalter said of Arrieta. "He was fortunate he was pitching here (in Comerica Park). In our place and some other places, it would have been really tough. Every time he elevated a ball, they were right on it."
NOTES: The Tigers placed RHP Anibal Sanchez (strained right shoulder) and C Alex Avila (left forearm contusion) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled C Bryan Holaday and OF Avisail Garcia. Sanchez, who is 6-5 with a 2.76 ERA, lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his most recent start at Minnesota on Saturday. He missed his previous turn in the rotation because of shoulder stiffness. Avila, hitting .172 with five homers and 13 RBIs, was hit by a pitch from Twins LHP Brian Duensing on Sunday. ... The Tigers began a 10-game homestand, tied for their longest this season. ... RHP Justin Verlander, Detroit's scheduled starter Tuesday, has an 8-0 lifetime record against the Orioles. ... LHP Zach Britton will be recalled from Norfolk to start for the Orioles on Tuesday. Baltimore RHP Jason Hammel is still recovering from the effects of a stomach virus.