Scherzer improves to 9-0 for Tigers

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Max Scherzer continued his winning streak and ended the Kansas City Royals' winning streak at six.

Scherzer won his ninth straight decision and Victor Martinez drove in the go-ahead run as the Detroit Tigers edged by the Royals 3-2 Tuesday night.

Scherzer became the first Tigers pitcher since Vern Kennedy in 1938 to start the season 9-0.

Scherzer limited the Royals to three hits and two runs over seven innings, striking out six and walking two.

"I came out flat and walked two hitters," Scherzer said of his first inning. "That's not typical of how I pitch. For me, I needed to crank up the tempo and crank up the intensity and come out on the attack.

"Once I made that adjustment, everything else kind of fell into place: fastball location, to throw off-speed for strikes, and obviously to throw off-speed out of the zone, too. I felt that's what allowed me to have success tonight."

Martinez's sacrifice fly in the eighth scored Miguel Cabrera, who was hit by Aaron Crow's pitch to start the inning. Prince Fielder's single moved Cabrera to third.

Crow, the third of five Kansas City pitchers, worked out of an inherited bases-loaded mess in the seventh; he struck out Torii Hunter but was charged with the loss.

Jose Valverde worked the ninth for his ninth save in 11 opportunities after allowing a leadoff single to Salvador Perez. Elliot Johnson ran for Perez and stole second, but Billy Butler was called out on strikes by plate umpire Jordan Baker and was soon ejected for arguing the call.

"It's unfortunate in a crucial part of the game," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Billy's working hard to get to a 3-2 count and the ball's up and inside and it is called strike three. I mean it wasn't even a borderline pitch, and in a one-run game it changes the whole complexion of the game.

"Runners at first and second and Lorenzo Cain is probably going to put down a bunt and you've got David Lough and Mike Moustakas with a chance to drive in a couple of runs and win the game."

The Tigers loaded the bases on two singles and a walk with two out in the seventh, but Crow, the third Royals pitcher of the inning, struck out Hunter to strand the runners.

Royals starter Wade Davis, who is 0-2 with three no-decisions in his past five starts, held the Tigers to two runs on eight hits and a walk for 6 2/3 innings.

Don Kelly's two-out single in the Detroit second scored Victor Martinez, who led off the inning with a single. Omar Infante also was waved home, but he was out at the plate on Moustakas' relay throw.

The Tigers' eighth and ninth hitters combined for six hits.

"Omar had a lot of base hits," said Kelly, who went 2-for-2. "(Avisail) Garcia pinch-hits for me and gets a base hit. It's good when you get production throughout the whole lineup. You know you're going to get it from Miguel and Prince and Victor and Johnny; it's when everybody else starts chipping in that makes it go."

The Tigers added a run in the fifth. Infante singled with one out and advanced to third on Kelly's single to right. Andy Dirks fielder's choice grounder to Chris Getz scored Infante. Dirks just beat the relay throw to first base to avoid grounding into an inning-ending double play.

"In the flow of the play I definitely thought he was out," Davis said. "It's always tough when calls don't go your way, but you have to take it and go on."

Scherzer, who is from St. Louis and went to the University of Missouri, held the Royals hitless until David Lough led off the fifth with his first big league home run.

After Lough's homer to right, Moustakas singled and moved to second on Getz's sacrifice bunt. Alcides Escobar rifled a single to left, scoring Moustakas, to tie the score at 2-2. Moustakas was 1-for-18 off Scherzer before the hit.

Scherzer walked Alex Gordon and Billy Butler in the first but retired Lorenzo Cain on a grounder to end the inning with no damage.

Davis, who was looking for his first victory since May 15, allowed two singles in the first but coaxed Prince Fielder to ground into an inning ending double play.

NOTES: Royals RHP Felipe Paulino, who had Tommy John surgery last July, made his first rehab start Tuesday with Class AA Northwest Arkansas and threw five scoreless innings against Arkansas. He allowed two hits, walked two and struck out six, throwing 42 strikes in 67 pitches. ... Tigers CF Austin Jackson went 1-for-3 and drove in a run in his second rehab game with Class AAA Toledo. ... Royals relievers had not allowed a run in 21 innings before Crow gave up a run in the eighth.
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