Tigers 6, Blue Jays 2

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Max Scherzer pitched 6 1/3 innings to become the first starting pitcher to open a season 13-0 since 1986 as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 on Wednesday.

Alex Avila hit a three-run homer and Victor Martinez added a solo shot and an RBI single for the Tigers who scored five unearned runs before a crowd of 28,958 at Rogers Centre.

The victory assured the Tigers (45-38) of at least a split in the four-game series against the Blue Jays (41-43).

Scherzer (13-0) entered the game as the first starting pitcher in Tigers history to win his first 12 decisions of the season. He has not lost in 18 consecutive starts dating to last season.

By winning Wednesday's start, Scherzer became the first starting pitcher to win at least 13 consecutive decisions to open a season since Roger Clemens started the 1986 season 14-0 for the Boston Red Sox.

He allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out eight before leaving for reliever Bruce Rondon with one out and one runner on base in the seventh. Scherzer has at least six strikeouts in each of his 17 starts this season.

Blue Jays right-hander Josh Johnson (1-3) allowed seven hits and six runs (one earned) over five innings. He committed two of the three Blue Jay errors.

The benches cleared in the sixth after Torii Hunter objected to being hit on the left shoulder with a pitch by reliever Todd Redmond who had just been promoted from Triple-A Buffalo. Order was quickly restored. Redmond allowed only one hit in three innings.

Singles by Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus and Maicer Izturis in the sixth cut Detroit's lead to 6-2.

Left-hander Drew Smyly pitched the eighth and right-hander Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for Detroit.

Aided by an error, the Tigers took a 4-0 lead in the second. Prince Fielder led off with sharply hit infield single back to Johnson. Martinez hit a made-to-order double play grounder that went between the legs of second baseman Emilio Bonifacio. Jhonny Peralta followed by lining an RBI single to center.

With two outs, Avila hit his sixth homer of the season, a three-run shot on a 3-2 pitch. The four runs were unearned.

The Tigers scored their fifth unearned run of the game in the third when Johnson was charged with two errors. Hunter reached first on Johnson's first error, and Miguel Cabrera walked. Martinez lined an RBI single to center. Johnson made his second error on Andy Dirks' grounder, but right fielder Jose Bautista saved Johnson from further damage when he ran down Omar Infante's drive in right-center for the third out.

Martinez led off the fifth with his seventh homer of the season to increase Detroit's lead to 6-0.

NOTES: Infante left the game with a left leg injury in the fourth after Rasmus slid into him on a force at second. INF Ramon Santiago replaced Infante at second base. ... Blue Jays DH Adam Lind (back) played for the first time since coming out of Sunday's game in Boston after two innings. ... Toronto C J.P. Arencibia (shoulder) was behind the plate after missing Tuesday's game. ... Blue Jays 1B Edwin Encarnacion (hamstring) did not start for the third consecutive game. ... Rock star Alice Cooper threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Tigers INF/OF Matt Tuiasosopo (intercostal strain) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday, and he reached base in each of his first three plate appearances. ... Cabrera (tight back) played after he was a game-time decision. ... RHP Justin Verlander (8-5, 3.77 ERA) will start the series finale for the Tigers against Toronto RHP Esmil Rogers (3-3, 3.12 ERA).
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