In the midst of the best start by a Detroit pitcher in six years, Max Scherzer is more pleased about what he's been able to do for the Tigers than his own success.
Looking to improve to 8-0, Scherzer tries to help the visiting Tigers avoid matching a season-high fourth straight loss Friday night against the surging Baltimore Orioles.
Scherzer (7-0, 3.42 ERA) has allowed two runs and five hits over 14 innings to win his last two starts. He allowed one run and three hits through six innings of a 6-1 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
Though Scherzer has a chance to become the first Detroit (29-23) pitcher to go 8-0 since Jeremy Bonderman in 2007, he's remained focused on what is important.
"If I was 0-7 but pitching well and giving the team a chance to win, I'd still be as proud of that,'' said Scherzer, who won 43 games the previous three seasons. "For me, it's all about going out there and making sure that I'm pitching deep into games and keeping their offense down, and I've been doing that for the most part.''
The right-hander retired 25 straight batters before he allowed back-to-back walks to start the second inning against the Twins.
"He's added a curveball a little bit more, just another weapon, just kind of a 'show-me' pitch,'' manager Jim Leyland said. "When he gets in that arm slot and can be repetitive with it, he's pretty nasty.''
Scherzer, who is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA in four starts versus Baltimore, hopes his teammates can get untracked at the plate after they totaled three runs and were shut out twice in three straight losses to Pittsburgh.
Miguel Cabrera had two hits Thursday, but the Tigers dropped their second 11-inning, 1-0 game in the last three to the Pirates.
Cabrera, who leads the majors with a .369 average, is batting .452 with four homers and eight RBIs in his last eight games at Camden Yards.
Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 3.94) will try to cool off Cabrera and help the Orioles (30-24) to a fifth straight home win.
The right-hander has not factored in the decision of the two starts he's made since coming off the disabled list from a blister on his thumb, but allowed three runs and struck out 12 in 12 2-3 innings of those outings. He gave up one run, struck out seven in 5 2-3 innings and was in line for the win Sunday before closer Jim Johnson was tagged for four runs in a 6-5 loss at Toronto on Sunday.
In Gonzalez's only previous start versus Detroit last season, he allowed three runs and walked five in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-0 loss.
Nate McLouth had three hits while Manny Machado and Nick Markakis each had two with an RBI on Thursday as Baltimore won for the seventh time in 10 games, 2-0 over Washington.
Machado is 17 for 40 (.425) in his last nine games, while McLouth has hit .409 in his last 11.
Baltimore's Chris Davis is batting .353 with 19 homers and 50 RBIs, and .364 (4 for 11) against Scherzer.
"Offensively (the Orioles) look very good," Leyland told the Tigers' official website. "They've got a lot of guys with good averages."
Detroit's Torii Hunter will miss the first two of the set to attend his son's high school graduation.
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