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Tigers P Scherzer joins elite group with 15th win in 16 decisions

The SportsXchange

Hunter had two singles plus a double (three hits, sted two as sent)

DETROIT - Max Scherzer is 15-1 and Miguel Cabrera is Miguel Cabrera.

Scherzer became the fourth pitcher in baseball history to begin a season winning 15 of his first 16 decisions - all in this century - combining with Al Alburquerque and Evan Reed on a two-hit shutout Saturday night in the Detroit Tigers' 10-0 victory over Philadelphia.

It was the Phillies' seventh loss in a row.

Cabrera returned to the lineup after missing four games due to what he said before the game was an abdominal strain and not a problem with his left hip flexor or lower back. He ripped the third pitch he saw for his 32nd home run of the season then added an RBI single and an RBI groundout before being taken out of the game after four innings as a precautionary measure.

Cabrera, who now has 99 RBI, was not running the bases well.

"I miss a game and it's like a setback," said teammate Torii Hunter, who had two singles and a double after missing a game with a sore left Achilles Tendon. "Miggy misses four games and he has no setback. He's the best player on the planet."

Philadelphia started lefty Raul Valdes (1-1) in place of Cliff Lee, who has a stiff neck, and he was rocked for five runs in the first and three in the second.

"They came out and got on Valdes quick," manager Charlie Manuel of the Phillies said. "That first inning kind of dictated the game. He hung in there and took it.

"I don't like to do that to a pitcher, but most of our guys down there are one-inning pitchers."

The Phillies have scored a total of 10 runs in their seven losses and are fielding a lineup with significant personnel losses. Ben Revere, Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown are all out with injuries.

Scherzer retired the first five and the last 13 he faced with Darin Ruf's booming double to deep center with two out in the second the only hit he allowed on his 29th birthday. He struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.

"They've scored a lot for me in quite a few games," he said. "I've learned to pitch with a lead. You have to stay within yourself, stay with your game plan, use your off-speed stuff the same way."

The only other pitchers to begin a season 15-1 were Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels in 2012, Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010 for Colorado and Roger Clemens with the 2001 New York Yankees.

Cabrera's home run came on a 1-1 87 mph fastball with two out in the first and the next four batters hit safely. Jhonny Peralta had an RBI single and Matt Tuiasosopo blasted a three-run home run, his seventh.

Victor Martinez had a two-run single after Cabrera's RBI single in the second to give Detroit an 8-0 lead. Cabrera's RBI groundout in the fourth and Hunter's sacrifice fly in the fifth made it 10-0.

"Nothing he does surprises me," manager Jim Leyland of Detroit said of Cabrera. "His eyes see things others don't."

"The last two teams we've played (St. Louis and Detroit) are good teams," Manuel said. "We definitely don't have too much out there. I think when the trade deadline comes in you'll definitely see us loosen up. We're short-handed right now."

Leyland said he'll have to check with Cabrera Sunday morning to see if he can play or not but that Hunter would not be in the starting lineup.

NOTES: Detroit was 3-1 in the four games Cabrera missed. ... Manuel is in the final year of his contract to manage Philadelphia and faces an uncertain future with the Phillies possibly finishing under .500 for the first time since 2002. "I'm going to be somewhere," he said. "How about that? We'll see. It's OK. I've got good options." ... Tigers LHP Darin Downs (left shoulder soreness) will make a rehab appearance Sunday for Triple-A Toledo. His return to Detroit after that isn't automatic. ... RHP Mike Adams, on Philadelphia's disabled list since June 21 with multiple right shoulder muscle tears, will have surgery on his shoulder next week that will put him out of action for at least the remainder of the season. He appeared in 28 games for Philadelphia this season, going 1-4 with a 3.96 ERA out of the bullpen.
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