NEW YORK -- Max Scherzer struck out 11 batters in six scoreless innings and provided the only offense he needed on Saturday with a run-scoring double in the second inning of the Detroit Tigers' 3-0 victory over the New York Mets in front of 35,636 at Citi Field.
Scherzer, the favorite to win the American League Cy Young Award, improved to 19-1 and became the third pitcher in major league history to win 19 of his first 20 decisions.
Rube Marquard did it for the New York Giants in 1912 and Roger Clemens pulled off the feat for the Yankees in 2001.
Scherzer allowed three hits and a season-high four walks in throwing 118 pitches, tied for the third-most he's thrown in a start this year. He labored in the fifth, when he issued two walks before striking out Eric Young, and sixth, when the Mets loaded the bases with one out on two hits and a walk.
Scherzer got out of that jam by striking out Juan Lagares and getting John Buck to pop out on the first pitch.
When Ramon Santiago caught the ball, Scherzer slapped his glove with his right hand and exchanged an enthusiastic high-five with catcher Brayan Pena as they walked off the field.
Scherzer elicited similar reactions from his teammates in the second inning, when, in his first at-bat of the season, he doubled to left field to score Andy Dirks from third base with the Tigers' first run.
Television cameras captured Tigers players laughing uproariously as Scherzer pulled into second.
It was Scherzer's first hit as a member of the Tigers, for whom he was 0-for-8 dating to 2010. He hit .226 (12-for-53) with two doubles and three RBIs for the Diamondbacks in 2009.
Austin Jackson followed Scherzer's double with an RBI single. Don Kelly's eighth-inning sacrifice fly provided the final run.
Three relievers retired the final nine Mets in order, with Joaquin Benoit recording the final three outs for his 17th save.
Dirks and Omar Infante each had three hits for the Tigers, while Jackson, AL batting leader Miguel Cabrera, Omar Infante and Matt Tuiasosopo all had two hits.
The Tigers had 15 hits, including 13 off Mets ace Matt Harvey, as the anticipated duel between the All-Star Game starters failed to materialize.
The 13 hits allowed were by far a career high for Harvey, who allowed 10 hits against the Marlins on June 2.
Harvey (9-5) walked none and struck out four over 6 2/3 innings on Saturday and was spared further damage by some questionable baserunning by the Tigers in the seventh inning, as well as a questionable call by second base umpire Ed Hickox.
The Tigers collected four straight hits off Harvey in the seventh, but Infante was thrown out at home for the second out and Cabrera put on the brakes a third of the way down the line on Tuiasosopo's hit while Prince Fielder, who was more than halfway to third, raced back to second.
Pinch-hitter Torii Hunter then grounded to Omar Quintanilla, whose throw to Daniel Murphy seemed to arrive a split second after Tuiasosopo slid in.
But Hickox called him out as Tuiasosopo jumped and gripped his helmet in bemusement.
Ike Davis had two hits for the Mets.
NOTES: The Mets recalled 1B/OF Lucas Duda from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned Mike Baxter to the same affiliate. Duda opened the season as the Mets' starting left fielder but lost his job to Eric Young after suffering a left intercostal strain on June 22. Manager Terry Collins said Duda will be used mostly off the bench, but that he probably will be the designated hitter when the Mets visit Cleveland on Sept. 6-8. ... Mets 3B David Wright (right hamstring strain) took grounders for the second straight day and also threw across the diamond. ... Tigers manager Jim Leyland said DH Victor Martinez probably would catch the series finale on Sunday. Martinez made his first start at catcher in more than two years on Friday night. ... Tigers SS Jose Iglesias was unavailable Saturday after being hit by a pitch on the left elbow in the ninth inning of Detroit''s 6-1 win on Friday.