With Chris Sale looming, the Tigers needed a huge start from Max Scherzer Thursday night if they wanted to avoid another extended losing streak. Scherzer delivered and then some, pitching his first career complete game – a three-hit shutout – as Detroit closed out their trip to Chicago with a 4-0 win.
- How many times can I say Scherzer? He outpitched Sale, and Sale was great too (7 IP, 5 H 1 R, 0 BB, 10 K). Scherzer was simply better. His only real hiccup was the third, where he walked two batters as he battled his control a bit. He actually had three walks and three strikeouts through five before promptly turning it on, striking out five over the final four innings and retired 10 in a row at one point. He took a one hitter into the eighth before a couple late hits made it a three-hit shutout. In the end, he went all nine, allowing no runs, walking three, and striking out eight, and he got better as the game went on. Dominant.
- Victor Martinez has a weird ownership of Sale and it continued tonight, as V-Mart’s line drive homer ended up being the only run the Tigers scored off the Sox ace.
- Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single will look like a line drive in the box score but in reality was anything but. With the Tigers clinging to a 1-0 lead in the 8th, Sox reliever Jake Petricka gave up consecutive singles to Bryan Holaday and Eugenio Suarez to open the inning. Rajai Davis’s grounder moved both runners up, but Ian Kinsler again failed to put the ball in play. This meant the Sox had an open base for Cabrera, but they elected to pitch to him with Martinez looming. Cabrera made them pay – in a way – with a weak ground ball up the middle that made it over the mound. It would have been a longshot to get Cabrera at first no matter what, but Gordon Beckham’s ill-advised decision to try to barehand the grounder cost the Sox a second run, as the ball glanced off his hand into no man’s land. So Cabrera drove in two runs with an infield single (really!) to give Scherzer some much-needed breathing room.
- Bryan Holaday! He started instead of Alex Avila with Sale on the mound and he continued his weird torment of the White Sox. He had three hits, including one in that 8th inning rally, plus another in the 9th that plated Don Kelly for Detroit’s fourth run.
- Not much, really. Torii Hunter continues to not hit at all and the Tigers didn’t draw a single walk, but Chris Sale can do that to you.
The Tigers are back home tomorrow to start a series against the Minnesota Twins, currently in last place, but only four games back of Detroit (five in the loss column). Kyle Gibson will go against Drew Smyly.