This wasn’t quite the pitchers duel we anticipated, but Max Scherzer lived up to his billing as the Tigers came from behind to beat the Angels 6-4.
Scherzer stumbled in the fifth, giving up three runs, including a two run single by Kole Calhoun. With the Tigers up against Garrett Richards and an improved Angels bullpen, things looked rough. The Tigers, though, hit back immediately with three in the sixth with consecutive singles to start the inning followed by consecutive doubles by Torii Hunter and Nick Castellanos.
Scherzer didn’t let it go from there. He was dominant for much of the evening, striking out 11 in 7 innings and walking just one to go along with six hits. Add on runs by Detroit in the 7th and 8th off the Angel bullpen also helped Detroit’s cause.
Fans hoping to see Joakim Soria make his debut will have to wait another night as Brad Ausmus stuck to his Chamberlain-to-Nathan formula in the 8th and 9th. Joba Chamberlain worked in and out of trouble in the 8th, allowing a run but getting a big double play off the bat of Erick Aybar to prevent further damage. Joe Nathan got the ninth and suddenly looked great. He struck out the side, his slider had bite, and he looked like the Nathan of old. He generated six swinging strikes in twelve pitches, and it’s not at all a stretch to say it’s the best he’s looked all season. Fluke or sign of things to come? Who knows. If it’s the latter, the Tigers’ late inning situation suddenly looks much more secure, but it would be silly to get ahead of ourselves on that front.
Game two of the series is tomorrow night. Drew Smyly will oppose Tyler Skaggs.