Rangers hand Scherzer his first loss
DETROIT -- Max Scherzer came into his start on Saturday night trying to make history. He came away with a nasty bruise and the first blemish on his won-loss record.
Scherzer suffered his first loss of the season for the Detroit Tigers, giving up four runs in six innings as the Texas Rangers spoiled his bid to go 14-0 with a 7-1 victory at Comerica Park.
He was trying to become the first pitcher in major-league history with a 14-0 record at the All-Star break and the first pitcher since Boston's Roger Clemens in 1986 to reach 14-0.
Scherzer pitched the last four innings in pain after he took a line drive from Jurickson Profar off his left, non-throwing wrist in the second inning. Though X-rays were negative, it did have an effect on his delivery.
"You don't realize how much you use your glove to pull through with your body," he said. "I was still able to pitch and pitch effectively and hit my spots. It changed how my mechanics worked."
Mitch Moreland delivered the big blow off Scherzer, a two-run blast during Texas' three-run fourth. Scherzer, who struck out six and threw 122 pitches, believes he has another long winning streak in him, perhaps in the second half of this season.
"Obviously, it's a nice streak," said Scherzer, who remains a candidate to start Tuesday's All-Star Game for the American League. "It just shows I can pitch well and pitch consistently. I believe in my talents. I believe going forward I'm going to put together other streaks as well."
Adrian Beltre also belted a two-run homer for the Rangers, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Derek Holland (8-4) held the Tigers to one run in seven innings despite allowing six hits and a season-high five walks.
"The guy's 13-0 for a reason," Holland said of Scherzer. "He's got great stuff. Today, I made some pitches when I really needed to the most. My defense did a great job of making plays for me and saving me in some situations. That's a great ballclub and I guess you could say it's up there as one of the big games this year."
Along with Moreland's 13th homer and Beltre's 21st homer, Nelson Cruz had four hits and A.J. Pierzynski drove in two runs to lead the Rangers' attack. Ian Kinsler set a Texas franchise record with his 162nd career steal in the ninth.
The Rangers collected eight of their 12 hits against Scherzer.
"We didn't get to him too much. We just got enough," Kinsler said. "Our guy (Holland) just did a little bit better job. We didn't blow him up or anything like that. Moreland's two-run home run was the big swing and really, from there on out, it was Derek."
The Rangers took a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Cruz led off the inning with a double down the third-base line. He advanced on Beltre's groundout and scored on Pierzynski's sacrifice fly. After Elvis Andrus walked on a 3-2 pitch, Moreland drilled the next Scherzer offering into the Rangers' bullpen beyond the left-center field fence.
Hernan Perez's first career RBI, a two-out single to knock in Jhonny Peralta, made it 3-1 in the bottom of the inning.
Pierzynski got that run back with a bloop double in the fifth to drive in Leonys Martin. The Rangers tacked on three runs in the ninth against Al Alburquerque, including Beltre's homer.
NOTES: The Tigers' Victor Martinez went 0-for-4 and had his 14-game hitting streak snapped. He left five runners stranded in the first three innings. ... Detroit's Jim Leyland, who will manage the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, plans to leave his starters on the field for a majority of the game, provided it doesn't go extra innings. "I'm not taking my starters out after three innings," he said. "I'm going to play them as I see fit. I would think the starters would play a minimum of five innings." ... Martin was promoted to the No. 2 spot in the order, the first time he has batted higher than seventh in 78 career starts. He went 0-for-4 with a run scored. "Just trying something," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We're hoping he can help spark us." ... Texas RHP Colby Lewis, who has not appeared in a major-league game since July 18, 2012, threw 46 pitches during a batting practice session on Saturday at Comerica Park. Lewis, who underwent right flexor tendon surgery last summer, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Frisco on Wednesday.