Detroit Tigers 5, Los Angeles 2: Prince Fielder, Delmon Young homer; Max Scherzer strikes out nine
Detroit Tigers 5, Los Angeles 2: Prince Fielder, Delmon Young homer; Max Scherzer strikes out nine5:45 PM, August 26, 2012 |6 Comments
Tigers rightfielder Brennan Boesch congratulates Delmon Young after his home run in the sixth inning of today's win over the Angels. / Rick Osentoski/U.S. PRESSWIREPrince Fielder and Delmon Young hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning as the Detroit Tigers beat the Los Angeles Angels, 5-2, today at Comerica Park.Max Scherzer struck out nine Angels today in seven innings. He gave up an earned run on four hits and two walks on 120 pitches. It was the eighth consecutive start in which Scherzer recorded at least eight strikeouts. He now has 195 strikeouts this season, three more than Justin Verlander for the top spot in the major leagues.“Scherzer has a tremendous arm, no question about it,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s got some deception with that delivery. He throws hard, and he builds everything off that fastball, but he’s got a decent change and he can throw a breaking ball when he needs one.”The win draws Detroit to within two games of Chicago for the AL Central Division lead. The Tigers are also just a half game back of the wild card playoff spots.With the game tied in the sixth, the Tigers began to play long ball. After Andy Dirks drew a leadoff walk, Fielder hammered a 0-1 pitch off starter Ervin Santana deep to right for a two-run shot and Fielder's 23rd homer of the season. On the next pitch, Young slammed on to left-center for his 14th home run of the year.Young and Dirks each had two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Fielder had a pair of hits, too.The Tigers started the game without Miguel Cabrera, who has been nursing a sore right ankle. The Angels were once again without Albert Pujols, who missed the entire series with a bad calf muscle.“It was a really good win because Miggy wasn’t in the lineup,” Scherzer said. “Other guys stepped up and were able to produce. If we have a lineup one through nine that can produce, we’re a scary team.”Dirks hit third in today's lineup and responded well for the Tigers.“I’m pretty confident that Miguel will play third base in Kansas City,” Leyland said. “I think this did wonders for him and it had nothing to do with winning the game.“Had we not won the game, there would’ve been the people to say ‘Hey, how can you not at least DH him in the pennant race?’ I didn’t sleep last night. When I talked to Cabrera, I knew the best thing was to rest him no matter what the outcome.”Santana (7-11) went seven innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits and three walk while striking out five.Los Angeles struck first in the first inning after Mike Trout legged out an infield single. Maicer Izturis pushed the runner to third on a base hit to left. Torii Hunter then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, allowing Trout to score.From the third inning on, Scherzer (14-6) was dominant, retiring nine in a row, four on strikeouts. He handed a leadoff walk to Mark Trumbo in the seventh, but go Howie Hendrick and Erick Aybar to fly out to center and got Vernon Wells to ground out to short to end the inning and Scherzer's day.Scherzer is the first Tiger since at least 1918 to have at least eight strikeouts in eight straight starts. And he’s the franchise’s first pitcher with nine strikeouts or more in 11 starts in a season since Mickey Lolich had 15 in 1971.The 28-year-old Scherzer improved to 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his last four starts. He also has 35 strikeouts in 27 innings over that stretch.“I feel comfortable,” he said. “I’m always confident that every start, I can give the team a chance to win.”Joaquin Benoit relieved Scherzer in the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, including two strikeouts.The Tigers tied the game in the third when, after Omar Infante drew a two-out walk, Dirks bounced an RBI triple off the wall in right-center.Detroit made it a four-run game in the eighth against reliever Scott Downs after Dirks reached on a bunt single and Fielder singled to right, putting runners at the corners. With one out, Quintin Berry, a defensive replacement for Brennan Boesch, hit a sac fly to center.Though it wasn't a save situation, Jose Valverde entered the game in the ninth. He hit the first hitter he faced, Hunter, with a pitch and, after Hunter took second on fielder's indifference, Kendrys Morales singled him home. But from there, Trumbo popped out to second, Hendrick struck out and Aybar popped out to first.Infante nearly made a bid to tie the game in the first inning when he sent a pitch nearly over the wall in left, but Wells leaped and made the homer-robbing catch.Free Press news services contributed.