The Tigers are hoping Scherzer shows no ill effects from his hamstring injury Sunday when they try to record a season-high fifth straight win and pull off a feat against the Kansas City Royals that hasn't happened in nearly 10 years.
Scherzer (7-5, 4.98 ERA) is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 26 strikeouts over his last three starts but suffered the injury while running the day after winning in Tampa Bay on June 28. Tigers manager Jim Leyland took a cautious approach in skipping Scherzer's scheduled start Tuesday against Minnesota.
"It's one of those where we can't afford to take a chance with it," Leyland told the team's website. "So we just automatically scratched him."
Leyland is hoping his right-hander can help deliver his team's longest win streak since a 12-game run Sept. 2-14. Detroit (43-42) is also seeking its first home sweep of three or more games over Kansas City (37-46) since July 23-25, 2002. The Tigers swept a two-game set at Comerica Park from May 13-14, 2011.
They put themselves in position to accomplish that goal with an early hitting outburst and another home run from Delmon Young on Saturday.
"He's starting to do what I know he can do," Leyland said of Young. "He's a run-producer and right now he's producing."
Prince Fielder hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and Detroit scored three runs in the second of an eventual 8-7 victory. Young added his third homer in as many games before closer Jose Valverde survived a three-run ninth.
Austin Jackson also extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games as his team moved above .500 for the first time since May 10.
"It was just a matter of time," said Young, whose 11 career homers versus the Royals are tied for his most against any one team. "We're too good of a team to struggle. We just need to win one more game to go into the break on a roll."
Everett Teaford (1-1, 4.70) will try to help the scuffling Royals avoid a sweep while building on his first win of the season. The left-hander gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings during an 11-3 victory over Toronto on Monday.
Kansas City could use a strong pitching performance as it's posted a 6.20 ERA while losing seven of nine. Royals starters have been even worse with a 7.63 ERA over that stretch.
"My game plan is to not get embarrassed, especially when you're going against guys like (Miguel) Cabrera and Fielder. I'll have to minimize walks and other freebies and keep guys off the bases," Teaford told the team's website.
Teaford has never started against the Tigers, but allowed one hit while recording a three-inning save July 9.
Scherzer earned the win in a 4-3 victory against the Royals on April 18 after going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA over his previous three matchups. He was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits over three innings during a 9-5 loss at Comerica on Aug. 29.
|Kansas City Royals|
|July 05, 2012||Luke Hochevar||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 17, 2012||Chris Getz||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left lateral leg strain|
|June 07, 2012||Felipe Paulino||15-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|May 26, 2012||Jarrod Dyson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right hamstring injury|
|May 22, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Left ribcage contusion|
|July 02, 2012||Max Scherzer||Day-to-Day||Left hamstring soreness|
|June 25, 2012||Alex Avila||Day-to-Day||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 19, 2012||Jose Valverde||Day-to-Day||Right wrist|
|June 11, 2012||Drew Smyly||15-Day DL||Severe blister, left middle finger|
|June 11, 2012||Drew Smyly||15-Day DL||Severe blister, left middle finger|
|June 06, 2012||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Aggravated right hamstring strain|
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers are beginning to get contributions from more than just a few players.
Delmon Young homered for the fourth consecutive game, Prince Fielder hit a three-run shot and Jhonny Peralta homered and drove in three runs in Detroit's 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday to complete a sweep of the three-game weekend series.
Young and Peralta, who were both expected to provide power and production behind Fielder and Miguel Cabrera , have had slow starts. After his homer streak, Young has 10 home runs and 37 RBIs, while Peralta goes into the All-Star Break with only five home runs and 27 RBIs.
Tigers' manager Jim Leyland discussed the free-swinging Young before the game.
"He's hitting strikes. That's been the big difference," Leyland said. "He's getting pitches to hit and he's hitting `em."
He talked about Peralta, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles, after the game.
"He's pulling the balls he's supposed to pull. He hasn't really pulled the ball this year and he's a pull hitter. I think he was so conscious of swinging at some breaking balls going the other way that he was missing balls that he should pull," Leyland said. "Today he pulled the ball. What he needs to do is pull the ball on a more consistent basis and with two strikes, take the ball the other way."
The power display backed Max Scherzer (8-5), who allowed a run and five hits over seven innings, walking one and striking out seven.
"He was pretty good. He was 96, good run on his fastball," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said about Scherzer. "He was good. It's the best we've seen him."
It was the Tigers' season-high fifth-straight win and put them two games over .500 - heading into the All-Star break - for the first time since April 25 (10-8).
"It's the consistency. You can look at our team, we're just playing good team baseball. Everybody's starting to kind of click, our offense is really starting to produce some runs," Scherzer said.." Our starting staff is starting to give a lot more quality starts, give them a chance to do their job. Obviously our bullpen's shutting them down, seven, eight, nine, we've got guys for that. You put that together, we're a pretty good team."
Phil Coke pitched a perfect eighth and Octavio Dotel worked a perfect ninth.
Salvador Perez homered for Kansas City.
Royals' starter Everett Teaford (1-2) took the loss. He allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked a batter and struck out five.
Peralta's two-out, two-run homer in the second inning gave Detroit a 2-0 lead. His towering drive down the left-field line and into the stands came on Teaford's 0-1 pitch and followed Brennan Boesch 's single
"Left a fastball up to Peralta, he's a good high ball hitter," Teaford said.
It was Peralta's fifth home run.
Perez cut the lead in half for Kansas City with his fourth homer, leading off the third. A right-handed batter, Perez lined Scherzer's 1-0 pitch over the right-field fence and into the stands.
Young's 10th home run, leading off the fourth made it 3-1. He lined Teaford's 2-2 pitch into the shrubbery beyond the right-centerfield fence, an estimated 433 feet away.
Kansas City threatened with runners on second and third with two out in the fifth on a lead-off single by Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon 's two-out double that sent Francoueur to third. But Scherzer got Alcides Escobar swinging to end the inning.
Fielder's three-run homer in the fifth broke the game open, giving the Tigers a 6-1 lead.
He greeted reliever Tim Collins by launching his first pitch halfway up the right-field stands, an estimated 417 feet away. It also scored Austin Jackson and Quintin Berry , who led off the inning with singles.
"That was the dagger, you know. 3-1, you're still in it. 6-1 ..." said Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur .
It was the 15th homer for Fielder - his third in four games - who was voted the A.L. starter at first base by the fans for Tuesday night's All-Star game in Kansas City. He will also participate in Monday night's Home Run Derby. Fielder is batting .299 and has 63 RBIs.
"The amount of power he has, it's awesome. You got to see it today.," Scherzer said. "A good reliever who's had a pretty good year so far and absolutely took his fastball deep. That's just the type of talent he has and why he makes our team great."
Peralta doubled in a run in the eighth.
NOTE: Also representing Detroit in the All-Star Game will be third baseman Miguel Cabrera (.324, 18 home runs and 71 RBIs) and Justin Verlander (9-5, 2.58). ... Designated hitter Billy Butler ( .290, 16 HR, 52 RBIs) will be the Royals' only representative in Tuesday night's game at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. ... Jackson (1-for-5) extended his hitting streak to a career high 15 games (26-for-65, .400).