Two starters headed in opposite directions meet Tuesday night when these teams open a three-game set at Comerica Park.
Scherzer (12-6, 4.41 ERA) owns a lower ERA against the Blue Jays (56-65) than against any other opponent he has faced more than one time. He is 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four career outings against them with 24 strikeouts and six walks over 27 innings.
The right-hander struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings Wednesday to earn a 5-1 victory at Minnesota, improving to 6-1 with a 3.36 ERA in his last nine outings. Monday's break in the schedule gave him an extra day off after throwing 117 pitches.
"I needed to just fire myself up and just go after them and be aggressive with it," he said.
Also on Wednesday, Romero (8-10, 5.47) gave up six runs in six-plus innings during a 9-5 home loss to the White Sox to drop to 0-9 with a 7.45 ERA in his last 10 starts.
"It feels like I haven't got rewarded all year with anything that I do," Romero said.
The left-hander has posted a 6.55 ERA in losing his last four starts against the Tigers (64-57), including a 7-1 defeat two seasons ago in which he was outpitched badly by Scherzer. The Detroit starter struck out eight in eight innings while Romero gave up six runs and walked five over 5 2-3.
Romero has struggled with his control all year, walking 4.75 per nine innings to rank among the worst in baseball.
That's in stark contrast to how Scherzer leads the majors with a strikeout per nine inning ratio of 11.39. His 178 strikeouts are already within six of his career high, set two years ago in 55 more innings than he's thrown in 2012.
It's not surprising that one of the Detroit batters who has enjoyed success against Romero is Miguel Cabrera , who is 5 for 13 in their matchups. Cabrera has 104 RBIs and is battling Texas slugger Josh Hamilton for the major league lead.
Detroit is trying to gain ground in the AL Central and wild-card races after opening a nine-game homestand by dropping two of three to Baltimore over the weekend. The Tigers, who have lost four of five at Comerica Park since a 16-1 stretch there, blew an early five-run lead in Sunday's 7-5 defeat.
"We've got two more home series coming up, and we have to pick it up," left fielder Quintin Berry said.
A visit from the banged-up Blue Jays may provide a good opportunity, although Toronto could be getting some reinforcements.
Manager John Farrell told the team's official website that Brett Lawrie may return from the disabled list for this series, and Jose Bautista could be back in the lineup later on this nine-game road trip.
The Blue Jays are 5-15 since they last won a series when they took two of three at home against Detroit from July 27-29.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|August 19, 2012||David Cooper||Day-to-Day||Lower back tightness|
|August 12, 2012||Kelly Johnson||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|August 11, 2012||Colby Rasmus||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|August 04, 2012||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|August 03, 2012||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Left game - rib cage tightness|
|July 26, 2012||Joel Carreno||15-Day DL|
|August 01, 2012||Ryan Raburn||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|July 07, 2012||Drew Smyly||15-Day DL||Right intercostal strain|
|July 07, 2012||Drew Smyly||15-Day DL||Right intercostal strain|
|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|
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers did a lot of their best work with their bats on their shoulders.
Detroit took advantage of Ricky Romero 's wildness Tuesday night in a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Tigers scored their first two runs on bases-loaded walks, and although they never really broke the game open with a big hit, they did enough to keep pace in the AL Central race.
Detroit still trails the first-place Chicago White Sox by two games.
"This one's in the book, you turn the page," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That's what we've got to do now - 40 of them left - got to just play it out and see what happens."
Max Scherzer struck out eight in seven impressive innings for Detroit.
Romero (8-11) lost his 10th straight decision, allowing five runs, seven hits and eight walks in 5 1-3 innings. He didn't strike out a batter.
Austin Jackson had three hits. Scherzer (13-6) allowed five hits, including Edwin Encarnacion 's solo homer. He walked two.
"I know that when I go out there, I know I can be really good," Scherzer said. "I know I can pitch consistently and I know I can get hitters out. I don't fear a single hitter in this whole league. When I bring my `A' game and I bring my game, I can pitch well against any team - doesn't matter who it is."
Detroit needed three relievers to get through the eighth, when the Blue Jays scored two runs. Jose Valverde then pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 28 chances.
Valverde allowed two baserunners but eventually struck out Encarnacion to end it.
Romero walked six in the first two innings.
"I feel like I'm the one that lost the game," Romero said. "It's baffling. It's tough. I don't know how to put it. It's just been a frustrating year."
Romero is 0-10 with a 7.69 ERA in his last 11 starts. He was in trouble right away in the first inning in this one. Jackson reached on an infield single and went to second on third baseman Omar Vizquel 's throwing error. With two outs and a man on third, Romero walked Prince Fielder , Jhonny Peralta and Delmon Young to give Detroit the lead.
In the second, Romero walked Omar Infante with the bases loaded, and Miguel Cabrera followed with a double-play grounder that brought home another run to make it 3-0.
"That's tough when you see a guy missing by that much and you're trying to hit against it," Leyland said. "You're saying, `Well, he's wild, I don't want to swing at something bad.' Then all of a sudden he throws one that looks good and it runs in on you. That's what happened a couple times."
Encarnacion hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, and at that point, Romero hadn't allowed a walk or a run since the second. He couldn't keep it up, giving up a walk to Jeff Baker , a single to Andy Dirks and another walk to Gerald Laird to load the bases.
After Jackson hit into a forceout at the plate, Infante hit a grounder to first baseman David Cooper , who hesitated and ended up not getting any out at all.
Romero left the game after that, and Cabrera added a sacrifice fly off Brad Lincoln to make it 5-1.
Toronto fought back in the eighth with an RBI double by Cooper and a run-scoring single by Yunel Escobar . Joaquin Benoit came on with two on and two outs and threw only one pitch, retiring Vizquel on a popup to end the threat.
NOTES: The last pitcher to walk at least eight batters with no strikeouts was Colorado's Greg Reynolds , who walked eight against Philadelphia on May 28, 2008, according to STATS, LLC. ... Detroit OF Ryan Raburn (sprained right thumb) is slated to join Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday to start a rehabilitation assignment. ... Scherzer has a career-high 186 strikeouts this year, surpassing his previous mark of 184 from 2010. ... Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez (1-3) faces Toronto LHP Aaron Laffey (3-4) on Wednesday night.