Looking to win a fourth consecutive start and stay unbeaten, Scherzer tries to slow down the surging Indians in the opener of this three-game set Friday night at Comerica Park.
Second in the majors with 12.36 strikeouts per nine innings, Scherzer (4-0, 3.43 ERA) allowed one run, a season-low three hits and struck out eight in as many innings Saturday in a 17-2 rout at Houston.
"I thought I did some good things," he said. "I thought my curveball tonight was even better. It was competitive every time I threw it. ... Right now I feel like I am in a good groove of attacking the zone."
The hard-throwing right-hander now tries to build on that outing at home, where he's won all three of his starts despite a 6.23 ERA. While Scherzer is 4-1 over his last six meetings against the Indians (18-14), beating them again could prove difficult.
Having won 10 of 11 by a 76-26 margin, Cleveland is clicking on all cylinders. The Indians, hitting .319 with 24 homers over that stretch, have also posted a 2.34 ERA - significantly lower than their season mark of 3.83.
"Our starting pitching is giving us a chance to win," manager Terry Francona said. "We have a very good bullpen. We're playing well defensively. A lot of guys are contributing offensively. That's a good way to play baseball."
Kipnis and Reynolds have combined for eight homers and 21 RBIs during the team's run. Swisher is just 5 for 22 over the last six days, but three of those hits have left the yard.
The Indians also figure to get a boost from Bourn, who was activated from the disabled list Thursday after missing nearly a month due to a finger laceration. The two-time All-Star was batting .333 with two homers and seven runs through his first 10 games.
Division-leading Detroit (19-13) had won nine of 10 before suffering a rain-shortened two-game sweep at Washington. Matt Tuiasosopo hit a pinch-hit three-run homer, but the Tigers couldn't overcome a disappointing showing from Doug Fister in Thursday's 5-4 loss.
Detroit will try to bounce back against Indians starter Corey Kluber (2-1, 3.06). After throwing seven innings of two-run ball to beat Kansas City in his first start April 28, Kluber gave up three runs, five hits and a career-worst four walks over 5 2-3 innings Sunday in a 4-2 loss to Minnesota.
The right-hander went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts versus Detroit last year. Miguel Cabrera is 3 for 6 against him.
Scherzer, meanwhile, has fared well against Carlos Santana (2 for 20), Kipnis (2 for 10) and Reynolds (0 for 5). Among the major league leaders with a .358 average, Santana should be back in the lineup following Thursday's routine day off.
Ryan Raburn , who spent his entire career with the Tigers organization before signing with Cleveland this offseason, faces his former team for the first time.
"I'm pretty excited," he told MLB's official website. "It's going to be fun. I'm a little nervous, but excited to be on the other side for once."
The Indians are 8-28 in Detroit since the start of 2009.
|May 01, 2013||Vinnie Pestano||15-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|April 30, 2013||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|April 25, 2013||Lou Marson||15-Day DL||Right shoulder soreness|
|April 20, 2013||Asdrubal Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - left wrist contusion|
|April 20, 2013||Brett Myers||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|April 16, 2013||Jason Kipnis||Day-to-Day||Sore elbow|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|April 21, 2013||Octavio Dotel||Day-to-Day||Elbow inflammation|
|April 20, 2013||Octavio Dotel||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|April 09, 2013||Victor Martinez||Day-to-Day||Lacerated right thumb|
|March 22, 2013||Avisail Garcia||15-Day DL||Bruised right heel|
|March 22, 2013||Avisail Garcia||15-Day DL||Bruised right heel|
DETROIT (AP) -- Before the game Friday, Jim Leyland called Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder the best 3-4 combination in the lineup he's ever had.
The veteran manager's timing was perfect.
Cabrera and Fielder each hit a long home run later that night, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 10-4. Fielder's third-inning solo shot landed near the No. 42 honoring Jackie Robinson on the brick facade beyond the wall in right-center field. Cabrera's three-run homer the following inning came down below Hank Greenberg 's retired No. 5 in left-center at Comerica Park.
"I just kind of let `em play, stay out of their way. ... I think that's what you're supposed to do," Leyland said. "We're very fortunate, obviously, to have both of them."
Detroit's Max Scherzer (5-0) allowed four runs and five hits in eight innings. He struck out seven without a walk.
Corey Kluber (2-2) allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Andy Dirks also homered for the Tigers, and Omar Infante had three hits, including two doubles. Jhonny Peralta doubled twice as well.
The Tigers trailed 1-0 before Alex Avila 's two-run double in the second. Torii Hunter drove home Avila with a single to right, although he was tagged out near first base on the throw back to the infield for the last out of the inning - preventing another run from scoring on the play.
Fielder's homer went an estimated 460 feet - according to a Tigers' spokesman, who cited ESPN Stats and Info.
"That was unbelievable," Cabrera said. "Every time he goes to the plate, it's like we expect he's going to hit the ball so far, because we know what kind of power he has."
The Indians answered with a run in the fourth when Nick Swisher tripled and scored on Carlos Santana 's groundout.
Detroit broke the game open in the bottom half. With one out, Infante hit his second double of the game and took third on Austin Jackson 's single. After Hunter struck out, Cabrera hit his seventh homer of the year. The defending Triple Crown Winner has 40 RBIs in 33 games in 2013.
"When you get RBIs, that means people are on base, obviously," Leyland said. "We've done a good job of that for him, and he's taken advantage of that."
Avila had three RBIs on Friday - his fifth-inning single scored Peralta to make it 8-2.
"I made too many mistakes with the cutter," Kluber said. "I left one over the plate to Cabrera, and they got a couple more hits off that exact same pitch."
Scherzer's previous start was Detroit's 17-2 victory over Houston last weekend. He received plenty of support this time, too, and he retired eight in a row after Swisher's triple.
"That's one of the best pitchers in the game, and we got four runs off him, so that's pretty good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He just pounds the strike zone and then he's got the wipe-out changeup, so you aren't going to get much off him without scratching and clawing. I wish we had gotten 10 off him, but that's not too likely."
Cleveland, which entered the day with a major league-leading 49 homers, didn't hit any Friday. The Indians did scratch out a couple runs in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Mark Reynolds and a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley .
Dirks hit a solo homer down the line in right in the bottom of the seventh to make it 9-4, and Victor Martinez hit a run-scoring single in the eighth.
NOTES: Scherzer threw 103 pitches. He has never thrown a complete game. ... The Tigers have won 29 of their last 37 games against Cleveland at Comerica. ... Avila was only able to advance from second to third on Infante's bloop double in the second - second baseman Jason Kipnis almost caught the ball, so Avila had to stay near second. ... Detroit ace Justin Verlander (4-2) faces Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2) on Saturday night.