The Kansas City Royals have their longest winning streak in nearly two years. They'll have to get past one of baseball's best pitchers to extend it further.
Kansas City (29-32) won Monday's series opener 3-2 on the strength of a two-run triple by Salvador Perez . The Royals' run of six consecutive victories is their longest since they won seven in a row Sept. 10-17, 2011.
With a 7-2 record in June, they are one shy of matching their win total from all of last month. Kansas City went 8-20 in May.
Scherzer (8-0, 3.24 ERA) has been on quite a roll himself, posting a 1.86 ERA over his last four starts. He's 3-0 in that span, striking out 32 across 29 innings while allowing 12 hits.
"I'm showing consistency with four pitches and I feel like that's really what's allowing me to be effective and pitch deep into games and do all the little things well," Scherzer said after beating Tampa Bay on Thursday, yielding one run over seven innings in a 5-2 victory.
"I realize the league's probably going to make adjustments to me and I've got to be ready to still pitch my best when maybe I don't have my best stuff."
The Royals' pitching also has been strong lately, recording a 1.44 ERA this month after posting a 4.33 mark in May. The Tigers (35-27) were held to seven hits Monday as they had a four-game win streak snapped.
A two-run homer by Miguel Cabrera was the only damage against starter Jeremy Guthrie . Aaron Crow , Tim Collins , Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland combined for 2 2-3 innings of scoreless relief, with only Herrera yielding a hit.
"Just a phenomenal job of pitching on our part," manager Ned Yost said.
Yost's starter Tuesday has been inconsistent, but Wade Davis (3-5, 5.66) is coming off one of his better showings. The right-hander went five innings, yielding four hits and three unearned runs in a 7-3 win over Minnesota on Thursday. The first batter he faced reached base on a throwing error, leading to all three runs.
Davis is winless in his last four starts and eight of nine, with efficiency remaining a concern. He surpassed 100 pitches for the fifth straight start Thursday - he's failed to get past the fifth inning in three of them - and his average of 18.8 pitches per inning is one of the highest in baseball.
"That's kind of the way it's been for Wade," Yost said. "He finds ways to bend a little bit but never breaks, or seldom breaks, but always gets his pitch count up high. He gets himself into trouble and pitches himself out of it."
Neither starter was very good pitching against each other April 24, though Scherzer emerged victorious in a 7-5 win. Scherzer gave up a season-high five runs in five innings while Davis allowed seven runs - three earned - and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings.
Cabrera, whose homer Monday was his 18th of the year, is 4 for 12 with two home runs versus Davis.
Scherzer is 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA in his last five starts against the Royals.
|June 08, 2013||Anibal Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder stiffness|
|May 12, 2013||Austin Jackson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|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||60-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|Kansas City Royals|
|May 16, 2013||Jarrod Dyson||15-Day DL||Right ankle sprain|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Max Scherzer wrote his name into the Detroit Tigers history books.
Scherzer won his ninth straight decision, and the Detroit Tigers beat Kansas City 3-2 to snap the Royals' six-game winning streak on Tuesday night.
Scherzer pitched seven sharp innings to become the first Tigers starter to begin the season 9-0 since Vern Kennedy in 1938.
"It's nice," Scherzer said. "Don't get me wrong - I love being 9-0, but it's more important that we won. For me, it's all about going out there and pitching deep into the game and effective.
"If we score in the ninth, I don't get the win. It's kind of fluky sometimes that stat can relate to pitching. The way I look at success is how well I pitch."
Don Kelly , who had two hits and drove in a run, praised Scherzer's accomplishment.
"He deserves it," Kelly said. "He's been throwing the ball really well. It started last year. He really turned it on and carried it over to this year. He's throwing all of his pitches for strikes, getting ahead of guys. He's tough to hit."
He limited the Royals to three hits and two runs, while striking out six and walking two.
Aaron Crow (2-2), a college teammate of Scherzer's at Missouri, took the loss after pitching out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh.
"We're buds," Scherzer said. "We played at Missouri together. I'm a junior and he's a freshman. So I always have a leg up on him."
Crow hit Miguel Cabrera with a pitch to start the eighth. Cabrera advanced to third on Prince Fielder 's single to right on a full count and scored on Victor Martinez 's sacrifice fly to left. That was the first run allowed by the Royals' bullpen in 21 innings.
Jose Valverde struggled in the ninth inning for his ninth save in 11 opportunities.
Salvador Perez led off with a single and Elliot Johnson ran for him and stole second on the first pitch.
Valverde struck out Billy Butler looking on a full-count pitch. Butler was ejected by plate umpire Jordan Baker for arguing the call. Valverde then retired Lorenzo Cain on an infield popup and David Lough on a grounder.
"I didn't think it was close when it happened and I came back and looked at it again and it was even more (inside) than I thought it was," Butler said. "He told me it was on the plate. Especially in that situation, we'd have first and second with no outs, I lost my cool."
Wade Davis , who is 1-5 in his past 10 starts, departed in the seventh after giving up Omar Infante 's third hit. Davis permitted two runs on eight hits, while striking out five and walking one.
Tim Collins replaced Davis and allowed an 0-2 single to pinch hitter Avisail Garcia and walked Matt Tuiasosopo on five pitches to load the bases.
Crow was summoned to face Torii Hunter and struck him out on four pitches to end the inning.
Don Kelly 's single in the second scored Martinez with the first Detroit run. Infante scored on Andy Dirks ' fielder's choice ground out in the fifth.
Lough homered, his first in the majors, off Scherzer to lead off the Royals' fifth. Alcides Escobar singled home Mike Moustakas with the second run of the inning to tie the score at 2-all.
"The first at-bat I saw three pitches and struck out; they were all fastballs," Lough said. "In the second at-bat he gave me a changeup up and I hit it out. It felt pretty good but we didn't get the win. Whether it was out or off the wall I was thinking `three' right off the bat."
NOTES: OF Austin Jackson went 1 for 3 with a strikeout and an RBI and played five innings in center field in his second rehab game with Triple-A Toledo. Jackson is on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring, but could be activated Friday. "We have to make sure he's ready to hit up here," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We'll have to see where his timing is. Hopefully he'll have no issues physically." ... The Royals signed LHP Cody Reed, their second-round pick, for $1.19 million. Reed was 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA with Northwest Mississippi. ... Royals RHP James Shields , who starts Wednesday, is winless in seven starts since an April 30 victory over Tampa Bay. ... Royals RHP Felipe Paulino , who had reconstructive elbow surgery last year, threw five scoreless innings and allowed two hits Tuesday in his first minor league rehab start. He was 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in seven starts last season with Kansas City before the injury.