Accomplishing that feat would appear secondary for Scherzer, who looks to keep the visiting A's from completing the four-game sweep Thursday.
Oakland (75-57) totaled 19 runs while losing four of five prior to outscoring Detroit 28-13 the last three games. Brandon Moss homered twice and had a career-high six RBIs in Wednesday's 14-4 rout of the AL Central-leading Tigers (77-56), who were coming off a sweep of the New York Mets ."When you're hot, you're feeling good," Detroit's Torii Hunter said of the A's. "When a team is hot, that's what it looks like."
One-half game behind Tampa Bay for the overall wild-card lead, Oakland last swept a series at Detroit from Aug. 23-25, 2002 - one year after its last four-game road sweep of the Tigers.
Detroit was last swept in a four-game home set when Minnesota did it Sept. 10-13, 2004.
For Oakland to do it, it will need to go through Scherzer (19-1, 2.73 ERA), who is 6-0 with a 1.48 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break and looking to become the second Tiger in three seasons to win 20 games after Justin Verlander won 24 in 2011.
He gave up three hits and struck out 11 in six innings of a 3-0 victory over the Mets on Saturday to join to Rube Marquard (1912) and Roger Clemens (2001) as the only pitchers to win 19 of their first 20 decisions.
Clemens started 20-1 for the Yankees that year before finishing 0-2.
"For me, every time I go out, I seem to pitch well," Scherzer told the Tigers' official website. "Everybody through the lineup plays well every time I take the mound, and that's the reason I'm 19-1 - not because I'm pitching well."
Scherzer, the beneficiary of a major league-best 7.32 run-support average, is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in six regular season and playoff starts against the A's while striking out 54 in 30 1-3 innings. He gave up two runs and fanned 11 in six innings of a 4-3, 12-inning loss at Oakland on April 12.
Moss is 2 for 11 with four strikeouts against the right-hander, but has three homers in two games and is 6 for 10 with eight RBIs in the series.
The A's hand the ball to Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.97), who makes his first start since going on the disabled list with a groin strain Aug. 18. The 40-year-old right-hander hopes the layoff gave him time to regroup after he allowed 10 runs and 14 hits in 6 2-3 innings to lose his previous two starts.
Manager Bob Melvin doesn't plan to keep Colon on a pitch limit in his first appearance since Aug. 13.
"We'll see, play it by ear with him," Melvin told the Athletics' official website. "He was a little worn down before the groin became an issue. He wasn't pitching his best, so we'll monitor him and see what he has to offer early on. Usually he tells you early in the game what kind of stuff he has."
Though Colon is 0-7 with a 7.19 ERA in his last 12 starts against the Tigers, he gave up only a three-run homer to Prince Fielder over seven innings opposite Scherzer in April.
Miguel Cabrera is 6 for 13 with two doubles against Colon, but 2 for 9 in the series.
Hunter is 6 for 12 with a home run in the last three games, but 2 for his last 14 against Colon.
|August 26, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|August 25, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Right wrist|
|August 21, 2013||Derek Norris||15-Day DL||Fractured left big toe|
|August 14, 2013||Bartolo Colon||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|August 11, 2013||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Left wrist|
|July 25, 2013||John Jaso||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 24, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|August 17, 2013||Omar Infante||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back stiffness|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 31, 2013||Miguel Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Strained lower abdomen|
|July 31, 2013||Luis Marte||15-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
DETROIT (AP) -- Max Scherzer was roughed up, and Miguel Cabrera left with an injury. It made for a quiet scene in the ninth inning at a mostly empty Comerica Park.
Then Torii Hunter turned it around with one big swing for the Detroit Tigers .
Hunter hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth, lifting Detroit to a 7-6 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday that averted a four-game series sweep.
The celebration continued after the Tigers' biggest comeback victory, with Cabrera vowing he would be in the lineup Friday when the AL Central leaders begin a three-game series with the second-place Cleveland Indians .
Cabrera departed in the fifth inning after hurting his abdomen while making an awkward slide trying to stretch a single into a double. But he insisted he would be able to play in Detroit's next game.
"I'm OK," he said. "I'll play (Friday) - don't worry."
The reigning Triple Crown winner limped off the field after aggravating a strain in his groin, abdominal and hip area that has bothered him for much of the month. He got two hits before the injury, increasing his major league-leading batting average to .359. He leads baseball with 130 RBIs, and his 43 homers trail only Baltimore's Chris Davis .
"Every time something like that happens, we all get scared," Tigers catcher Brayan Pena said. "But then when we see him smiling and stuff like that after the game, everybody starts breathing again."
The Tigers scored four times in the ninth against Grant Balfour (0-3). A two-out walk set up Victor Martinez 's RBI single, then Hunter connected for his 16th homer.
Scherzer gave up six runs in five innings, ending up with a no-decision instead of a loss.
"He still can go 20-1," Hunter said. "He was jumping up and down when I came upstairs. He hugged me so tight I couldn't breathe. I'm pretty sure he's excited."
Scherzer's bid to become the first pitcher in the major leagues with 20 wins this season didn't look good at the start.
"I probably should've taken a loss," he said. "Torii bailed me out."
The bullpen did, too.
Luke Putkonen pitched two innings of scoreless relief, Jose Veras was perfect in the eighth and Joaquin Benoit (4-0) gave up two hits in the ninth for the win.
Coco Crisp led off the game with a double and Jed Lowrie hit a one-out, two-run homer on a thigh-high, 92-mph fastball. Scherzer held the A's to only one hit over the next two innings, but they built a four-run cushion in the fourth on sacrifice flies by Daric Barton and Eric Sogard .
Josh Donaldson hit a leadoff triple in the fifth and Brandon Moss homered deep into the right-field seats to make it 6-1.
A's starter Bartolo Colon was in a position to win his 15th game. He allowed only one run and five hits without a walk over five innings in his first start since Aug. 13, when a groin injury landed him on the disabled list.
Prince Fielder hit a solo homer in the sixth off Jerry Blevins , who gave up another run and retired only one batter as the Tigers pulled within three.
Oakland's Dan Otero and Sean Doolittle each followed with 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief, setting Balfour up to pitch for his 34th save in 35 chances.
Balfour gave up a leadoff walk to Austin Jackson and walked Fielder with two outs. He then got ahead 0-2 against Martinez, but couldn't get a third strike against him and that proved to be costly. The All-Star closer gave up two hits and walked two.
"It's nice to win three games here when you're looking at it coming in," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "but certainly when you're in position to win the fourth one, you want to win four."
NOTES: Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the team has decided which players will be added to the roster when it expands to 40 players on Sept. 1, but declined to make any announcements. Leyland said the callups will happen in multiple groups, starting on Sept. 1 and continuing as minor league seasons come to an end. ... Moss' four homers in the series were more than he hit in three of his first five major league seasons. Moss didn't reach double figures until last year, his sixth, when he hit 21 for Oakland.