Martinez gets Scherzer off the hook with late RBI, but Tigers fall short in L.A.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brad Ausmus returned to Dodger Stadium for the first time as a major league manager and found the place no different than during his final season as a player. The home team is still getting clutch hits and pulling out dramatic wins.
Phil Coke gave up an RBI double to Carl Crawford in the 10th inning Tuesday night and the Detroit Tigers lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Austin Jackson homered for Detroit in an interleague matchup between defending division champions who came within two victories of the World Series last season.
Max Scherzer got another no-decision, allowing two runs and eight hits over seven innings. He struck out eight after throwing eight scoreless innings of four-hit ball last Wednesday against Kansas City at Comerica Park.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was 13-0 in his first 17 starts last season and didn’t take his first loss until July 13, finishing 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts.
"I can only control what I can control. The win-loss thing is a fluke," Scherzer said. "All last year, I said: `I’m 21-3 because I had a good offense behind me.’ But I’m sure those guys will pick it up and they’ll score 10 more runs for me."
Scherzer signed a one-year deal for $15,525,000 in January, but attempts by the Tigers to lock him up long-term came to a stalemate at the end of spring training and no negotiations are planned during the season.
"I don’t know if he has a chip on his shoulder. I don’t think he carries himself like he does," Ausmus said. "But when he’s on the mound, he’s 100 percent focused on his job.
"People have asked me if I was concerned about the contract or his impending free agency, but I couldn’t be less concerned. Max is ready to pitch when he toes the rubber."
Joba Chamberlain (0-1), making his second appearance for Detroit after seven eventful seasons with the Yankees, struck out the side in the ninth. But he walked pinch-hitter Chone Figgins to open the 10th and was replaced by Coke.
Dee Gordon popped out to first baseman Victor Martinez on an attempted sacrifice bunt, and Figgins scampered home when Crawford lined a 2-0 pitch past left fielder Rajai Davis.
Detroit is 4-2 under Ausmus, who ended an 18-year career as a big league catcher in 2010 with the Dodgers. He took over the Tigers in November after Jim Leyland stepped down following the club’s third straight AL Central title.
"He didn’t really talk about it then. He was just playing and doing his thing," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "But we all kind of knew that Brad was going in that direction. In San Diego he moved into the front office to see that end of it, and I think he actually held it off for a year because of his kids and stuff. But we all knew that he would naturally fit into it."
Gordon led off the first inning with a home run against Scherzer, and pinch-hitter Justin Turner had a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
J.P. Howell (1-0) pitched a perfect 10th.
The Tigers were down to their final out when Martinez got Scherzer off the hook in the ninth with a tying single off closer Kenley Jansen, who had just struck out two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. Ian Kinsler started the rally with a leadoff double.
"I know how good Victor is," Mattingly said. "I’ve seen him long enough. I know how good that cat is. He’s an RBI machine."
Dan Haren pitched six innings and allowed three hits, including Jackson’s homer in the second. Alex Avila followed with a single, Detroit’s last hit until Kinsler’s double in the ninth.
The Tigers held their collective breath in the second inning when 38-year-old Torii Hunter tried to make a sliding catch of a foul ball by Tim Federowicz down the right field line and jammed his left knee as the ball landed in the seats.
The nine-time Gold Glove winner, who homered in each of his previous three games, gingerly went back to his position but left the game when his teammates took the field in the fifth. The Tigers called the injury a bruise.
"The style that I play, I play rough. I try to get everything. It’s just my instincts. I can’t help it," Hunter added. "Unfortunately, I’ve got a swollen knee because of it. We iced it three times just to get the swelling down. My wrist is jammed up and my shoulder’s a little sore. But it’s not going to keep me out — hopefully not at all, and I’ll be ready to go tomorrow."
NOTES: Haren was teammates with Scherzer in 2008 and 2009 with Arizona. Each of them has started an All-Star game. … Matt Kemp, who hit his first two homers of the season Sunday, was 0 for 2 against Scherzer and is hitless in 18 career at-bats against him.