Scherzer pitches Tigers past Red Sox, Lester

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner allows just three hits over six-plus innings, wins his sixth straight start.

Bob DeChiara

Nothing seemingly can stop the roll that the Tigers are on right now — not rain, not failing to score more than one run, not even playing in Boston.

The Tigers played at Fenway Park for the first time since losing in last season’s ALCS but there were no ghosts disturbing them.

Max Scherzer has not had a lot of success historically against the Red Sox, but that started to shift last year during his Cy Young season.

From 2011-13, Scherzer was 2-3 with a 7.55 ERA against the Red Sox, who hit .310 against him.

In 2013, Scherzer was 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA and the Red Sox hit just .216 against him.

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But one could hardly expect Scherzer to hold the Red Sox to zero runs in six innings, yet that’s what he did, despite sitting through a 47-minute rain delay.

"It’s a great win, especially against a team like that," Scherzer told FOX Sports Detroit’s John Keating on the post-game show. "I didn’t pitch my best but when runners were on base and I needed to make big pitches, I made big pitches. That’s the difference in the game."

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox had runners at first and second with no outs and Scherzer got Grady Sizemore to ground into a double play. He walked David Ortiz intentionally and then got Mike Napoli to strike out looking.

"We got dicey there in the sixth and I got myself into a corner. Fortunately, I was able to get a big double play and get a big strikeout in that situation. I felt like that was the difference in the game."

Scherzer is now 6-1 and leads the American League in ERA at 1.83 and strikeouts with 73.

Torii Hunter had a two-out RBI single in the first inning off of Jon Lester and that was all the Tigers managed offensively.

"It was a pitchers’ duel today and Lester, he threw a lot of pitches early on but his stuff is electric," Hunter told Keating on the field after the game. "He’s nasty, he has the cutter in on your hands, the two-seamer, the curveball, he has all kinds of pitches. You just have to try to pick one and stay inside that cutter and I did that today."

At the time, no one thought that score would hold up. 

The last time the Tigers beat the Red Sox 1-0 in Boston was Sept. 10, 1976.

"We had the bases loaded there in the first," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told Keating. "You want to come away with a few more runs. Unfortunately (Friday night) it wasn’t to be. One run was enough."

The Tigers have won nine straight road games, tied for the third longest single-season road winning streak in team history. It is the longest since April 3-May 24, 1984.

"Everybody’s getting it done," Hunter said. "One day it’s Victor (Martinez), one day it’s Miggy (Miguel Cabrera), one day it might be me or Ian Kinsler. Every day somebody’s doing something special. I think we have a different type of team, guys that battle at the plate. They play great defense, they do a lot of variety of things to help the ball club win. It’s a lot of fun."

The Tigers improved to 25-12 and now lead the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central by 6 1/2 games, the biggest lead of any division leader.

Of course, none of that would have happened without the Tigers’ much-maligned bullpen.

After Scherzer, Evan Reed, Ian Krol, Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan held the Red Sox scoreless for the final three innings.

With one out and runners at first and second in the seventh, Krol got pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski to hit into an inning-ending double play.

In the ninth, Nathan had to face Ortiz, Napoli and Mike Carp, Boston’s 3-4-5 hitters.

"I think the whole ballpark knew who was coming up first," Nathan told Keating. "Obviously, not just in the ninth inning of a one-run game but any inning you pitch, it’s very important to get that first guy out. So a little sigh of relief when we did.

"Sometimes results aren’t going to go in your favor, but if you make pitches, more times than not they will."

For the Tigers right now, everything is going in their favor, even the bullpen.

"I’ve always believed in these guys, these guys are great, they’re settling in their roles and really doing their job," Scherzer said. "They’re the reason we were able to piece that together and keep it a 1-0 game."