After evening up their interleague road series behind one Cy Young Award winner, the Detroit Tigers will send another to the mound as they try to take two of three from the San Diego Padres.
Coming off Justin Verlander’s gem in the middle game of the series, Max Scherzer looks to earn his first victory Sunday and lead the Tigers to their third win in four contests.
Verlander put together a strong all-around performance with his first two career hits while limiting the Padres to two runs over seven innings in Saturday’s 6-2 victory. One night after being held to one hit by San Diego’s Andrew Cashner in a 6-0 loss, the Tigers (6-3) got back on track by pounding out 11 hits, including five doubles.
Ian Kinsler doubled twice, while Rajai Davis went 2 for 4 with three runs scored. Torii Hunter had a two-run single in his return after missing two games with a bruised left knee for Detroit, which has hit .360 while totaling 30 runs in its last four wins.
Now the Tigers will try to provide that kind of support for Scherzer (0-0, 1.20 ERA), who received two total runs in a pair of outstanding outings. After blanking Kansas City over eight innings in a 2-1, 10-inning win April 2, he allowed two runs and struck out eight over seven frames in a 3-2 loss at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
The 2013 AL Cy Young winner went 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."
It would help if Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson can rebound after going a combined 7 for 39 (.179) in the past five games.
San Diego counters with Tyson Ross (0-2, 4.35) as it seeks a third win in four games. Ross has been hurt by control problems and poor defense, giving up 11 runs – just five earned – while walking nine over 10 1-3 innings in two losses.
The right-hander certainly didn’t help himself Tuesday when he dropped the ball covering first to set up Cleveland’s three-run fourth inning in an 8-6 road loss. He gave up seven runs, only two of them earned, and walked five over 5 1-3 innings.
"It was a tough one for me," Ross said. "It definitely wasn’t the result I wanted."
Dating to his time with Oakland, Ross has gone 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in three career appearances against the Tigers. Kinsler went 4 for 4 off Ross in 2012 and is 5 for 7 lifetime in the matchup.
Scherzer hasn’t faced the Padres since his days with Arizona, going 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four career starts in 2009. He’s gone 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 46 innings over seven interleague starts since 2012.
Chase Headley has gone 4 for 8 in the first two games of the series after a 4-for-32 start. Everth Cabrera had two more hits Saturday, leaving him 16 for 45 (.356) on the season.