Scherzer Stifles “Tommy Tutone” Lineup
DETROIT (AP) — Joe Maddon’s musically-themed lineup barely made a sound against Max Scherzer.
Scherzer allowed two hits in eight outstanding innings, and the Detroit Tigers backed their star right-hander with three early homers in an 8-1 victory over Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night. It was the end of a five-game winning streak for the Rays.
The first seven spots of Tampa Bay’s batting order, listed by position, went CF-SS-LF-3B-1B-DH-RF — or 8-6-7-5-3-0-9. Maddon, the Rays’ quirky manager, called it a “Tommy Tutone lineup” before the game, in reference to that band’s early-80s hit “867-5309/Jenny.”
Maddon may have scored points with pop music fans of a certain age, but Scherzer breezed through the Tampa Bay hitters. James Loney’s single in the fourth was the only baserunner the Rays managed after the first inning.
“We had some good at-bats,” Maddon said. “I thought we played well today, but we just got ourselves in a hole, and that let him be more aggressive.”
Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter all went deep as part of a five-run first inning for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who have won 12 of 14.
Erik Bedard (4-6) allowed six runs and eight hits with two walks in two innings.
“I just didn’t have anything,” Bedard said. “They were getting great counts, and taking advantage of every one of them.”
Miguel Cabrera had two doubles, a single and a walk for Detroit.
Scherzer (10-3) allowed a first-inning sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria, but that was the first of 10 straight hitters retired by the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner. After allowing a single in the fourth, Scherzer retired another 13 in a row before he was pulled with a pitch count of 106.
There would be no talking manager Brad Ausmus into another inning. Ausmus met Scherzer in the dugout and shook his hand.
“He was done. I was just confirming to him that he was done,” Ausmus said. “It didn’t really matter what he said. That was going to be the end for him. There was no reason to send him back out at that point.”
The Rays are still at the bottom of the AL East, and the improved starting pitching that fueled their recent run was nowhere to be seen Thursday. After a leadoff single by Austin Jackson in the first, Kinsler homered to put the Tigers ahead. Cabrera’s walk was followed by Martinez’s 21st home run.
Hunter added a solo shot with one out to make it 5-1.
“Even after the first homer, I felt pretty good,” Maddon said. “We had the early run, and at 2-1, we’re still in the game. Once they put up five, though, it isn’t a good feeling. You can give up one or two and still have a shot at Max, but five or six makes life awfully difficult against that guy.”
It was Martinez’s first game back after he missed three with soreness in his side.
Cabrera doubled in the second and scored on J.D. Martinez’s single. He also scored on a single by Hunter in the fourth.
Scherzer, coming off a 13-strikeout performance against Houston in his previous start, fanned seven with a walk, and the Detroit defense played well behind him.
Nick Castellanos made a diving catch in the third when Desmond Jennings hit a line drive to the third baseman’s left. Then Detroit shortstop Eugenio Suarez jumped high in the air to snag a liner by Ben Zobrist.
Scherzer has only one complete game in his career — a shutout of the Chicago White Sox less than a month ago. He struck out the last two hitters he faced, but Ausmus went to the bullpen for the ninth, with a big lead and Scherzer’s pitch count in triple digits.
NOTES: Tampa Bay DH Vince Belnome went 0 for 3 in his major league debut. … Scherzer has reached 10 wins every year since the Tigers traded for him before the 2010 season. … Detroit LHP Drew Smyly (4-7) faces Tampa Bay RHP Alex Cobb (3-6) on Friday night.
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