Max Scherzer struck out seven in six-plus innings of two-run ball as the Tigers topped the Rays 5-to-2 last night in the opener of a four game series at Tampa Bay. Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-5 with a solo home run for Detroit while Austin Jackson was also 4-for-5 with a run scored in the win.
Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 14th save in 17 opportunities. Rays starter James Shields allowed a career high 14-hits and four runs over seven-and-two-thirds innings for the loss.
The win allowed the third place Tigers to stay 4 games behind the Central Division leading White Sox, who beat the Yankees 4-to-3 in New York. The Cubs were idle on Thursday.
Tonight’s game at Tampa Bay features a premiere pitching matchup as Justin Verlander, who’s 8-and-4, shoots for his fourth straight win for the Tigers while facing off against 10-and-4 David Price, who’s out to become the American League’s first 11-game winner.