DETROIT — Max Scherzer’s unbeaten run ended Saturday night when the Texas Rangers tagged the Detroit All-Star with his first loss of the season, defeating the Tigers 7-1.
Scherzer (13-1) was trying to become the first pitcher in the majors to start 14-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986. He allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out six.
It was Scherzer’s first regular-season loss since Sept. 23, a span of 21 starts. The defeat came in his final start before the All-Star game — he could start the event next Tuesday night at Citi Field in New York.
Mitch Moreland’s two-run homer in the fourth gave Texas a 3-0 lead, and for once, the AL Central-leading Tigers didn’t back Scherzer with much offensive support. Derek Holland (8-4) allowed a run and five hits in seven innings.
Adrian Beltre added a two-run homer in a three-run ninth for Texas.
Scherzer entered the day leading the majors in run support, and that was no small reason for his unblemished record. He struck out three in the first.
Jurickson Profar’s line drive in the second appeared to catch Scherzer just above the belt, but the Detroit pitcher threw to first for the out and was able to keep going. The Rangers finally put his streak in jeopardy in the fourth.
Nelson Cruz led off with a double, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by A.J. Pierzynski. Scherzer then issued a walk to Elvis Andrus, and that came back to haunt him when Moreland lifted a drive to left-center for his 13th homer of the season.
Hernan Perez hit an RBI single in the bottom of the inning, but Pierzynski’s RBI bloop double in the fifth made it 4-1.
Scherzer did extend one streak. He’s struck out at least six hitters in all 19 starts this year. When he walked off the mound after the third out of the sixth, a few fans behind the Detroit dugout gave him a nice ovation, presumably sensing his night was done.
Scherzer threw a season-high 122 pitches.
Holland, meanwhile, lowered his ERA to 3.08, which is actually better than Scherzer’s mark of 3.19. Holland started the Rangers’ 11-8 victory over Detroit on May 19, allowing two of Miguel Cabrera’s three homers in that game. He kept the Tigers quiet Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 44,061 at Comerica Park.
Indians 5, Royals 3: Lonnie Chisenhall hit his first career grand slam, Scott Kazmir pitched into the seventh inning and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 5-3 on Saturday night.
Chisenhall’s homer in the sixth broke open a 1-0 game and hit off the facing of the second deck in right field, landing in Kansas City’s bullpen.
Kazmir (5-4) allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings for his first victory since June 21 as the Indians won for the fifth time in seven games.
Miguel Tejada’s RBI single in the seventh broke a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings for Kansas City, which has lost four in a row. Alcides Escobar’s infield hit with the bases loaded added two runs in the inning.
Rays 4, Astros 3: Luke Scott had a go-ahead RBI single in the sixth inning and a two-run homer in the fifth, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
Roberto Hernandez survived a shaky first inning to post the Rays’ 14th straight quality start, going six innings and giving up three runs and six hits. He won for the first time in six starts since June 11. Hernandez (5-10) struck out six.