DETROIT (AP) ― Max Scherzer headed off the mound and toward the dugout, where manager Jim Leyland was waiting to offer a congratulatory handshake.
After 15 strikeouts in seven innings, Scherzer’s day was done, and the only question was whether the Detroit right-hander’s fine effort would go to waste.
“We’re in this business to win,” Scherzer said.
And win the Tigers did. Alex Avila’s tiebreaking, two-run single highlighted a three-run seventh that sent Detroit to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Scherzer’s 15 strikeouts were the most by a Tigers pitcher in 40 years, and his teammates wiped out a 2-1 deficit to get him the victory.
Mickey Lolich had 15 strikeouts for the Tigers against Boston on Oct. 2, 1972, and set the club record of 16 in 1969, doing it twice in less than three weeks.
Scherzer’s 15 strikeouts were the most by a major league pitcher this year. Miami’s Anibal Sanchez had 14 against Arizona on April 28.
“We’ve wasted a few good performances this year already,” Avila said. “Hopefully, that will kind of get us on a roll a little bit.”
Detroit trails first-place Cleveland by three games in the AL Central.
Scherzer (3-3) threw 115 pitches. He allowed four hits, including two solo homers, and a walk.
Avila’s hit made it 4-2. Pittsburgh scored a run in the ninth off Joaquin Benoit, but he held on for his first save this season. Detroit closer Jose Valverde has a strained back.
Kevin Correia (1-5) allowed three runs and four hits in six-plus innings.
Miami 5, Cleveland 3
Cincinnati 5, NY Yankees 2
NY Mets 6, Toronto 5
Washington 9, Baltimore 3
Boston 5, Philadelphia 1
Atlanta 2, Tampa Bay 0
Texas 6, Houston 1
Arizona 2, Kansas City 0
Milwaukee 16, Minnesota 4
Chicago White Sox 6, Chicago Cubs 0
Seattle 6, Colorado 4
San Diego 3, LA Angels 2
Oakland 6, San Francisco 2
LA Dodgers 6, St. Louis 5