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Scherzer, Tigers sink Indians

CLEVELAND (AP) ― Justin Verlander isn’t the only hard-throwing pitcher in Detroit’s rotation.

Max Scherzer is making opponents take notice that the Tigers have another formidable starter for the rest of the American League to worry about.

Scherzer (10-5) allowed two runs over seven innings to win his fourth straight decision and the Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians for only the second time in eight games this season with a 5-3 victory Wednesday night.

“Max’s ceiling is very high,” manager Jim Leyland said. “He has a chance to get better and better.”

Scherzer, whose only mistake came on Casey Kotchman’s two-run homer in the third, isn’t too bad now. He held the Indians to three hits, struck out eight and walked four. Scherzer has won nine of his last 11 decisions and has struck out 35 in 32 innings during his winning streak. He also won for the first time in five career starts at Progressive Field.
San Diego Padres outfielders Alexi Amarista (left) and Cameron Maybin celebrate after the final out on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)
San Diego Padres outfielders Alexi Amarista (left) and Cameron Maybin celebrate after the final out on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)

Scherzer grew stronger as the game went on. He retired 13 of the last 15 he faced and needed only five pitches to get through the seventh.

“You can really judge your outing on your last 15 pitches,” he said. “I finished the game really well. I had a good fifth inning, a good sixth inning and I got through the seventh. That helped keep the momentum on our side and I was able to get the game to the bullpen.”

The Indians, who will face Verlander in Thursday’s series finale, were duly impressed.

“We couldn’t do much against Scherzer,” manager Manny Acta said. “He beat us all night with his fastball.”

Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth and Jose Valverde gave up Travis Hafner’s one-out homer in the ninth before recording his 19th save in 23 chances.

Nats complete sweep

NEW YORK (AP) ― Stephen Strasburg gave a sneaky grin and a confident “yeah” when asked whether he was being more aggressive on the mound. He knew what the question was in reference to, and he appeared to have been waiting five days to answer it.

After the righty’s previous start, manager Davey Johnsons said, “He really doesn’t know who he is at times.” Strasburg knew who he was Wednesday all right: Dominant.

The 24-year-old ace struck out 11 in seven innings, Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa hit consecutive homers and the Washington Nationals completed a sweep of the free-falling New York Mets with a 5-2 victory.

“Once the lights are on and you’re facing another team, you want to go out there to make your stuff really dirty,” Strasburg said. “It’s something where I think when I take a step back and relax and let it happen instead of forcing the issue it helps out.”

Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer for a second straight day, and Espinosa doubled and scored on one of the Mets’ two errors in the Nationals’ fifth win in a row. The team with the NL’s best record (58-39) has won seven of 10.

Pittsburgh 3, Chicago Cubs 2

Atlanta 7, Miami 1

Philadelphia 7, Milwaukee 6

Chicago White Sox 8, Minnesota 2

LA Angels 11, Kansas City 6

NY Yankees 5, Seattle 2

San Diego 6, San Francisco 3

Tampa Bay 10, Baltimore 1

Oakland 16, Toronto 0

Texas 5, Boston 3

Cincinnati 5, Houston 3

St. Louis 3, LA Dodgers 2

Colorado 4, Arizona 2