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Max Scherzer’s strong effort leads Tigers to victory in Game 1 of ALDS

Oct 5, 2013, 1:03 AM EDT

Max Scherzer AP

Max Scherzer led the league in wins with 21 and WHIP with 0.97. He also logged the second-most double-digit strikeout games with eight, trailing the 12 of Yu Darvish. Among Game 1 starters on the American League side of the playoffs, Scherzer had to be the scariest and the Athletics saw exactly why tonight.

The Tigers supplied their starter with some early run support, tagging Athletics starter Bartolo Colon for three runs in the first. Two scored on a Miguel Cabrera single up the middle and they added one more when Prince Fielder grounded into a double play.

Meanwhile, Scherzer surrendered just one hit — a one-out triple to Yoenis Cespedes in the bottom of the second — through his first six innings of work. He racked up strikeout after strikeout, leaving the Athletics wanting a base runner of any kind. With the score still 3-0, the A’s finally got a base runner to lead off the seventh on an infield single by Brandon Moss. Scherzer battled Cespedes but left a 95 MPH fastball in the outfielder’s happy zone and he crushed it deep into the stands in left-center for a two-run home run to bring the score to 3-2. Scherzer was able to bounce back and get three quick outs to get out of the seventh without any further damage.

From there, Tigers manager Jim Leyland relied on his bullpen to get the final six outs. Drew Smyly recorded the first two in the eighth, then closer Joaquin Benoit finished out the frame to start a four-out save opportunity. In the ninth, the right-hander struck out the side, getting Moss, Cespedes, and Reddick to go down swinging in rapid-fire succession to nail down the win for the Tigers.

The 3-2 victory puts the Tigers up 1-0 in the best-of-five series. The two teams will go back at it tomorrow as Tigers starter Justin Verlander will oppose Athletics starter Sonny Gray.

  1. historiophiliac - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Max is mentally tough. The toughest we have, I think. He doesn’t get riled easily and regroups quickly to move on. I really don’t get very nervous when he’s in a jam. I know he can get out of it. Love the K’s tonight.

    Hey, was that booing when Peralta came to the plate about PED’s? Really, A’s fans? Y’all are gonna boo over that? Okay. Anyway, I know they weren’t going to play Peralta at SS, but it would’ve made more sense to have him PH for Iggy than Dirks. We might be shooting ourselves in the foot on that. Luckily, it did not matter tonight.

    BTW, guess for whom the bell tolls. That is annoying.

    Eat ’em up, Tigers!

    • normcash - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:13 AM

      Given who started the game for Oakland, booing Peralta took a lot of gall!

    • nbjays - Oct 5, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Wait, what??? I comment from Historio about a Scherzer win and she doesn’t call him “His Heterochromianess” even once??

      M’dear, I’m disappointed in you. Clearly you have been eating too much bread pudding.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        Well, I said “His Heterochromianess” on the preview post, so I didn’t do it again here. I didn’t want to do it too much. :)

      • nbjays - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        That would be a first…

      • historiophiliac - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        Whatever. You love it.

    • pwshrugged - Oct 5, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      That’s the biggest thing Max seems to have over Verlander these days; for as good as Verlander is, you can see him get visibly frustrated when the ump starts calling a skewed strike zone. I thought the ump last night was all over, although normally favoring pitches to the right (of the pitcher/catcher’s left). But both of Coco Crisp’s walks by Scherzer seemed like they could have gone either way on some very borderline high pitches; same when Smyly walked him. I’m accustomed to seeing JV get riled up when that happens, but Max took it in stride and just kept working. Great effort.

  2. herkulease - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Hats off to Scherzer, he was dealing and made my A’s look foolish at time.

    I hope tomorrow though whoever is behind the plate is vastly more consistent with balls and strikes. The strikezone was all over the place.

    Coco gets gifted 2 balls in his 1st at bat that should be strikes, then later pitches even further away and off the plate are now strikes. Even the TBS guys were unsure when someone is going to get rung up or not.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:24 AM

      Not just the announcers. Infante started to first thinking he’d walked and had to be called back. I’m kinda surprised we didn’t see more arguing.

    • bendover09 - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:49 AM

      Funny how you guys notice this now but what happened when I said this about the Rangers against Price? TBS along with espnradio said price had a big strike zone .. guess its all conspiracy right?? Ppl weren’t such homers they would not be that blind

      • historiophiliac - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        Or, we’d have to watch Rays games. 😉

  3. greg2geez - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    Wegner the home plate ump had lousy nite for sure. Would like to have seen him call the game even for both sides but he gave away the outside corner to Sherzer and nada for Bartolo.

    • normcash - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:15 AM

      You’re wrong…Wegner was an equal opportunity butcher tonight. I lost count of the
      inside pitches Max threw that PitchTrax showed were clearly strikes that Wegner
      called balls. He was awful.

  4. weaselpuppy - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    Someone needs to research the last time a pitcher got a K and an assist on the same play like Benoit did tonight….

    and yes, that strikezone was terrible…..but Max was filthy tonight.

    JV up next…maybe the A’s can K 16 times two nights in a row…

  5. aidanscawley - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    Definitely turned into a better game than it looked to be after the first. Depending on how you felt about the Braves game, it was the best game in a full playoff slate and certainly looks to be an exciting series.

  6. paperlions - Oct 5, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    I can’t help it, every time I see a picture of Scherzer, because of the eyes, in my head I hear Dave Mustaine singing:

    Part bionic
    And organic
    Not a cyborg

    • historiophiliac - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      There’s a lot of hair in your world, isn’t there? he he

      • paperlions - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM


  7. coloradostupid - Oct 5, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    In the last September series with the Red Sox, Boston demolished and embarrassed Scherzer in a rout. Looking forward to a Red Sox – Tigers ALCS – bring it on.

    • normcash - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      And the A’s knocked Max around when they faced him in late August. Be careful what you wish for my friend….

  8. coloradostupid - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:01 PM


  9. grumpyoleman - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Last night they should have added balls in the middle if the strike zone but called a ball to their graphics

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