DETROIT (AP) — Derek Holland succeeded where so many other pitchers have failed this year — he kept Detroit’s offense quiet while Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer was on the mound.
So the Texas Rangers were the team that finally halted Scherzer’s unbeaten run, tagging the Detroit All-Star with his first loss of the season and defeating the Tigers 7-1 Saturday night.
Scherzer (13-1) was trying to become the first pitcher in the majors to start 14-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986, but Holland (8-4) outpitched him. The Texas left-hander allowed a run and five hits in seven innings. He walked five and struck out seven.
“Scherzer was 13-0 for a reason. He’s got great stuff,” Holland said. “Today I made pitches when I needed to and I thought my defense did a great job making plays and saving me. It’s up there with the big games this year.”
It was Scherzer’s first loss since Sept. 23. This defeat came in his final start before the All-Star game — he could start the event Tuesday night at Citi Field in New York.
Mitch Moreland’stwo-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. 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 caught Scherzer in the left wrist, but the Detroit right-hander 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 walked Elvis Andrus, and that came back to haunt him when Moreland lifted a drive to left-center for his 13th homer of the season.
“It was a first-pitch fastball and I tried to put a good swing on it. It worked out,” Moreland said. “Derek kind of set the tone for us.”
Holland lowered his ERA to 3.08, which is 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 was impressive Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 44,061 at Comerica Park.
“Five walks is really hard to defend, but I thought I made pitches when I had to and those guys made plays to keep those walks from leading to a big snowball effect,” Holland said. “And the offense gave me some runs, too.”
Texas starters are only 10-13 since the beginning of June, even after Holland’s solid performance.
Scherzer allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out six. He 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.
“I threw some good pitches, they hit it. I threw some bad pitches, they hit it even farther,” Scherzer said. “It’s a loss. That’s what happens when you don’t quite pitch as well.”
Hernan Perez hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth for Detroit, but Pierzynski’s RBI bloop double in the fifth made it 4-1.
NOTES: Ian Kinsler set a Rangers’ record with his 162nd career steal, breaking a tie with Bump Wills. … Detroit’s Victor Martinez left the bases loaded with a third-inning strikeout and had his hitting streak snapped at 14 games. … Tigers ace Justin Verlander (9-6) starts Sunday against Texas LHP Martin Perez (3-1).