7:07 PM ET, July 3, 2013
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Max Scherzer first to start 13-0 in 27 years; tempers flare in Tigers' win
TORONTO -- Max Scherzer's latest victory was overshadowed by some bad blood on the basepaths.
Max Scherzer improved to 13-0 with his win Wednesday night. Only three starting pitchers in the Live Ball Era have had a better undefeated start to a season.
Best Undefeated Start to a Season
By SP in Live Ball Era (Since 1920)
|*- Won Cy Young that season|
--ESPN Stats & Information
• Stats & Info: Maxing Out
"We're really mad about that slide," Scherzer said. "That's a very dirty play in my book. When you watch it on replay, his spikes are up, he's sliding late."
After he was hit by a pitch from Scherzer, Rasmus slid hard into Infante on Rajai Davis' grounder to shortstop, breaking up the potential double play. Rasmus' right leg caught Infante on the left shin, sending him to the ground in pain.
Infante, who was replaced by Ramon Santiago, needed help walking off the field, but X-rays were negative. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Infante would not play Thursday.
Scherzer said Rasmus deserved to be suspended for injuring Infante, whom he called "a critical reason why we've been good this year."
"That's something where, if we were to retaliate on him, we get suspended but it's really him who should be suspended for making a slide like that," Scherzer said. "He slid way too late. I understand him playing the game hard but that's not a clean play and we didn't like that."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons declined to comment, saying he didn't want to "inflame" the situation. As for Rasmus, he denied sliding any differently than normal.
"I go in hard every time," Rasmus said. "My intention is never to hurt anybody or nothing like that. I was taught that early in this game and that's how I play it. I didn't mean for nothing bad to happen. But it's no different than any time I ever come in."
"Trust me, it's nothing against Redmond," Hunter said. "It was all Rasmus sliding late with his spikes up."
Hunter took a few steps toward the mound and gestured at Redmond after being hit on the left shoulder. Plate umpire Mike Estabrook quickly steered Hunter away and he was wrapped up by teammate Prince Fielder.
"That's the only way I can vent, and I wanted to vent," Hunter said.
No punches were thrown, and the relievers from both teams were pointed back to their bullpens before reaching the infield.
All four umpires huddled and, before play resumed, Estabrook warned both benches.
Scherzer (13-0) allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out eight and walked one in 6 1/3 innings. He's the first pitcher to begin the season with 13 wins and no losses since Roger Clemens won his first 14 decisions for the Boston Red Sox in 1986.
"It might not have been vintage Max but he was really good," Leyland said.
Scherzer also improved to 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays. He has 139 strikeouts this season, second only to Texas' Yu Darvish among AL starters.
"We're confident when he's on the mound and we're excited to see him get this 13th win," Hunter said.
The Blue Jays dropped to 3-7 since matching a team record with an 11-game winning streak.
Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera, who left Tuesday's game in the ninth with a sore lower back, started and batted third but was replaced by Don Kelly in the ninth. Cabrera, who came in with a major league-leading .368 batting average, went 1 for 4 with a walk.
Leyland said Cabrera's back was still bothering him, possibly because of consecutive road series on turf in Tampa Bay and Toronto. He also said Cabrera would get the day off Thursday.
"We've been on turf now for six straight days," Leyland said. "Guys aren't used to that."
The Tigers took advantage of two miscues to score four runs in the second. Fielder was credited with a single when pitcher Josh Johnson couldn't handle his comebacker and Martinez reached on an error by second baseman Emilio Bonifacio before Jhonny Peralta hit an RBI single.
With two outs, Avila drove a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left for his sixth homer.
"We definitely didn't help ourselves there," Gibbons said. "Against the better pitchers, you fall behind like that, it's an uphill battle."
Hunter reached on an error by Johnson to begin the third and scored on a base hit by Martinez, who made it 6-0 when he connected for his seventh homer leading off the fifth.
Johnson (1-3) allowed six runs, one earned, and seven hits in five innings.
"Austin had the opportunity to go up like Michael Jordan and he got up," an appreciative Hunter said.
The Blue Jays broke through against Scherzer in the sixth when Rasmus and Maicer Izturis hit RBI singles.
"They hit some balls hard but I was able to keep it on the ground and keep them to singles and minimize the damage," Scherzer said.
Adam Lind returned to Toronto's lineup after missing two games with a sore back, while catcher Arencibia started after sitting out Tuesday's game with a sore right shoulder.
Game notesScherzer threw 113 pitches, 79 strikes. ... Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion (left hamstring) missed his third straight game. ... Blue Jays RHP Sergio Santos (right triceps) began a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League, giving up one hit and striking out two in one scoreless inning. ... Tigers OF Matt Tuiasosopo (strained left rib cage muscle) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo. Starting at DH, he went 1 for 1 with two walks and was hit by a pitch. ... Rock star Alice Cooper threw out the first pitch.
TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 3: Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a first inning pitch during MLB game...(Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|2nd||J Peralta singled to center, P Fielder scored, V Martinez to second.||1||0|
|2nd||A Avila homered to left center (411 feet), V Martinez and J Peralta scored.||4||0|
|3rd||V Martinez singled to center, T Hunter scored, M Cabrera to second.||5||0|
|5th||V Martinez homered to right (399 feet).||6||0|
|6th||C Rasmus singled to right, J Reyes scored, J Bautista to second.||6||1|
|6th||M Izturis singled to left, J Bautista scored, C Rasmus to second.||6||2|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON|
|Attendance||28,958 (58.8% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||70 degrees, overcast|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Alan Porter|
Max Scherzer improves to 13-0 this season. Only 3 starters in the Live Ball Era have had a better undefeated start to a season.[+]
Mixed up out pitches: he recorded at least 1 K with 4 different pitches for just the 3rd time this season (fastball - 4, changeup 2, curveball 1, slider 1). Tough with men on base: 4 of his 7 hits allowed came with the bases empty. With men on, batters were just 3-for-13 and all 3 hits came in the 6th inning when he allowed both runs. Got batters to swing at bad pitches: his chase percentage of 36.4 was his 2nd-highest of the season and 4 of his 8 K came on pitches out of the zone. Continued to mow down lefties: 5 of the 8 K were against lefties. This season his 85 K against lefties are the most in baseball. Survived: through 5 innings, Scherzer was cruising allowing just 2 hits while striking out 6. In his last 1 1/3 IP the Blue Jays went 5-for-9 (3-for-6 vs his fastball & 2-2 vs his changeup) and scored both runs.[+]
Scherzer Wednesday vs Blue Jays
Scherzer has pitched into the 6th inning in 14 of 16 starts. Despite what happened on Wednesday, he's been one of the best starting pitchers deep into games.[+]
6th Inning or Later - Scherzer This Season
ESPN Stats & Information
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