Detroit, MI (WKZO) – Miguel Cabrera had three hits, an RBI, a run scored and even a stolen base and Victor Martinez hit his fourth home run of the year as the Tigers took the final game of their three game series with the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Thursday afternoon. But it was the continued excellence on the mound from Max Scherzer that carried Detroit to their 32nd victory of the year.
Max Scherzer was phenomenal in picking up his eighth win of the year. Scherzer went seven strong allowing only a single run and four hits while striking out seven and walking a pair. In his last eight starts, Scherzer has fanned at least seven in seven of those starts and joins Boston Red Sox Clay Buchholz as one of two starters in the AL with perfect 8-0 records. The only run the Rays could muster off Scherzer came in the sixth inning on an RBI single from James Loney.
A day after being shutout for the sixth time in 2013, Victor Martinez got the scoring going for the Tigers with a two run homer in the fourth inning off Rays starter Roberto Hernandez. Prince Fielder was aboard after singling to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Martinez recorded his third RBI of the game after he singled in Miguel Cabrera for the Tigers fifth run in the seventh inning.
Jose Valverde closed out the game for Detroit with a scoreless ninth to pick up his seventh save.
Roberto Hernandez took the loss for Tampa Bay after allowing four runs in 5.1 innings. He struck out six but gave up 10 hits and walked one.
*Cabrera singled home Don Kelly for the Tigers third run in the bottom of the fifth. The RBI was Cabrera’s 66th of the year.
*Avisail Garcia pinch hit for Don Kelly in the sixth inning and hit a sac fly scoring Jhonny Peralta for the Tigers fifth run. Garcia hit a single in the eighth inning as well.
*With two outs in the first Miguel Cabrera singled and was followed by a Prince Fielder walk but Victor Martinez struck out ending in the inning.
*Joaquin Benoit replaced Scherzer to start the eighth and after allowing a walk to Ben Zobrist and ground rule double to Evan Longoria to put runners on second and third with two outs, Benoit gave up an infield single to James Loney, scoring Zobrist for the Rays second run.
Game Notes: Actor/Comedian David Spade threw out the first pitch…Scherzer is the first Tiger pitcher to start the season 8-0 since Jeremy Bonderman did so in 2007… Jhonny Peralta had two hits, including his 15th double…Tigers welcome the Cleveland Indians to Comerica Park for three games starting Friday night. Justin Verlander (7-4, 3.70) looks for his fourth straight win as he gets the start in the opener. Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3, 4.83) gets the nod for Cleveland. Jimenez is 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA against Detroit in 2013. The Tigers hold a 2.5 game lead for first in the AL Central over Cleveland.