CLEVELAND – Other than the first inning, Max Scherzer was flawless.
At the perfect time for the Tigers.
Scherzer retired 22 straight after giving up two hits and a run in the first and Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer, leading Detroit to a 5-1 win over Cleveland on Tuesday night to stop the Indians’ winning streak at five and trim their lead in the AL Central.
Scherzer (6-0) gave up two singles – one a broken-bat bloop – in the first before shutting down baseball’s hottest team for eight innings.
The right-hander walked just one and struck out seven, including the final four he faced.
Scherzer’s 118th and last pitch was his fastest – a 98 mph heater to fan Drew Stubbs.
He knew that was going to be it for him, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. He really cranked it up. That was pretty impressive. He did a terrific job.
Cabrera’s laser shot in the sixth inning, his 12th homer and fourth in two games, off Corey Kluber (3-3) helped the Tigers win for just the second time in six games. The defending AL champions also moved within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Indians, who have won 18 of 23 since April 28.
That was a dominant performance, Indians manager Terry Francona said. His last pitch was 98, and when you’re up around 115 or 120 pitches and you have that left in the tank, that’s saying a lot.
Scherzer gave the Tigers a much-needed outing and set the stage for Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, who will pitch tonight.
Andy Dirks hit a solo homer in the sixth and had two RBI as Detroit won the first game of the short, showdown series.
In the first, Scherzer was touched for a leadoff single by Michael Bourn, a one-out base hit by Asdrubal Cabrera and a hard-hit sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley before he made the Indians look silly.
He had his good stuff all the way around from his fastball, a good slider and a good changeup, Bourn said. He came out and dominated.