Max Scherzer moved to an incredible 10-0 on the season — and did so by punching out 10 Baltimore Orioles in six innings en route to a 5-1 victory.
The Detroit Tigers’ lineup, which has struggled so mightily away from Comerica Park, woke up just enough to provide Scherzer a little comfort. Miguel Cabrera opened the festivities with a two-run homer in the first inning, and the Tigers then went on to their 39th victory.
Our grades for Game 68:
1. Austin Jackson: A. This is precisely why the Tigers were missing Jackson atop their lineup. He led off the game with a single, scored on Cabrera’s homer, then put up two more hits, another run and an RBI in the win.
2. Torii Hunter: B. Hunter had another of those opposite-field hits that we’ve become accustomed to, which helped the Tigers break the game open in the fifth. He finished 1-for-4 with a run.
3. Miguel Cabrera: A. If not for Baltimore’s Chris Davis, who bombed his 24th homer Monday, Cabrera would be cruising toward another Triple Crown. He had three more hits in the Tigers’ win, including a long two-run homer to right-center that put Detroit ahead 2-0 early.
4. Prince Fielder: C. Fielder singled and took an intentional walk, but he also K’d in his first two at-bats against the Orioles’ Jake Arrieta.
5. Victor Martinez: C. An 0-for-3 night for Martinez with a pair of double plays, including one to kill a potential threat. But he also came through with an important sac-fly RBI in the fifth to stretch Detroit’s lead to 4-1.
6. Jhonny Peralta: B-plus. Is Peralta destined to make an All-Star appearance? He’s been sensational this year and just kept on rolling with a double and, later, an RBI single.
7. Andy Dirks: D. Dirks probably could take an “F” for his 0-for-2 night, but he was pulled for pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia in the fifth so it was an incomplete outing.
8. Omar Infante: A. About as quiet a 4-for-4 night as you’ll see. Infante also chipped in a stolen base, but he did not account for any RBIs nor did he score.
9. Brayan Pena: C-minus. Pena gets our typical bump for being behind the plate during a well-pitched game. Otherwise, it was a miserable 0-for-4 for the Tigers’ current No. 1 catcher (with Alex Avila on the DL) — plus, Pena bunted into a double play.
1. Avisail Garcia: D. Same deal as Dirks — Garcia turned in an uninspiring 0-for-2 in limited action.
1. Max Scherzer: A-minus. What can you say about a guy who’s 10-0? This was far from Scherzer’s most dominant performance, what with seven hits allowed, but he gutted out six innings and struck out 10 Orioles. His biggest K came on Davis, with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth.
2. Drew Smyly: A-plus. Hard to give Smyly the MVP since the game was pretty well in control when he hopped into the game. Still, the Tigers could not ask anything more of Smyly than what he delivered — a nine-up, nine-down save.