Max Scherzer has won a Cy Young award, started the all-star game, and has won games in the postseason. He accomplished something Thursday night he had never done in his previous 178 MLB starts: he threw a complete game.
The 179th start is the most without a complete game in modern baseball history (since 1900) according to ESPN, as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Chicago White Sox 4-0.
Scherzer threw 113 pitches, gave up only three hits, and struck out eight while running his record to 8-2, defeating White Sox ace Chris Sale (5-1).
“I was surprised when I found out that he had no complete games,” Tigers first year manager Brad Ausmus said. “But he wanted this one for sure. He was on his game tonight. He has a Cy Young for reason.”
The game was billed as a pitchers duel and didn’t disappoint. Sale pitched seven innings, allowing five hits and striking out a season high 10- all swinging.
Sale did not allow a baserunner until Rajai Davis led off the fourth inning with a single.
Victor Martinez hit a home run to lead off the fifth for the only run off Sale. Miguel Cabrera drove in two runs in a rare infield single in the eighth off Jake Petricka to put the Tigers lead to 3-0. Bryan Holaday added an RBI in the ninth.
“When you face Sale, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game,” Scherzer said. “There’s no room for error.”
Scherzer usually gets a lot of strikeouts, typically taking high pitch counts deep into games which may have prevented him from pitching a complete game, reported Tigers.com.
At 98 pitches after the eighth inning, Scherzer was determined to finish the game. Like he does after every inning, Scherzer went straight to the clubhouse without uttering a word.
“He came off the mound at the end of eight and you really didn’t have to ask him,” Ausmus said. “You knew he was going back out.”
“If they would’ve said anything, I would have told them, ‘I have the ball,'” Scherzer said.
“He was dominant,” Sale said of Scherzer. “You know coming into this, you know who you’re going up against and it’s not going to be easy. For a long time there, it was who’s going to flinch first and unfortunately it was me.”
The Tigers (34-28) have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Kansas City Royals, 3 1/2 over the Cleveland Indians, and 3 1/2 over the White Sox.
[Image via toledoblade.com]