Scherzer goes seven innings, beats ex-teammates

DETROIT -- The Arizona Diamondbacks weren't surprised by anything Max Scherzer did Sunday.

They just couldn't do anything about it.

Scherzer allowed one run in seven innings against the team that traded him in December and late home runs by rookie Brennan Boesch and Carlos Guillen rallied the Detroit Tigers to a 3-1 victory.

"We've seen Max throw that exact game a lot of times," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "We got an early run off him, and we had his pitch count up, but we let him off the hook. Give him credit for making adjustments and extending himself deep into the game."

Scherzer is 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA in five starts after a quick trip to Triple-A Toledo to work out a mechanical flaw. He had begun the year with a 1-4 record in eight starts and a 7.29 ERA.

"It is hard, because there is still a learning curve for me," said Scherzer, who allowed four hits and struck out eight. "Today, I learned that I've got to throw my slider earlier in the game. Once I started doing that, it gave me three pitches that I could show hitters, and that allowed me to have more success."

Scherzer (4-6) outdueled Ian Kennedy. Both of them were part of a three-team trade last December that also sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees, Edwin Jackson to Arizona and Austin Jackson to Detroit.

Boesch and Guillen hit consecutive homers in the seventh to help the Tigers finish up an 8-1 homestand against NL opponents. Arizona has lost 15 of its last 16 road games.

"If Scherzer takes from this what he should take from it, this could be a giant step for him," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Not just this year, but in his career, because today he pitched. He learned the art of pitching, not just pumping fastballs."

Kennedy only allowed two hits in the first six innings, and had retired 13 straight as he took a 1-0 lead into the seventh.

Miguel Cabrera, though, led off the inning with a single and Boesch followed with a 410-foot homer to right. Guillen then connected for his fifth home run.

"This was very, very, very frustrating," Kennedy said. "Max had just struck out the side and it was 1-0 in the seventh, and I needed to step up and get us another quick inning so we could get into their bullpen. Instead, in three batters, I left the game get away."

Leyland was happy that his team finally got to Kennedy.

"I don't talk much about people reminding me of people, but he reminded me a little of Doug Drabek," he said. "You don't go 'ooh' and 'ahh,' because he's not throwing 96 or 97, but he's got four pitches, and he can use all of them for strikes. It's corny, but it is like that old saying about looking up pitcher in the dictionary and seeing his picture."

Joel Zumaya pitched the eighth and former Arizona closer Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 16th save.

"They took the lead at the most opportune time for them, because Max was done, and they had their two big boys ready to finish it off," Hinch said.

In the ninth, Valverde retired former batterymate Miguel Montero on a routine grounder to first. During Friday's series opener, Montero had been angered by Valverde's fist-pumping dance after striking him out.

"I never said he wasn't a great pitcher, but he's still my little girl," Montero said with a grin. "I thought he would challenge me again with his fastball, but he threw me a splitter. I guess he's gotten a little more mature."

Arizona's road struggles continued.

"When you are having a season like we are, especially on the road, you'd think that we were getting blown out a lot," Hinch said. "We aren't. It's a lot of games like this one, where we have a chance and don't take it."

Arizona's only run came in the first. Scherzer retired the first two batters, but Justin Upton walked, Montero singled and Chris Young hit an RBI double.

Game notes
Tigers SS Ramon Santiago stayed in the game after having his legs taken out by Rusty Ryal while turning a double play at second base. Santiago appeared to injure his left ankle on the play, but remained in the game after being attended to by Detroit's training staff. ... Austin Jackson played the ninth inning as a defensive replacement -- his first appearance since injuring his back last Sunday. Leyland said he expects Jackson to start Tuesday against the Mets.