After once again failing to win consecutive games on Saturday, the Detroit Tigers rebounded on Sunday to take the series with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. For a while, it looked like the Tigers were going to waste an absolute gem of a performance by Max Scherzer, but thanks to a late surge in offense, Scherzer and the Tigers picked up a victory.
Scherzer's performance may not have been one for the ages like Justin Verlander's outing on Friday, but he was outstanding. Scherzer struck out 15 batters, all of whom went down swinging. According to STATS (via Jon Morosi), Scherzer is only the second pitcher since 1988 to have at least 15 swinging strikeouts in a single game. What's more, Scherzer helped contribute to a total of 41 strikeouts by Tigers pitchers this weekend, which is a franchise record for a three-game series.
Although Scherzer had a great outing, he did allow two solo home runs. Thanks to a lack of offense for the first six innings (aside from a solo shot by Jhonny Peralta), the Tigers were in danger of losing. In the seventh, the bats finally came alive after Prince Fielder managed to reach second base on a blooper that landed in left field and was deflected out of reach by a Pirates player. A Delmon Young single quickly scored Fielder to tie things up, and an Alex Avila single later in the inning scored Young and Peralta. Just like that, the Tigers took a 4-2 lead.
With Jose Valverde out again because of an injury, Joaquin Benoit was called upon to close out the game for the Tigers. In Valverde-like fashion, Benoit allowed a run to score, making it 4-3, but he did close things out to seal the win for the Tigers.
The Tigers have Monday off before starting a three-game series in Cleveland against the Indians. The Tigers will then head to Minnesota for three games against the Twins and Boston for four games against the Red Sox. The Tigers will finally return home after another lengthy road trip this month on June 1 to take on the New York Yankees.