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Max Scherzer strikes out 14 as Pirates lose, 5-2

Duane Burleson

So it turns out that Max Scherzer has three plus pitches, and he's really hard to hit. There isn't much else to say about this one. Scherzer struck out 14 batters in eight shutout innings, getting his first seven outs that way. It's hard to compete with that, and even after some late-inning fireworks, the Tigers left with a 5-2 win.

Not that Francisco Liriano didn't try -- he quietly had a very good start himself, striking out nine and walking four over six innings. He did, however, give up a solo homer to J.D. Martinez in the fifth. He then loaded the bases the following inning and walked in Martinez before striking out Nick Castellanos to end the inning.

Brandon Cumpton replaced Liriano in the seventh (a reasonable decision, in my opinion -- it wasn't a high-leverage spot, and Cumpton has a reasonable track record getting outs as a starter) and pitched a scoreless inning, but he got into trouble in the eighth. He gave up a one-out double to Miguel Cabrera, then intentionally walked Victor Martinez. He got Torii Hunter to hit a pop fly, then gave up a ground ball to second. It was a tough play, but probably a make-able one, but Michael Martinez threw the ball away and a run came home. Then two more runners came home on Castellanos' single.

The Pirates did get two runs in the ninth when Phil "Not Max Scherzer" Coke gave up a two-run homer to Gaby Sanchez, but Hunter made a nice play on a line drive by Starling Marte to prevent the Bucs from rallying further, and they never got close.