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Scherzer, Tigers open up series with Mariners

Max Scherzer tries to continue his mastery of Seattle this evening when the Detroit Tigers start a three-game series with the Mariners at Comerica Park.

Scherzer has faced the Mariners four times and has won each time he has faced them, pitching to a 2.00 earned run average in the process. Two of those wins came last season.

The 27-year-old right-hander picked up his first win of the season his last time out on Wednesday, as he beat the Kansas City Royals, holding them to three runs and seven hits in six innings to run his record to 1-1 on the year, while lowering his ERA to a still lofty 7.98.

Detroit started a seven-game homestand in disappointing fashion this past weekend, as it lost three of four to the red-hot Texas Rangers, including a 3-2 setback in 11 innings in Sunday's finale.

Brennan Boesch hit a solo homer for the Tigers, while starter Drew Smyly allowed one run on five hits over six full frames. Thad Weber (0-1), though, gave up one run on three hits in the 11th to take the loss.

The loss didn't come without controversy. With the bases loaded and nobody out Alberto Gonzalez tried to bunt Nelson Cruz home, but it appeared that the ball hit Gonzalez's knee, which would have made it a foul ball. Home plate umpire Tim Welke didn't see it that way and Gonzalez was credited with a single.

"The ball came down and hit him on the back knee," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "There's no question about that."

Seattle, meanwhile, has lost four in a row after a three-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox over the weekend that included Philip Humber's perfect game on Saturday. It didn't get any better for the M's in Sunday's finale, as they dropped a 7-4 decision.

Jesus Montero, Alex Liddi and Dustin Ackley drove home runs for the Mariners, while Kevin Millwood (0-1) yielded five runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out three in defeat.

"Panic is definitely not the answer," Millwood said. "... It's one of those things you've got to get through. Hopefully there will be more good stretches than bad."

Getting the call tonight will be lefty Jason Vargas, who is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA. Vargas won for the second time in three starts on Wednesday against Cleveland with a terrific showing that saw him allow just a run and four hits in seven innings. He also struck out seven.

Vargas has faced the Tigers three times and is 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA.

Seattle has given Detroit fits over the past two seasons, winning 11 of the 18 matchups with six of those victories coming in the Motor City.