Max Scherzer pitched seven strong innings to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 5-1 win over the LA Angels of Anaheim to cap a four-game series.
Scherzer (9-5) won his third straight decision as he gave up just one run on three hits with four walks and nine strikeouts for Detroit, which has won four of its last five games.
"Once again it was our pitcher today and I've always talked about how pitching is going to be the difference for us," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland. "We got some key hits out there today, but Scherzer was great and he won it for us."
Alex Avila hit a two-run home run while Jhonny Peralta went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in the win for the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera added a solo homer.
Detroit's win, combined with Chicago's loss at Boston Thursday night, brought the Tigers within 1 1/2 games of the White Sox for first place in the AL Central. The Tigers host Chicago for three games this weekend.
Mike Trout's solo home run accounted for all the offense for the Angels, who went 2-5 on a seven-game road trip. Jerome Williams (6-7) dropped his fifth straight start as he was touched for all five runs on nine hits over six-plus innings.
"That's a good hitting team over there and they took advantage when I had the ball up in the zone," said Williams. "I have to do a better job myself of keeping the ball down."
A rainy afternoon in Detroit saw the home team go up in the second inning. Prince Fielder hustled out a double to start the frame and came home three batters later on Peralta's double to center. Avila followed with his sixth homer of the year for a 3-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until the fourth inning when Peralta singled with one out and came home on a Danny Worth double for a 4-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, the Tigers took a 5-0 lead on Cabrera's one-out, solo homer, his 21st of the season.
Trout, who has scored at least one run in 11 straight games, led off the sixth with his 14th homer of the season.
The Angels managed just two more baserunners the rest of the game and were retired in order by Jose Valverde in the ninth.
The Angels play their next nine games at home starting with a three-game set against Texas on Friday...The Angels went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left five on base.