Max Scherzer will try to pitch the Detroit Tigers out of their current funk when he takes the ball Tuesday versus the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a three-game series.
The Tigers are mired in a season-high four-game losing streak and hope Scherzer can get them back on track. Scherzer pitched brilliantly in his last outing, a 2-1 win at Seattle last Wednesday. He did not record a decision and struck out a season-high 12 batters over eight innings of one-run ball.
"We got in a good rhythm, a good roll and I was able to put together a good outing to keep us competitive in that game," Scherzer said afterward.
Scherzer, who has allowed two runs in his last two starts, has recorded back- to-back no-decisions and is 1-0 with a 2.84 earned run average in three trips to the mound. The right-hander has made 13 career starts against the AL Central-rival Royals, going 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA.
Detroit dropped its fourth in a row and failed to salvage the finale of a three-game series against the LA Angels of Anaheim in Sunday's 4-3 loss in 13 innings. The Angels' Mark Trumbo clubbed a solo homer leading off the bottom of the 13th inning and made a loser of Tigers reliever Phil Coke.
"A great game and they finally got the big fly. We had chances, but we couldn't get them across the plate," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
Prince Fielder hit a two-run homer and Austin Jackson was credited with an RBI for the Tigers, who went 4-5 on their western road trip and squandered a strong outing from starting pitcher Doug Fister. Fister was reached for three runs -- two earned -- and six hits in seven innings.
The Tigers are beginning a nine-game homestand Tuesday versus the Royals, Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins. They are 4-2 at Comerica Park and 1 1/2 games behind Kansas City for the Central lead.
Kansas City is coming off Sunday's doubleheader sweep of the Boston Red Sox and will resume its eight-game road trip (3-2).
After taking the first game at Fenway Park by a 4-2 score behind seven strong innings of two-run ball and seven strikeouts from Ervin Santana, Lorenzo Cain drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the 10th inning, scoring Alex Gordon, for a 5-4 victory in the series finale.
Billy Butler and George Kottaras both hit solo homers, while Gordon finished 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI for the Central-leading Royals, who have won four of their last six games.
"I thought we had great at-bats in crucial situations," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Kelvin Herrera fanned three batters and walked one, while allowing one hit in two scoreless relief innings for the win. Greg Holland earned his fifth save by striking out three in the bottom of the 10th. Jeremy Guthrie started for K.C. and was tagged for four runs and eight hits in six innings.
The Royals have won each of Wade Davis' three starts and hope that trend carries on Tuesday. Davis, in his first season with K.C., has rebounded from a rough first outing in which he allowed four runs in four innings of a 13-4 win at Philadelphia. He delivered five shutout innings in a victory over Minnesota on April 10, then recently held Atlanta to five hits through seven scoreless innings in last Wednesday's 1-0 road win.
Davis, who is 2-0 with a 2.25 earned run average, hasn't allowed a run in his last 13 innings and the right-hander has no record and a 3.42 ERA in seven career appearances -- three starts -- against the Tigers.
Detroit went 13-5 against the Royals last season, going 8-1 at Comerica Park. The Royals have lost six of the last seven meetings in this series.