In addition to recording his first hit since 2009, Max Scherzer struck out 11 batters over six scoreless innings to lift the Detroit Tigers over Matt Harvey and the New York Mets, 3-0, in the second test of a three-game series.
Not only did Scherzer become the first 19-game winner in the majors Saturday, but he also became only the third pitcher in major league history to win at least 19 of his first 20 decisions in a season.
The 29-year-old Scherzer (19-1) gave up three hits and walked four batters, while Harvey (9-5) allowed two runs on a career-high 13 hits over 6 2/3 innings.
"Everybody through the lineup plays well every time I take the mound, and that's the reason I'm 19-1 -- not because I'm pitching well, but because everyone else is stepping up and doing their job," Scherzer said.
Saturday marked the first time in major league history that the All-Star Game starting pitchers faced each other in a regular-season game in the same season.
Scherzer helped his own cause in the second inning. Andy Dirks doubled to right-center field, advanced to third on Brayan Pena's single to left-center field and scored on Scherzer's double to left-center field. Austin Jackson's infield single scored another run to make it 2-0.
"It was pretty crappy. Giving up 13 hits is not ideal as a starting pitcher," Harvey said. "I was not happy about giving up runs, and I gave up too many hits. It was just a poor performance."
Meanwhile, Scherzer was dominant on the mound. The Mets didn't advance a runner past first base until the sixth. Daniel Murphy singled, Ike Davis doubled and Wilmer Flores walked to load the bases. Scherzer was able to settle down and retired the next two batters to keep New York off the board.
Don Kelly's sacrifice fly in the ninth made it a 3-0 game.
Jose Alvarez tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings, Jose Veras recorded the final two outs in the eighth and Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect ninth to secure the victory. Benoit picked up his 17th save of the season.
The Tigers had 15 hits, compared to three for New York ... In 1912, Giants left-hander Rube Marquard was 19-0 when he suffered his first loss. He finished 26-11. Roger Clemens opened 19-1 for the 2001 Yankees. He increased his record to 20-1 before he lost his final two decisions to finish at 20-3.