Max Scherzer takes another crack at win No. 20 on Sunday when the Detroit Tigers wrap up a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park.
Scherzer could be on his way to an American League Cy Young Award this season, as he is 19-3 with a 3.01 ERA. However, he is winless in his last three starts and has lost the last two times he has taken the ball. He couldn't get to the fifth inning on Monday in Chicago, as the White Sox reached him for five runs (4 earned) and six hits in four innings.
"I made too many mistakes," Scherzer said. "I left the ball up, elevated the ball. I wasn't able to get the ball down and it cost me."
Scherzer has faced the Royals 16 times and is 9-4 with a 3.61 ERA.
Kansas City, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Jeremy Guthrie on Sunday, as he tries to win his third consecutive decision. Guthrie was terrific in Cleveland on Tuesday, as he held the Indians to just a run and nine hits in six innings to run his record to 14-10 on the year to go along with a 4.11 ERA.
"I thought Guthrie did an outstanding job," Royals manager Ned Yost said, "and the reason I say outstanding is because he pitched and kept us in the game through six innings without his best stuff. ... He did a good job of making pitches when he needed to, but didn't have his best stuff, and that's what starters do. They get you through without their best stuff."
Guthrie is 7-4 in 17 games (14 starts) against the Tigers with a 4.14 ERA.
These pitchers will be hard pressed to match the mound effort from Saturday, as Eric Hosmer's first-inning triple knocked in the only run of the game in Kansas City's 1-0 victory.
Four Kansas City pitchers made Hosmer's extra-base hit stand up to give the Royals their ninth win in 13 outings this September, with Ervin Santana (9-9) scattering five hits and a walk over the first 6 2/3 innings and Greg Holland surviving a leadoff walk to Prince Fielder in the ninth to notch his 43rd save of the season.
Fielder was thrown out at the plate to end the game after attempting to score on Omar Infante's double to left.
Hosmer and Mike Moustakas each went 2-for-4 for Kansas City, which is still 3 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the AL's second wild card.
"This was a huge win for us, we had to have this win tonight," Yost said afterward. "We had to win this ball game, and in the manner and fashion that we won it, it was exciting."
Detroit had a three-game win streak halted after mustering just seven hits. Doug Fister (12-9) was dealt the hard-luck loss, permitting just the one run and striking out six over 7 2/3 innings of work.
Despite losing the opener of this set on Friday, Kansas City holds a 10-8 edge in the matchup with the Tigers and has clinched its first season series win against them since taking 11 of 18 in 2008.