Detroit, MI – Miguel Cabrera hit his 40th homer of the season and knocked in three runs, Max Scherzer became the first 18-game winner in the majors and the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals, 6-3, on Sunday at Comerica Park.
Scherzer (18-1) allowed two runs on five hits while striking out four over eight innings for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who won three contests in this five-game series. The 29-year-old right-hander became the fifth pitcher since 1912 to win at least 18 of his first 19 decisions, according to STATS.
"He changed speeds pretty good and located very well," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said of Scherzer. "I thought he was vintage Max today. He was really, really good."
Torii Hunter, Brayan Pena and Ramon Santiago each drove in a run for Detroit, which had 12 hits.
Kansas City starter Bruce Chen (5-1) gave up six runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. Billy Butler hit a solo homer and Salvador Perez and Emilio Bonifacio each had an RBI.
After hitting a walk-off homer Saturday night, Cabrera socked a two-run shot on the first pitch he saw Sunday. Austin Jackson, who led off with a single, scored on Cabrera's blast over the wall in left.
Detroit tacked on another run in the third. With two outs, Hunter hit a ground-rule double to right and raced home on Cabrera's single to left-center field.
"He got a home run, he got a base hit...he's a very good hitter," Chen said of Cabrera. "He's in our division. We know him and he's been consistent."
The Tigers gave Scherzer some more run support in the fifth. Jose Iglesias and Austin Jackson hit back-to-back doubles to put men on second and third. Hunter's sacrifice fly to right made it a 4-0 contest.
Scherzer allowed just one hit through five innings. The Royals finally moved a runner past first in the sixth when Jarrod Dyson singled, stole second and advanced to third on David Lough's groundout. Scherzer, though, got Eric Hosmer looking at strike three.
Detroit scored two more runs in the bottom half. Andy Dirks singled and crossed the plate on Pena's double to center. Louis Coleman then took over for Chen and Santiago greeted him with an RBI single to right.
Kansas City got both of those runs back in the seventh. Butler singled, moved to third on Alex Gordon's double and scored on Perez's groundout. Bonifacio followed with an RBI double to left-center field.
Butler homered off Joaquin Benoit in the ninth to account for the final margin.
It was the 11th time in Tigers history that a player has hit 40-or-more home runs in a season. Cabrera became just the third player in franchise history to hit 40-or-more homers in back-to-back seasons.