Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tigers, Scherzer stifle Rays

DETROIT — As touted as the Tigers lineup is, starting with reigning MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Rays manager Joe Maddon said what often goes overlooked is the fact they might have the best starting pitching in the American League.

Consider this: Tampa Bay entered the series at Comerica Park the highest-scoring team in the league the past month and a half. But the Rays scored a combined six runs in three games against Detroit, including Thursday's 5-2 loss that ended an eight-game road trip.

"They always say good pitching beats good hitting," rightfielder Matt Joyce said. "Their (rotation) is top three in baseball, for sure. And we haven't even seen their ace."

The Rays (32-27) didn't face former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander this week, but right-hander Max Scherzer pitched like an ace Thursday, allowing just one run in seven dominant innings. Maddon said a "great indication" of how good Scherzer was is how he handled Evan Longoria, becoming the second pitcher in the three-time All-Star's six big-league seasons to strike him out three times in one game, and the first since Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester on Aug. 4, 2009.

"He pretty much dominated me and did a good number on us as a team," Longoria said.

Scherzer (8-0) has done that to a lot of teams this year. Longoria said the Tigers pitcher used deception with his arm slot, mixed his pitches and didn't miss his spots. Maddon compared him to Tuesday's starter, Anibal Sanchez, who gave up just one run in seven innings. Doug Fister shut the Rays out the first eight innings Wednesday.

"This series, it seems like they were putting the ball where they wanted to, with the pitches they wanted to," Joyce said.

Said the Rays' Ben Zobrist: "They were really on point. I don't think anybody saw that many great pitches to hit the last three days."

Maddon said he thought Tampa Bay right-hander Roberto Hernandez also pitched pretty well, scattering 10 hits but carrying over some things he did in last week's dominant performance in Miami. But the Tigers (32-26) were able to score in the fourth on a two-run homer by Victor Martinez, Hernandez's former catcher in Cleveland.

"He threw the ball good, extremely good," catcher Jose Molina said. "One of those bad-luck losses."

Maddon pulled Hernandez (3-6) after 5⅓ innings and just 84 pitches, because there were runners on the corners and he wanted to keep it close. But reliever Jake McGee allowed a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia to make it 4-1. And in the seventh, Cabrera singled off McGee's left shin before scoring on Martinez's RBI single.

"That," Maddon said, "was a big play."

The Rays were able to somewhat contain Cabrera, holding him to four hits and just one RBI the entire series. But Tampa Bay still dropped two of the three games to fall to 5-3 on the eight-game road trip, and it came close to getting swept had it not been for a gem by Alex Cobb on Wednesday and a three-run, ninth-inning rally.

"They're definitely going to be one of those teams that are going to be there at the end," Longoria said. "And hopefully we can see them later in the year, and into October."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Tigers, Scherzer stifle Rays 06/06/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 6, 2013 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. LSU advances to College World Series finals, awaits Florida or TCU


    OMAHA, Neb. — Caleb Gilbert held No. 1 national seed Oregon State to two hits in 71/3 innings, Michael Papierski homered from both sides of the plate and LSU beat the Beavers 6-1 on Saturday to reach the College World Series finals.

    Beau Jordan celebrates after hitting a home run during a victory over Oregon State, LSU’s second straight win over the No. 1 national seed.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …