BOSTON — Jon Lester outdueled Max Scherzer and the Red Sox beat the Tigers 2-1 on Tuesday night, ending Scherzer's bid to become the second pitcher to open a season with a 20-1 record.
Lester improved his ERA to 1.71 in his past six starts and struck out a season-high nine.
Scherzer, who won his first 13 decisions, lost for the first time since July 13 when the Rangers beat him 7-1. Roger Clemens is the only pitcher to start 20-1; he ended up 20-3 with the 2001 Yankees. Rube Marquard was the only other pitcher with a 19-1 record, but he lost his next decision in 1912 with the Giants.
Boston scored on Will Middlebrooks' two-run single in the fifth after Detroit's Jose Iglesias doubled in a run in the second in the matchup of division leaders.
Koji Uehara pitched the ninth to extend his scoreless streak to 25 innings as Boston won for the eighth time in 10 games.
The Tigers lost for the second time in six games despite the return of Miguel Cabrera, who missed three games with abdominal and groin problems. Last year's Triple Crown winner and MVP went 0-for-4.