Scherzer's heat melts Twins strategy

The home team worked the count well, but on the few times the Tigers pitcher got in trouble, he simply rode his nasty fastball.

Ben Revere struck out to open the bottom of the first inning Wednesday, but it took nine pitches from Tigers righthander Max Scherzer to dispose of him.

Darin Mastroianni followed with a strikeout, too. But now Scherzer had thrown 14 pitches. The Twins had seen all of Scherzer's stuff and were ready to work counts deep and run him out of the game in the middle innings.

This is the age in which the walk is a weapon, managers get squeamish about pitch counts, and teams that can grind out good at-bats usually are rewarded.

There was no payoff for being patient on Wednesday, when Detroit won 5-1 at Target Field and Scherzer navigated through the Twins lineup with 117 pitches over seven shutout innings, tied for the third-most pitches he has thrown in a game this season.

"You're watching and he's got all these pitches and you expected him to start making mistakes," Mastroianni said, "and he really didn't leave much over the plate."

Said manager Ron Gardenhire, "I thought we did a nice job of making [Scherzer] throw a lot of pitches, but he didn't bury himself."

Just when the Twins thought they had an advantage, Scherzer's GPS kicked in. He hit 99 miles per hour with his fastball, and his other stuff was nasty, too.

Scherzer struck out 10 and took over the American League lead with 178. Whom did he knock back into second place? Teammate Justin Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP. Scherzer (12-6) also matched Verlander for the team lead in wins.

The Twins, who finished 1-5 on their six-game homestand to fall back into last place in the AL, believed there was a window to knock Scherzer out of the game in the second and third innings. Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit led off the second with walks. Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones went to the mound after the count to Doumit went 2-0, as Scherzer misfired on pitches and looked agitated.

Then Scherzer fanned Trevor Plouffe with a fastball clocked at 98; Jamey Carroll swung and missed a 99-mph heater to strike out; and Alexi Casilla looked at a 95-mph fastball for strike three. Scherzer had thrown 49 pitches through two innings.

The Twins came right back in the third when Revere singled to center. He tried to steal second, but Tigers catcher Alex Avila nailed him with an outstanding throw. It was a significant play, because Mastroianni followed with an infield single. Joe Mauer struck out on an incorrectly called strike three and let plate umpire Jim Wolf know it as he walked to the bench. Josh Willingham flied out to end what could have been a promising inning.

Those two outs started a run of 11 consecutive Twins retired.

"That helped keep momentum on our side," Scherzer said. "That allows me to have a clean inning, and it allowed our hitters momentum for the next inning, and that's when Delmon hit the bomb."

Delmon, of course, is former Twin Delmon Young. He hit a two-run homer to left off Twins righthander Cole De Vries in the fourth, giving Detroit a 3-0 lead and punching his old team in the gut. Miguel Cabrera, who hit an opposite-field homer in the first, added a RBI single in the fifth to make the lead 4-0.

De Vries (2-4) was removed after four innings and hasn't won in eight starts. With Liam Hendriks pitching well at Class AAA Rochester, the Twins could decide to take another look at him if De Vries continues to struggle.

Twins hitters on Wednesday believed they were set up for a good offensive day, but they ended up tipping their caps to Scherzer.

"He's got great stuff," Morneau said, "and sometimes it is hard to settle in on guys when they are misfiring under the chin and then put the next one on the black."

La Velle E. Neal III • lneal@startribune.com

  • DETROIT 5, TWINS 1

    Up next: 9:10 p.m. Friday at Seattle

    TV: FSN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close