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(Sunday, May 20th)
Final Score: Detroit 4, Pittsburgh 3
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Alex Avila slapped a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning while Max Scherzer had a career-high 15 strikeouts Sunday as the Tigers defeated the Pirates, 4-3, in the finale of a three-game set at Comerica Park.
Scherzer (3-3) surrendered just four hits, two of which were solo homers, and walked only one batter over seven innings. Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth and earned his first save of the season.
"Whenever you can do something to really help the team to win, it's a gratifying feeling for anybody in this clubhouse," remarked Scherzer. "For me to go out there and have a game like today that helped get the series win, it puts a smile on my face."
Jhonny Peralta belted a solo homer and scored twice while Delmon Young added an RBI and a run scored as the Tigers took two games in the series.
Kevin Correia (1-5) allowed three runs on four hits in six-plus innings to take the loss. Rod Barajas and Neil Walker both crushed solo shots for the Pirates, who have lost four of their last six games.
"He was tough today," said Barajas about Scherzer. "Sometimes guys are going to go out there with their best stuff. A guy like Scherzer, if he has his best stuff on any given day, he's going to dominate."
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Detroit tied the game when Prince Fielder doubled and quickly scored on a single from Young to chase Correia from the contest.
Tony Watson entered to face Brennan Boesch, who bunted to move Young into scoring position, before Peralta coaxed a walk.
A passed ball moved both runners up before Avila snuck a single past a diving Clint Barmes at shortstop. The ball trickled into center field, allowing Young and Peralta to score to give Detroit a 4-2 lead.
Pittsburgh pulled within one in the ninth as Josh Harrison doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and crossed home on a sac fly from Barajas, but Benoit caught Nate McClouth staring at strike three to end the comeback bid.
Earlier in the fifth, Scherzer struck out Harrison for his fifth consecutive strikeout, but Barajas quickly halted his streak as he crushed the first pitch he saw into the seats in left to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Detroit responded in the bottom half with a solo blast from Peralta, but the Pirates quickly regained a one-run edge in the sixth as Walker launched his second homer of the year into the right-field seats.
Mickey Lolich holds the Tigers' franchise mark for most strikeouts in a game with 16, which he did twice in 1969...The Tigers have fanned eight or more batters in each of their last 11 games, the longest such streak by the club since at least 1918.
05/20 17:57:03 ET