Tigers starter Max Scherzer silenced White Sox hitters over seven and two-thirds innings tonight, improving to 16-1 with the 3-0 victory. The right-hander allowed three hits and three walks while striking out six, lowering his ERA to 2.85. Scherzer got two quick outs in the seventh, but was lifted for newly-acquired reliever Jose Veras after Alejandro De Aza singled to center. Joaquin Benoit took over in the ninth and converted the save, his 12th of the year.
The Tigers’ three runs came on three solo home runs by Torii Hunter, Jhonny Peralta, and Jose Iglesias. They were again without Miguel Cabrera, who hasn’t played since July 30. This season, the Tigers are, astonishingly, 7-1 without him (via ESPN Stats & Info). Cabrera hopes he’ll be able to play tomorrow, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck.
The win moves the first-place Tigers to 63-45. The Indians defeated the Marlins 4-3 tonight, holding the three-game differential between the two clubs in the AL Central.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: