It was the best pitching matchup of the season that a big chunk of the U.S. was unable to watch.
Max Scherzer struck out 11 over six innings and combined with three relievers on a shutout as the Tigers beat the Mets 3-0 on Saturday.
Matt Harvey took the loss after giving up two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Oddly enough, he surrendered 13 hits. That’s three more than he had ever allowed previously. He entered the day with a .199 batting average-against this season. The Tigers, though, hit .406 against him.
Perhaps most interesting, Harvey allowed hits to the last four hitters he faced, without ever giving up a run. All four hits were singles, and Omar Infante was thrown out at home on the third of them. After the fourth, Scott Rice replaced him and got Torii Hunter to hit into an inning-ending groundout.
Scherzer’s win moved him to 19-1 on the season. He has a realistic chance of finishing with the best winning percentage ever, minimum 20 decisions:
.950 – Max Scherzer – 2013 Tigers (19-1)
.905 – Greg Maddux – 1995 Braves (19-2)
.900 – Randy Johnson – 1995 Mariners (18-2)
.893 – Ron Guidry – 1978 Yankees (25-3)
.886 – Lefty Grove – 1931 Athletics (31-4)
.880 – Cliff Lee – 2008 Indians (22-3)
.880 – Preacher Roe – 1951 Dodgers (22-3)
With 33 games left in the Tigers’ season, Scherzer probably has six starts remaining. If he can avoid losing more than one of them and he can win at least one more game, then he’ll top Maddux’s .905 winning percentage from 1995.
The Pirates will be without a key piece for at least another 10 days after placing Starling Marte on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a hand contusion.
Andrew Lambo was recalled to replace him on the roster.
Marte was injured last Sunday when he was hit on the left hand by a pitch. He’d been available to pinch-run since, but the Pirates declined to use him in case the DL stint became necessary. Since he hadn’t made an appearance since the injury, he’ll be eligible to rejoin the team on Sept. 3.
The 24-year-old Marte has been the Pirates’ everyday left fielder and leadoff hitter this season. He’s hitting .282/.343/.443, and he’s third in the NL with 35 steals and tied for seventh with 79 runs scored.
Lambo is seeing his second stint in the majors after going 1-for-9 in four games earlier this month. He’s hit 32 homers in the minors this year, 18 of them coming in Triple-A. He’ll share time with Felix Pie in left until Marte returns.
The worst start of Edinson Volquez’s Padres career was also apparently his last. He was designated for assignment prior to Saturday’s game, with reliever Brad Brach replacing him on the roster.
Volquez’s final line last night was six runs — five earned — in two-thirds of an inning. The Padres came back and beat the Cubs 8-6 anyway, but that didn’t save the right-hander. His ERA jumped to 6.01 in 142 1/3 innings for the season. The Padres let him go even though he’s tied for the team lead with nine wins (opposite 10 losses).
Saturday’s start against the Cubs was the second of Volquez’s career to last less than an inning. Coincidentally, it came on the third anniversary of the first time it happened, on Aug. 23, 2010 against the Giants.
If Volquez is going to turn his career around, he has to figure out some way to avoid the first-inning woes that have plagued him the last few years. He had a 6.75 ERA in the first inning this year. For his career, he has a 5.89 ERA in the first and a 4.53 ERA the rest of the time.
The Padres will probably audition either Burch Smith or Robbie Erlin in Volquez’s rotation spot next month.