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DETROIT — For the first time in over nine months, Max Scherzer stood in front of his locker as the losing pitcher, trying to explain what went wrong.

“I threw some good pitches, they hit it. I threw some bad pitches, they hit it even farther,” the Detroit right-hander said. “It’s a loss. That’s what happens when you don’t quite pitch as well.”

Scherzer allowed four runs in the middle innings, and for once, the AL Central-leading Tigers didn’t back him with much offensive support, falling to the Texas Rangers 7-1 Saturday night. It was Scherzer’s first defeat since Sept. 23. In between, he went 22 starts — 19 in the regular season and three in the postseason — without a loss.

Scherzer (13-1) was trying to become the first pitcher in the majors to start 14-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986. Scherzer allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out six.

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Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts for the Tampa Yankees, dropping to 2 for 18 (.111) with one run batted in and five strikeouts in his injury rehabilitation assignment. One day after meeting with baseball officials probing the distribution of banned drugs, the New York Yankees third baseman played seven innings in the field.

• The low-budget Houston Astros made an investment in their future, signing second baseman Jose Altuve to a four-year contract through 2017. The deal covers his arbitration-eligible years and includes club options for 2018 and 2019.

Brett Lawrie was activated from the 15-day disabled list by the Toronto Blue Jays after missing almost two months with a left-ankle sprain. The team optioned infielder Munenori Kawasaki to Class AAA Buffalo.

• Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke will miss Sunday’s game against the New York Mets and sit out the All-Star Game after his back tightened up.

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