ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Max Scherzer is getting as good at deflecting attention as he is at shutting down hitters.
Friday night, the Detroit right-hander became the first pitcher in 27 years to win 12 consecutive decisions to begin a season, riding a pair of home runs by Miguel Cabrera and a mammoth shot by Prince Fielder in a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I’m pitching well,” said Scherzer, “but the reason I’m 12-0 is because of my offense. You got to see firsthand today the best player in the game hitting two home runs on three pitches and going 4 for 4. And Prince hits a bomb. It’s the offense that set me up.”
The last pitcher to win his first 12 decisions was Roger Clemens in 1986 for the Red Sox.
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Scherzer is 2-0 with a 2.57 earned-run average and 18 strikeouts in two wins over Tampa Bay this season.
“There’s a reason why he’s 12-0,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Scherzer. “He’s very good.”
• Brewers 1B Corey Hart (knee) and Braves infielder Ramiro Pena (shoulder) won’t play again this season after season-ending surgeries.
• OF Austin Meadows of Loganville, Ga., the ninth overall pick in the draft, signed with Pittsburgh for a $3,029,600 bonus. The Pirates previously signed their other first-round pick, Kentwood High School C Reese McGuire.
• RHP Mark Prior, 32, was released by Cincinnati, ending his latest comeback attempt. He was pitching for AAA Louisville.
• The Cubs got the OK to move ahead with a $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field, except for a large video screen that would block the view from surrounding rooftops.