DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers defeated old friends Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander on back-to-back days to sweep the heavily favored New York Mets.
Detroit took both games of a doubleheader Wednesday after the series opener was postponed by rain Tuesday.
The second of those two wins came at the expense of Scherzer, who was making his first start since being suspended for a sticky substance violation last month.
Scherzer didn’t look right from the beginning, serving up a pair of runs in the first and ultimately leaving after just 3.1 innings. He allowed six runs on eight hits, including homers from Eric Haase and Matt Vierling.
Verlander looked much better. He made his Mets debut on Thursday after signing with the team as a free agent this offseason and starting the year on the injured list.
Riley Greene and Javier Baez ambushed Verlander in the first inning, hitting back-to-back home runs to right field.
After that, Verlander settled down, tossing four scoreless innings. He struck out five and allowed five hits.
It wasn’t enough, though, because the Tigers got another fabulous start from ace Eduardo Rodriguez. He tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out nine batters.
Over his last five starts, Rodriguez has allowed just two runs on 18 hits and four walks across 34.2 innings, while striking out 33.
Alex Lange relieved Rodriguez in the ninth inning and pitched around a one-out single to slam the door.
The Tigers will now head to St. Louis to face a Cardinals team that began the season favored to win the NL Central but is off to a 10-22 start, including 11 losses in their last 13 games.