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DET@TB: Scherzer strikes out nine, moves to 12-0

On July 2, 1986, Red Sox hurler Roger Clemens suffered his first loss of the season.

The Blue Jays were the responsible party. They scratched across four runs and marred The Rocket's won-loss record, which had stood at 14-0.

On Wednesday, Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer will attempt to become the first pitcher to start a season 13-0 since Clemens 27 years ago.

Scherzer's opponent? Those pesky Blue Jays.

Scherzer has earned a victory each of his last five times out and in seven of his last eight starts. During that stretch, he has compiled a 2.25 ERA.

Clemens averaged more than eight innings per start and tossed five complete games during his winning streak in '86. Scherzer has logged fewer than seven frames per outing, and is the first pitcher to start 10-0 without recording a complete game. However, Scherzer's 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings trump Clemens' mark of 9.1.

Historical comparisons aside, Detroit manager Jim Leyland is just pleased that the 28-year-old has emerged as a top-notch pitcher.

"He's obviously been tremendous and a couple times we obviously scored at the right time," Leyland said. "He's been as good as it gets."

Leyland cautions, though, that Scherzer isn't much different from last year, when he went 16-7 with a 3.74 ERA.

"He's added a little curveball, a show-me pitch, which helped him some," Leyland said. "But other than that, he's pretty much [the same]."

Scherzer has fared well against Toronto throughout his career. He has a 3-0 record and 1.59 ERA in five outings against the club, allowing two runs or fewer in each start.

Jose Bautista is 6-for-11 with three doubles and a home run in his career against Scherzer. Edwin Encarnacion is 5-for-15 with a solo homer.

Josh Johnson will take the hill for the Blue Jays. The righty lasted only 1 1/3 innings against Detroit on April 11, when he surrendered six runs on seven hits.

Tigers: Porcello gets ban
• Right-hander Rick Porcello received a six-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for hitting Ben Zobrist with a pitch last week. The plunking came a day after Rays closer Fernando Rodney threw a pitch high and tight to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. Porcello is appealing the suspension.

Both Porcello and Leyland declined to comment on Tuesday. Rays skipper Joe Maddon wasn't pleased with Porcello's pitch.

"I thought it was absolutely uncalled for," Maddon said. "That's totally premeditated. There's no question about that."

Blue Jays: Lineup missing key bats
Encarnacion, Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia all sat out Tuesday's contest. Toronto expects to get the trio back soon. Thus, the team doesn't plan to make any roster moves.

"I think we're just going to wait and see if guys are feeling better," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "It looks like they'll both be playing tomorrow. If it was something that was going to go into eight or nine days, then maybe you might have to do something."

Worth noting
• Scherzer has allowed only six hits per nine innings this season. His previous best in a full season came last year, when he yielded 8.6 hits per nine frames.

• Scherzer has tallied six or more strikeouts in all 16 of his starts this year.

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