DETROIT (AP) — Max Scherzer struck out 14 against his former team and Anthony Rendon homered for the second straight game as the Washington Nationals topped the Detroit Tigers 2-1 on Sunday.
Scherzer (8-5) returned to Comerica Park for the first time since leaving as a free agent after the 2014 season and stuck out double-digit batters for the fourth straight outing.
Scherzer, who struck out 20 batters the last time he faced the Tigers in 2016, ended his day by striking out the side swinging in the eighth inning, including former teammate Miguel Cabrera, who was pinch-hitting.
In Scherzer’s last eight games, he’s 6-0 allowing only six earned runs with 83 strikeouts in 57 innings. He did not walk a batter Sunday, and 86 of his 115 pitches were strikes.
He allowed four hits with the only damage coming when Brandon Dixon went opposite field for his team-leading 11th home run in the seventh inning. But Rendon led off the eighth with the game-winner, his team-leading 19th.
Rendon’s blast came off Joe Jimenez (2-6), who allowed a home run and a walk to the only two batters he faced.
Detroit’s Jordan Zimmermann, who also was starting against his former team, struck out four batters in six innings, allowing one run.
Kurt Suzuki scored Rendon with an RBI single in the fourth inning. That play was set up by Matt Adams reaching safely on a potential double-play ball that could have ended the inning.
Sean Doolittle earned his 18th save, allowing one hit and a walk in the ninth inning, getting Niko Goodrum to pop out with two runners on to end the game.
Tigers: Infielder Jordy Mercer may re-join the team this week in Chicago. He’s been on the injured list since May 9 with a right quad strain and has been rehabbing in Triple-A Toledo since June 22.
Sunday was the 15th straight game a Washington player homered, a team record.
MOVING ON UP
Scherzer passed Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and then Chuck Finley on the all-time strikeout list. His 2,619 strikeouts rank 25th all-time and third on the active list behind CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander.
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.71 ERA) will open a three-game series at home against Miami on Tuesday, opposing RHP Zac Gallen (0-1, 3.60).
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (5-6, 3.72) will start Tuesday against RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-7, 6.12) in the opener of a four-game series at the Chicago White Sox.