ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) –– Nick Castellanos drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a double in the sixth inning and Max Scherzer won his fourth straight decision, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.
Scherzer (12-3) tied teammate Rick Porcello and New York’s Masahiro Tanaka for the league lead in wins. He allowed three runs and six hits over seven innings and struck out 11. It was the fourth time this season and 22nd in his career that the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner had double digits in strikeouts.
Scherzer, the winning pitcher in the All-Star game, is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts since giving up 10 runs over four innings in an 11-4 home loss to Kansas City on June 17. That came just five days after the seven-year veteran posted his first complete game and shutout in the major leagues with a three-hitter against the Chicago White Sox.
Joba Chamberlain gave up a run on Josh Hamilton’s sacrifice fly in the eighth. But right-hander — and still closer — Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth for his 21st save in 26 chances a day after the Tigers acquired closer Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers.
Garrett Richards (11-3) allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings with five strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander was 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA over his previous nine starts following a 9-5 loss at Oakland on May 30.
Scherzer made 30 of his 103 pitches during a three-run fifth that put the Angels ahead 3-1. C.J. Cron beat out a broken-bat single in the hole to shortstop Eugenio Suarez to drive in Howie Kendrick, and Kole Calhoun hit a broken-bat single to right field to score David Freese and Cron.
But the Tigers responded with three runs in the sixth. Richards gave up hits to the first four batters, including Torii Hunter’s RBI double to left-center and Castellanos’ two-run double to the same spot.
Ian Kinsler increased Detroit’s margin to 5-3 in the sixth with an RBI double against Jason Grilli, and Austin Jackson added an RBI single in the eighth off Fernando Salas.
The Tigers scratched out a run in the third on a groundout by Kinsler after Suarez drew a leadoff walk, Rajai Davis singled and both runners advanced on a wild pitch that bounced off Conger’s chest protector.
NOTES: Among the crowd of 40,146 was reality TV’s Vicki Gunvalson, one of the original “Real Housewives of Orange County.” … Soria met his new teammates before the game. Hunter remembered the two-time All-Star as a tough adversary. “It was a battle, man,” Hunter said. “Before the surgery he had a 93 mile-an-hour fastball that looked like it was 97 or a hundred and was pretty sneaky. He was good at hitting the outside corner, his curveball was pretty good, and he wasn’t afraid to throw it at any count. He throw strikes and he works fast. So to have him over here, I’m going to love it.” … Scherzer is 10 strikeouts from becoming the 16th pitcher to get at least 1,000 in a Tigers uniform. … Nathan made his first relief appearance in the Los Angeles area since April 9 at Dodger Stadium, when he blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning before the Tigers won 7-6 in 10 on Victor Martinez’s homer.