Scherzer Ks 12, Tigers blank slumping Rockies 5-0

Associated Press Modified: June 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm •  Published: June 17, 2012

DETROIT (AP) — Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers still have plenty of work to do if they want to win a second straight AL Central title.

This weekend, though, they took two big steps in the right direction.

One day after Doug Fister returned from the disabled list to pitch shutout ball, the inconsistent Scherzer struck out 12 in eight dominant innings as Detroit beat the staggering Colorado Rockies 5-0 on Sunday.

"This was extremely important for me," Scherzer said. "It was especially big to go eight, because we've got a lot of tired arms in our bullpen."

Detroit rookie Quintin Berry had a career-high five hits, while Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera each had an RBI double. Gerald Laird added three hits to help the Tigers win their third straight series, all against National League teams.

"You never think about going 5 for 5," said Berry, who had never gotten four hits in a game before, much less five. "It is just something that happens. I was getting a lot of pitches to hit with Austin (Jackson) on base, because no one is going to fool around with him."

Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie was pulled after a 53-minute rain delay in the fourth. Colorado has lost 10 of 11.

The Rockies were missing slugger Carlos Gonzalez, scratched moments before the first pitch with what was announced as a sore right hamstring. He was replaced in the lineup by Dexter Fowler, who struck out in his first three at-bats, all with runners on base.

"It actually turned out to be a strained right knee," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "He did it running sprints to get ready for the game. They had already played the national anthem and the umpires were on the field when our assistant trainer told me that CarGo couldn't play. Right now, it is day to day. We'll have to see."

The game was delayed by rain in the top of the fourth, but Scherzer stayed on the mound to finish that inning and four more.

"I was definitely going back out there," Scherzer said. "There would have been chairs thrown if I didn't."

Scherzer (6-4) fanned every Rockies starter other than Marco Scutaro in his third double-digit strikeout performance of the season. He gave up seven hits and didn't walk a batter while throwing 122 pitches.

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