DETROIT (AP) — When Max Scherzer is on the mound, the Detroit Tigers have a chance to win pretty much any game — even without their top two sluggers.
Scherzer pitched seven impressive innings, outdueling Zack Greinke and helping the short-handed Tigers beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 on Wednesday.
Detroit was without Miguel Cabrera, who was given a day off, and Victor Martinez, who is dealing with a lingering back issue.
"Baseball's that type of game," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Even without your best player, you can go out there and win."
The AL Central-leading Tigers scored two runs in the first inning against Greinke, and Scherzer (11-3) made the lead hold up.
The All-Star right-hander allowed a run and four hits. He struck out seven and walked two.
Joba Chamberlain struck out two in the eighth, and Joe Nathan struck two in a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 23 chances.
Greinke (11-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out eight without a walk.
"You look at their lineup today, and you think you are getting a break with Cabrera and Victor being out," Greinke said. "But they were putting up great at-bats all day. I was throwing good pitches."
Miguel Rojas of the Dodgers hit his first career homer in the fifth.
Scherzer escaped a first-inning jam thanks to some impressive fielding behind him. Yasiel Puig hit a one-out triple, but with the infield in, Hanley Ramirez hit a sharp grounder to Eugenio Suarez, and Detroit's rookie shortstop threw quickly to third to catch Puig off the base.
"That was a great play," Scherzer said. "He just made an instinct play — saw Puig was off the base, and made a quick little snap throw. That just helped keep the game where it was."
Rajai Davis made a sliding catch in left field for the third out.
Austin Jackson opened the bottom of the inning with a triple and scored on Ian Kinsler's single. Kinsler advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out single by Don Kelly off Greinke.