Super Bowl 50

Sun, Feb 7, 2016

Get the latest Super Bowl news >>

Stream The Game Live
See The Matchup
Home of Super Bowl 50
Where to Watch Game Preview Full Coverage

Detroit at Oakland

Detroit (1-0) «3000000003100
Oakland (0-1)000000200231

Scherzer dazzles as Tigers take Game 1 from A's wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After watching Max Scherzer breeze through a dominant playoff opener, Detroit closer Joaquin Benoit began talking big.

"We took the first step," Benoit said. "It's great. I feel like we're already on the verge of the World Series again."

The Tigers sure looked ready for another October run, using a dominant performance by Scherzer to beat the Oakland Athletics 3-2 in the AL division series on Friday night.

Scherzer overpowered the A's with his dominant fastball, and then baffled them with his off-speed stuff. The right-hander struck out 11 over seven dominant innings as the Tigers grabbed Game 1 of this playoff rematch from 2012.

Miguel Cabrera helped stake Detroit to an early lead before the banged-up slugger left in the eighth as a precaution.

"We won the game, I think that's the more important thing right now," Cabrera said. "For us, it's not an issue. It's no time to complain, no time to worry."

The only guy who could get anything going against Scherzer was Yoenis Cespedes -- and that wasn't enough the way the likely Cy Young Award winner was pitching.

The A's struck out 16 times in all, a franchise record in a postseason game.

"Today we noticed that my fastball seemed pretty good and my changeup seemed pretty good. That's why I thought I was able to get into a groove and pitch deep into the game because of those two pitches," Scherzer said. "I thought I did a good job of attacking the zone and throwing first-pitch strikes, which I pride myself in."

Cabrera, hindered by a groin strain late in a season of injuries for last year's Triple Crown winner, didn't have to overextend himself on defense thanks to Scherzer's 118-pitch gem. But he did look uncomfortable running out a grounder in the eighth.

"I wasn't very comfortable taking him out of a one-run game, but there was a little bit more to it," manager Jim Leyland said.

Cabrera and Alex Avila each hit first-inning RBI singles against 40-year-old All-Star Bartolo Colon, whose winless stretch against the Tigers extended to 10 years.

Scherzer retired 16 of his first 18 batters and was nearly untouchable before Cespedes hit a two-run drive in the seventh for his first career playoff home run. The strikeouts were his most in seven postseason starts.

Cespedes struck out in the ninth against Benoit, who retired the final four batters for the save.

Leyland opted for Scherzer for the postseason opener over Justin Verlander, who goes Saturday night against 23-year-old rookie Sonny Gray in just his 11th career start. Verlander beat the A's in Games 1 and 5 of their postseason series last October, helping Detroit survive on its way to the World Series.

"I don't get caught up in the hoopla, where I'm pitching," Scherzer said.

The A's missed early chances in Game 1 of the rematch -- and there was little the raucous, yellow towel-waving sellout home crowd of 48,401 could do until Cespedes finally energized the ballpark.

Scherzer received an American League-best 6.80 runs of support per nine innings over his 32 starts this season, but he didn't need anything more than those three first-inning runs in shutting down the AL West champions.

The majors' lone 20-game winner, Scherzer (21-3) allowed three hits and walked two.

"He's always tough, he won 21 games," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Scherzer's a strikeout guy, he's a swing-and-miss guy."

Scherzer issued a two-out walk to Coco Crisp in the third, and then retired his next eight batters in order before Crisp drew a full-count free pass in the sixth. Scherzer struck out the side in the fourth and recorded two more Ks in the fifth.

Oakland had the tying run aboard in the eighth but Josh Donaldson popped out against Benoit.

"Scherzer was terrific and the bullpen came in and did a fine job," Leyland said. "He was awfully determined. I think he was thrilled to get Game 1."

Omar Infante added a pair of singles for a Tigers team determined to take this postseason run one step further after being swept by the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series.

Detroit nearly added a run in the sixth but Gold Glove right fielder Josh Reddick threw out Victor Martinez at the plate.

Colon put himself in a hole from the start, surrendering Austin Jackson's double to lead off the game and then hitting Torii Hunter with a pitch. Cabrera singled up the middle for the first run, and then Prince Fielder grounded into a double play to bring home another. Avila added an RBI single.

Cespedes hit a one-out triple over Andy Dirks' head in the second but Oakland was unable to drive him in.

Leyland went with Dirks in left over Jhonny Peralta, who made the playoff roster a week after completing a 50-game suspension for ties to the Biogenesis lab accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs. Peralta lined out as a pinch hitter in the ninth.

Colon had hoped for a triumphant return to the playoff stage eight years after his last appearance with the Angels. The right-hander's 10 hits allowed were his most in 10 career postseason starts.

"Bartolo threw an outstanding game," catcher Stephen Vogt said. "He made a couple of mistakes early and they took advantage."

Colon, who wasn't part of the A's playoffs last season while serving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test, won 18 games this season but couldn't break out of his decade-long funk against the Tigers.

The burly right-hander is winless -- going 0 and 8 -- in 14 starts against the Tigers since a victory on April 13, 2003.

Cespedes was back in left field after missing the final two regular-season games at Seattle with a right shoulder injury.


Both catchers took hard foul tips off the mask. ... The crowd was the largest at the Coliseum since 53,974 on June 27, 2004, against the San Francisco Giants. ... Hunter was Colon's first hit batsman all year. "The only ball I feel bad about is the one that hit Torii," Colon said. ... Fielder snapped an 0-for-13 stretch in the postseason with a third-inning single. ... First-pitch temperature was 77 degrees.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
The Tigers put up three runs in the first, and it's just enough as Max Scherzer turns in a gem in Oakland.  (USATSI)
The Tigers put up three runs in the first, and it's just enough as Max Scherzer turns in a gem in Oakland. (USATSI)

Players of the Game

M. Scherzer
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 2
BB 2
K 11

Y. Cespedes
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

January 28, 2016
Fantasy Outlook: Victor Martinez (0:57)
January 28, 2016
Fantasy Outlook: Justin Upton
January 27, 2016
Fantasy Outlook: J.D. Martinez
January 26, 2016
Fantasy Outlook: Ian Kinsler
Detroit Tigers
Austin Jackson, CF4110010 .250
Torii Hunter, RF3110010 .333
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4011001 .250
   Ramon Santiago, 3B0000000 .000
Prince Fielder, 1B4010000 .250
Victor Martinez, DH4120011 .500
Alex Avila, C4021011 .500
Omar Infante, 2B4020012 .500
Andy Dirks, LF3000013 .000
   a-Jhonny Peralta, PH1000000 .000
   Don Kelly, LF0000000 .000
Jose Iglesias, SS4000011 .000
Max Scherzer, P0000000 .000
   Drew Smyly, P0000000 .000
   Joaquin Benoit, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Dirks in the 9th
2B - Austin Jackson (1, Colon), Victor Martinez (1, Colon)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera (1), Alex Avila (1)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Avila (1)
CS - Torii Hunter (1, 2nd base by Colon/Vogt)
Team LOB - 6
Detroit Tigers
Max Scherzer (W,1-0) 73222111 2.57
Drew Smyly (H,1) 0.2000120 0.00
Joaquin Benoit (S,1) 1.1000030 0.00
WP - Max Scherzer (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Max Scherzer 118-78, Drew Smyly 15-8, Joaquin Benoit 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Max Scherzer 4-6
Batters Faced - Max Scherzer 26, Drew Smyly 3, Joaquin Benoit 4
Oakland Athletics
Coco Crisp, CF1000310 .000
Jed Lowrie, SS4000013 .000
Josh Donaldson, 3B4000022 .000
Brandon Moss, DH4110030 .250
Yoenis Cespedes, LF4122020 .500
Josh Reddick, RF4000031 .000
Stephen Vogt, C3000001 .000
Daric Barton, 1B3000030 .000
Eric Sogard, 2B2000000 .000
   a-Alberto Callaspo, PH-2B1000010 .000
Bartolo Colon, P0000000 .000
   Dan Otero, P0000000 .000
   Sean Doolittle, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Sogard in the 8th
3B - Yoenis Cespedes (1, Scherzer)
HR - Yoenis Cespedes (1, Scherzer)
RBI - Yoenis Cespedes 2 (2)
Team LOB - 4
Outfield Assists - Josh Reddick 1
DP - Lowrie-Sogard-Barton
E - Yoenis Cespedes (1, Dropped line drive)
Oakland Athletics
Bartolo Colon (L,0-1) 61033040 4.50
Dan Otero 1.1000000 0.00
Sean Doolittle 1.2000030 0.00
HBP - Hunter (by Bartolo Colon)
Pitches-Strikes - Bartolo Colon 99-63, Dan Otero 15-11, Sean Doolittle 30-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bartolo Colon 6-5, Dan Otero 2-2
Batters Faced - Bartolo Colon 26, Dan Otero 4, Sean Doolittle 6
Game Information
Attendance - 48401
Game Time - 3:24
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Jim Reynolds