Rangers send Tigers’ Max Scherzer to first loss

A sellout crowd Saturday night at Comerica Park came to see Max Scherzer make some major-league history or maybe just to watch a postgame fireworks show.

But the only show that was a crowd-pleaser was found in the sky and not on the field.

“Sorry about that,” Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said.

Derek Holland was the pitching star instead of Scherzer, and Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre hit a pair of two-out, two-run homers as the Rangers pulled away for a 7-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Holland allowed one run in seven innings, overcoming some control issues early on, and A.J. Pierzynski drove in two runs as the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak and prevented Scherzer from becoming the first pitcher in major-league history to go 14-0 before the All-Star break.

Scherzer (13-1) gave up four of the runs in six innings.

“We’re a good enough team and we have enough confidence that it doesn’t matter who’s on the mound,” Kinsler said. “It matters about what we need, and tonight we definitely needed a win.

“Probably one of the best pitchers going in the game right now going against us, and we were able to get a big swing from Mitch early and add on from there. Obviously, Derek — the way he threw the ball — made it a lot easier for us.”

But it wasn’t easy for Holland early on as he had to pitch out of trouble in two of the first three innings. He escaped the third, which included a pair of walks, by striking out Victor Martinez with the bases loaded.

The Rangers got to Scherzer in the fourth, an inning that started with a Nelson Cruz double. Beltre followed with a grounder to first base, allowing Cruz to advance to third, and Pierzysnki delivered the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly.

Scherzer then walked Elvis Andrus with two outs, and Moreland followed with his first homer since June 4.

The Tigers got a run in their half of the inning on a two-out single by No. 9 hitter Hernan Perez, but the Rangers countered in the fifth with a two-out bloop double by Pierzynski that scored Leonys Martin.

“Ran into a good team,” said Scherzer, who allowed eight hits and logged 122 pitches. “They swung the bat well. I threw some good pitches, they hit it. I made some bad pitches, they hit it even farther.”

Holland (8-4) then took charge, allowing just a hit and his fifth walk over his final three innings.

“I made some pitches when I really needed to the most,” said Holland, who at one point had thrown 27 strikes and 27 balls before finishing at 57 and 38. “I had five walks. That’s really hard to defend. But those guys made the plays for me to keep those situations from snowballing like they have in the past.”

Even bigger for the Rangers is that Holland lasted seven innings and only two relievers had to be used after the bullpen had been thinned out and shuffled around the past three days.

“That was a huge job by Derek because we needed it,” manager Ron Washington said. “To go out there and pitch in and out of trouble and to do what he did against that lineup was outstanding.”

Most hands should be available Sunday as the Rangers try to take the three-game series from the Tigers and finish their seven-game road trip with a winning record. To do so, though, they’ll have to beat another All-Star pitcher, former Cy Young winner and league MVP Justin Verlander.

They were the first this season to get Scherzer on Saturday night.

“We needed a win, no matter who it was,” Cruz said. “Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and do the same thing.”

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