Bats befuddled, can't bail out De Vries

Bats befuddled, can't bail out De Vries

Bats befuddled, can't bail out De Vries
MINNEAPOLIS -- It hasn't exactly been easy to strike out Twins hitters this season.

They've been the second-toughest team to strike out -- behind only the Royals -- and entered Wednesday's game against the Tigers without any starter reaching double digits in punchouts in a game against them this year. But Max Scherzer changed that, striking out 10 over seven scoreless innings while Minnesota rookie Cole De Vries struggled in a 5-1 Twins loss to the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

Twins hitters ended up fanning 14 times, the second-highest total for Minnesota this season behind the 16 whiffs against the Tigers on May 26, when Scherzer struck out nine.

"It was pretty much a shutout by their guy Scherzer," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was pretty good. He had a good sinker and slider. We made him throw a lot of pitches early in the game, with 50 pitches in the first two innings. But he settled down after that."

Scherzer outpitched De Vries, who surrendered four runs on a career-high eight hits over four-plus frames. It was his second straight subpar outing; he gave up seven earned runs over just 1 1/3 innings in his previous start.

De Vries is winless over his last seven starts, but it hasn't been all his fault, as he has a 4.03 ERA over that span.

"I know there were a number of starts where I was in line for it and the situations didn't play out," said De Vries, who was making his 12th career start. "But that's the game of baseball. Sometimes you don't pitch well and you get a win, and sometimes you do pitch well and you don't."

The Tigers struck early with a solo shot from Miguel Cabrera in the first inning. De Vries settled down for two frames, but Detroit tacked on two runs in the fourth, when former Twins outfielder Delmon Young blasted a two-run homer to left field.

De Vries got into trouble again in the fifth, yielding a leadoff double to Andy Dirks before back-to-back singles to Cabrera and Prince Fielder. That was it for De Vries, as Jeff Manship came in and got out of the jam, the first of three scoreless innings in relief.

"He misfired a little bit," Gardenhire said of De Vries. "He threw too many pitches. The pace of the game needs to be better than that. It was too slow."

The Tigers added an insurance run in the eighth against reliever Jeff Gray on an RBI single from Omar Infante after Jhonny Peralta led off the inning with a ground-rule double.

It was more than enough for Scherzer, who threw seven scoreless innings. The right-hander surrendered just four hits and two walks to go along with his 10 K's.

Scherzer walked two to open the second, but he was able to strike out the side to get out of the inning. He settled down after a meeting at the mound with pitching coach Jeff Jones.

"He got out of whack a little bit," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Jonesy talked to him, and I think that helped him out a little bit. But he seemed to get it back. He cruised for a couple innings after that and really pitched well."

The Twins didn't get on the board until the eighth, when Joe Mauer's RBI single scored Ben Revere, who tripled with one out.

"Once I fired myself up and put the adrenaline in and started letting the fastball eat, that's when I got back in the zone and was able to collect some big strikeouts in those situations," Scherzer said. "From then on, I was able to stay in the zone. Alex [Avila] did a good job of mixing it up for me. After that, I was able to cruise through the rest of the game."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.