Max Scherzer had a modest celebration with his Detroit Tigers teammates after his latest victory. There could be a much bigger one following his next start.
After earning his 20th win last time out, Scherzer will try to help the Tigers wrap up a third consecutive AL Central title Wednesday night at the Minnesota Twins.
It took five tries before Scherzer (20-3, 3.00 ERA) reached his milestone victory Friday against the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander got plenty of help from the Tigers in a 12-5 rout.
"We had a nice little champagne toast," Scherzer said. "It was definitely nice to celebrate with all your teammates, because they're the ones who got me here."
Detroit (92-66) secured a playoff berth with a 4-2 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday but was prevented from winning the division title after Cleveland's Jason Giambi hit a walk-off homer in a 5-4 victory against the Chicago White Sox.
The Tigers need a win or an Indians loss to finish the AL Central race.
Should Cleveland win, Scherzer will try to deliver that championship with another strong outing against the Twins (66-91). He's 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA in his last seven matchups, including 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last four games in Minnesota.
Scherzer, 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in this season's two meetings, hasn't faced the Twins at Target Field in 2013. He gave up one run and three hits over six innings in his latest matchup May 26 at Comerica Park.
In his final start of the regular season, Scherzer is seeking to become the first pitcher to win 20 or more games and lose three or fewer since Cliff Lee went 22-3 for Cleveland in 2008 en route to earning the AL Cy Young Award.
Scherzer will try to solidify his chances of bringing home that honor this year while leading the Tigers to their 11th win in 15 games.
The Twins, losers in 15 of 20, will send out Kevin Correia (9-12, 4.29). The right-hander is trying to reach double-digit victories for the fifth consecutive season and seeking to help manager Ron Gardenhire earn career win No. 999.
"I'm just going to go out there and throw a good game," Correia told the team's website. "I'd love to go into the offseason with a W."
Correia is 0-2 with a 5.29 ERA in his last three outings but kept AL West champion Oakland at bay in most of his five innings Thursday despite walking five. He was in line for the victory after giving up two runs, but the A's rallied for an 8-6 win.
Correia has also lost three straight home decisions and is 0-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his two matchups with Detroit this season. He's received one run of support in each of those games and a combined seven in his five career starts against the Tigers, going 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA.
Miguel Cabrera has gone 11 for 25 (.440) with two doubles and a home run in his career against Correia while Torii Hunter is 4 for 7 (.571) in this season's matchups. Victor Martinez, riding an 11-game hit streak, is 1 for 6 lifetime against the right-hander.
Scherzer is two strikeouts shy of topping his career-high 231 from last season, and he has a combined 16 in his two games against Minnesota this year.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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