Max Scherzer allowed two hits in eight outstanding innings, and the Detroit Tigers backed their star right-hander with three early homers in an 8-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.
Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter all went deep as part of a five-run first inning for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who have won 12 of 14. Tampa Bay's five-game winning streak is over.
Detroit leads second-place Kansas City by five games.
Scherzer (10-3) allowed a first-inning sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria, but that was the first of 10 straight hitters retired by the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner. After allowing a single in the fourth, Scherzer retired another 13 in a row before he was pulled with a pitch count of 106.
Erik Bedard (4-6) allowed six runs and eight hits with two walks in two innings.