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COL@DET: Scherzer strikes out 12 in win over Rockies

DETROIT -- With two outs in the fourth inning, the rain began pouring down on a sold-out Father's Day crowd of 40,619 at Comerica Park. It delayed the game for 53 minutes, but unfortunately for the Rockies the hiatus wasn't long enough to have Max Scherzer pulled from the game.

Scherzer returned from the delay to complete eight innings and strike out 12 batters as Detroit defeated Colorado, 5-0, to win three straight series for the first time in 2012.

The outing impressed Rockies manager Jim Tracy so much that he had a few new names for the fireballer after the game.

"It just seemed like after we came back out, everything got better," Tracy said. "His fastball got livelier. His slider and changeup were definitely a lot crisper. ... To come back out there and finish eight innings and throw 122 pitches, I think that would connotate a warrior, a stud."

The right-hander was through 3 2/3 innings when the skies opened and the umpires called for the tarp. While the rest of the team retreated to the clubhouse, Scherzer hit the batting cages, where he sat away from his teammates, throwing balls into the net to keep loose.

Manager Jim Leyland said the cutoff for his starter would've been about an hour, although he might've stretched it because of a taxed bullpen. Scherzer, however, said he was coming back out no matter when play resumed."

"I wanted to stay in that game," he said. "Otherwise, I was flipping chairs."

Luckily, the decision never had to be made, as the game started seven minutes prior to Leyland's limit. And from that point, Scherzer cruised.

The right-hander allowed five hits before the rain delay and returned to retire 12 of the final 14 batters he faced. It was only the second time in his career that he went eight-plus innings with double-digits K's -- the only other time come on Sept. 17, 2010.

"When the rain ended, it was nice and humid," he said. "It made even better conditions for me. That's the way I like it."

In the seventh inning, Scherzer allowed a hit to Wil Nieves before striking out the side to notch his 100th K, moving him into a tie for second place in the Majors, three back of Justin Verlander.

As much as he loves piling up the strikeouts, it wasn't the favorite part of his day.

"Something that I take a lot of pride in is filling up the zone, never giving in, never giving the hitters the credit that always comes through on the walks," he said. "For me, to go out there and not allow any walks, that's what allowed me to go eight innings."

Although the Tigers have squandered some quality outings (see: Doug Fister), they backed their pitcher Sunday.

Behind a career-high five hits from Quintin Berry, who started only his second game since Austin Jackson's return from the disabled list on June 9, the team tallied 15 hits.

Berry's five-hit game was also the first of the year for a Tigers hitter and the first since Brennan Boesch did it against the Rangers on June 6, 2011.

"He had a great day," Leyland said. "Line drives, too. I'm not talking about fluke hits. Every one of them was hit hard. ... He laid the bat on the ball. The legs were there, obviously. He gives us a different dimension when he plays."

The 27-year-old outfielder also began the rally in the third inning that broke the game open. Berry singled and came around to score on a ball that Prince Fielder poked into right-center field for an RBI double. Three batters later, Ramon Santiago hit a bases-loaded, two-run single up the middle to extend Detroit's lead to 4-0.

All nine batters came to the plate and, after the delay, it ended the game for Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie. The Tigers added one more in the sixth when Cabrera doubled to plate Jackson.

Although happy about helping win a third consecutive series, Scherzer said the team isn't letting its guard down, as it's stilling battling back from a sub-.500 record.

"You can never sit here and feel good about yourself, because you've got to play your A-game every single night," Scherzer said. "It's nice to win three series, but we've got to keep it going. We've got to keep churning out the series wins."

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