TORONTO — Max Scherzer worked into the seventh inning to become the first pitcher in 27 years to get off to a 13-0 start, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 6-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays today.
Alex Avila hit a three-run homer and Victor Martinez belted a solo shot as Detroit beat Toronto for the eighth time in 10 meetings.
Scherzer (13-0) allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out eight and walked one in 6 1-3 innings. He is the first pitcher to begin the season with 13 wins and no losses since Roger Clemens won his first 14 decisions for the Boston Red Sox in 1986.
Scherzer also improved to 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays. He has 139 strikeouts this season, second only to Texas’ Yu Darvish among AL starters.
Bruce Rondon got two outs in the seventh, Drew Smyly pitched the eighth and Joaquin Benoit finished for the Tigers.
The Blue Jays dropped to 3-7 since matching a team record with an 11-game winning streak.
Both benches and bullpens emptied after Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter took exception to being hit by a high pitch from Todd Redmond in the sixth.
Hunter took a few steps toward the mound and gestured at Redmond after being hit on the left shoulder. Plate umpire Mike Estabrook quickly steered Hunter away and he was wrapped up by teammate Prince Fielder.
No punches were thrown, and the relievers from both teams were pointed back to their bullpens before reaching the infield.
All four umpires huddled and, before play resumed, Estabrook warned both benches.
The incident came two innings after Detroit second baseman Omar Infante hurt his left leg when Colby Rasmus made a hard slide to break up a potential double play. Rasmus’ right leg ran into Infante’s shin, sending the infielder to the ground in pain.
Infante, who was replaced by Ramon Santiago, needed help walking off the field but X-rays were negative. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera, who left Tuesday’s game in the ninth with a sore lower back, started and batted third. Cabrera, who came in with a major league-leading .368 batting average, went 1 for 4 with a walk.
The Tigers took advantage of two miscues to score four runs in the second. Fielder was credited with a single when pitcher Josh Johnson couldn’t handle his comebacker and Martinez reached on an error by second baseman Emilio Bonifacio before Jhonny Peralta hit an RBI single.
With two outs, Avila drove a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left for his sixth homer.
Hunter reached on an error by Johnson to begin the third and scored on a base hit by Martinez, who made it 6-0 when he connected for his seventh homer leading off the fifth.
Johnson (1-3) allowed six runs, one earned, and seven hits in five innings.
Toronto’s Mark DeRosa hit a two-out triple in the second but was stranded when center fielder Austin Jackson made a leaping catch at the wall to retire J.P. Arencibia.
The Blue Jays broke through against Scherzer in the sixth when Rasmus and Maicer Izturis hit RBI singles.
Adam Lind returned to Toronto’s lineup after missing two games with a sore back, while catcher Arencibia started after sitting out Tuesday’s game with a sore right shoulder.
NOTES: Scherzer threw 113 pitches, 79 strikes. ... Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion (left hamstring) missed his third straight game. ... Blue Jays RHP Sergio Santos (right triceps) began a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League, giving up one hit and striking out two in one scoreless inning. ... Tigers OF Matt Tuiasosopo (strained left rib cage muscle) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo. Starting at DH, he went 1 for 1 with two walks and was hit by a pitch. ... Rock star Alice Cooper threw out the first pitch.