(Sports Network) - Streaking right-hander Max Scherzer aims for a fifth straight win tonight when the Detroit Tigers visit Fenway Park to open a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox.
The Tigers begin the series in second place in the American League's Central Division, 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago White Sox, while the Red Sox are fifth in the AL East and trail the New York Yankees by 9 1/2 games.
Scherzer, who turned 28 last week, hasn't lost in five starts since late June, winning four decisions and lowering his in-season earned run average from 5.12 to 4.49.
In his last outing, on July 25 at Cleveland, he tossed seven innings of three- hit, two-run ball in a 5-3 defeat of the Indians.
In the unbeaten stretch, he's pitched at least seven innings three times and given up three runs or less four times while striking out 35 batters in 32 innings.
He's 1-2 in five career meetings with Boston, including a 7-3 defeat of the Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 31, in which he gave up three runs in six innings.
Boston goes with 27-year-old righty Clay Buchholz, who hasn't won in three starts since the end of his own four-start win streak.
The Texas-born Buchholz has thrived on pitching at Fenway in 2012, winning five of six decisions in nine starts while posting a 4.83 ERA in 59 2/3 innings.
He defeated the Miami Marlins, 7-5, at home on June 19 for his last victory and has since gotten a loss and two no-decisions in three outings on July 14, 19 and 24.
In those three games, he's pitched 21 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on 13 hits.
In seven career meetings with Detroit, he's 1-1 with a 3.83 ERA.
On Sunday in Toronto, Doug Fister fired eight strong innings of one-run ball, as the Tigers salvaged the finale of a three-game set against the Blue Jays with a 4-1 victory at Rogers Centre.
Fister (5-7) scattered seven hits and walked two while striking out nine to earn his fourth victory in his last five starts. Jose Valverde worked a perfect ninth to record his 20th save of the season.
"We won a nice game dictated by great pitching by Fister," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I thought he really pitched an effective game."
Jhonny Peralta clubbed a three-run home run in the second and added a solo shot in the ninth to account for the Tigers' offense as they snapped a three- game skid.
In New York, Pedro Ciriaco's RBI single in the top of the 10th inning proved to be the game winner as the Red Sox escaped with a 3-2 victory over the Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Ryan Sweeney added a two-run double for the Red Sox, who won the last two games of the series to get back to .500 on the season (51-51).
"We're trying to win series now. That's the name of the game and two out of three is a series," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "I'm proud of the guys. That's a great effort."
Alfredo Aceves (2-6) gave up the game-tying single in the bottom of the eighth inning to record his fifth blown save of the year, but recovered to toss a scoreless ninth and 10th to earn the win.
The Tigers lead the season series, 4-3, after sweeping the initial three-game get-together in Detroit in April. In four games since, the Red Sox have won three times.
Boston took five of six from the Tigers a year ago.
The Sports Network