Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer tossed the first complete game of his career in Thursday's 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox, thus ending his record-setting run of 178 starts without a complete game to begin a career, per ESPN.com. Tony Armas, who last pitched in 2008 and has 167 starts to his name, is now the current record holder for most games at the beginning of a career without finishing an outing.
Scherzer was even more dominant than usual Thursday night, allowing only three hits and three walks over nine innings as he outdueled Chicago ace Chris Sale for the victory. The White Sox got only one runner past second base all game, and it would have been none if not for an error by Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Sale took the loss for Chicago despite pitching nearly as well as the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. In seven solid innings, the southpaw struck out 10 Tigers and walked none while allowing just one run on a Victor Martinez solo home run to lead off the fifth inning. It was the third time in Sale's career that he struck out at least 10 batters without allowing a walk.
Unlike Scherzer, Sale has never had a hard time going the distance, as he owns six complete games in just 68 career starts. Scherzer's name stands out among the pitchers who took the longest to toss a complete game, with the list mostly populated by middling starters such as Armas and fellow Tiger Rick Porcello, the latter of whom started 146 contests before finally recording a complete game last season.
While keeping the pitch count down has never been Scherzer's strength, he's good enough that there will undoubtedly be a few more nine-inning performances in his future.