ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Max Scherzer got a milestone strikeout before getting erratic for the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, who have matched their longest losing streak this season.
Scherzer moved into 11th place on the career strikeout list in the same inning he threw 42 pitches, and forced in two runs, as the Milwaukee Brewers beat Texas 6-2 on Sunday.
“Weird start. You know, it’s not like I got hit around,” Scherzer said. “They had a really good approach against me and just found a way to take their walks. It just didn’t feel like I was putting guys away, especially when I got the two strikes.”
The NL Central-leading Brewers won for the third time this season when facing the three-time Cy Young Award winner, this time completing a series sweep with him starting for Texas instead of the New York Mets.
No. 9 batter Tyrone Taylor had a two-run triple and scored three times for Milwaukee (68-57), which maintained its three-game division lead over the second-place Chicago Cubs.
Corey Seager hit his 23rd homer for the AL West leader Texas (72-52), which has lost four in a row.
Brewers starter Adrian Houser (5-4) struck out seven and allowed one run over five innings. Closer Devin Williams got his 30th save in 33 chances after coming in to get the final out with two on and an unearned run already in.
Scherzer (12-5) had won his first three starts for Texas since his trade from the Mets. The 39-year-old right-hander got his 3,343rd career strikeout when Brice Turang whiffed opening the third inning. That was the third of four strikeouts for the active strikeouts leader, who passed Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro for 11th place.
“I’m sure that’s going to be more at a later date,” Scherzer said. “I’m here to win. … I’m not here for milestones, I’m not here for accomplishments.”
After Turang struck out, Milwaukee loaded the bases on two seven-pitch walks and a single before Carlos Santana struck out on three pitches. But the Brewers got their first run when Scherzer hit Willy Adames on the helmet with a fastball. Five pitches later, Scherzer walked Rowdy Tellez on a 3-1 fastball that just missed low and outside.
“He made some great pitches to Carlos, and the first two strikes to Willy were really good pitches,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “But we made him work and that paid off. It was a two-run inning, but the 40 pitches definitely took something out of him. To get Max Scherzer out in the fourth inning, that’s a great jo by the offense.”
Consecutive two-out doubles by Taylor and Christian Yelich in the fourth made it 3-1, and chased Scherzer after 99 pitches. He had a season-high four walks.
Texas has lost six of 10 games but remained 2 1/2 games ahead of second-place Houston in the AL West. The defending champions were swept at home by Seattle this weekend.
“We just couldn’t get this offense going,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re in a little bit of a funk right now, but maybe it’s good we’re getting on the road and see if we can tighten some things up and get back on track.”
Each team stranded 10 runners. … Seager hit a liner into the in the fifth inning that was caught by right fielder Mark Canha while center fielder Taylor crossed in front him while both were on the run for the ball. They avoided contact.
Texas 3B Ezequiel Duran had three errors, only the third time in the past 100 games that one of the Rangers had multiple errors. Duran is responsible for the only five errors by Texas infielders in 33 games since the All-Star break.