Max Scherzer struck out 11 over seven dominant innings, Miguel Cabrera helped stake Detroit to an early lead before leaving in the eighth, and the Tigers held on to beat the Oakland Athletics 3-2 on Friday night in the opener of their AL division series.
Cabrera and Alex Avila each hit first-inning RBI singles against 40-year-old All-Star Bartolo Colon, whose winless stretch against the Tigers extended to 10 1/2 years.
Scherzer retired 16 of his first 18 batters and was nearly untouchable before Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run drive in the seventh for his first career playoff home run.
Justin Verlander pitches Game 2 for Detroit on Saturday night against rookie Sonny Gray. Verlander beat Oakland in Games 1 and 5 last October on the way to the World Series.