ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Max Scherzer pitched five scoreless innings in his season debut for the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out four and allowed only one hit against Kansas City. The right-hander threw 39 of his 57 pitches for strikes and didn’t have any walks.

Scherzer hadn’t started a game for the Rangers since Game 3 of the World Series on Oct. 30, when he exited after three scoreless innings because of back tightness. He had surgery in mid-December to repair a herniated disk in his lower back, then during his rehab dealt with a nerve issue that was diagnosed after he experienced right thumb soreness.

His fourth and final strikeout Sunday was the 3,371st in his career to match Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux for 11th on MLB’s career list. Maddux, a four-time Cy Young winner, is the brother of Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux.

Texas had a 3-0 lead when José Ureña replaced Scherzer on the mound to start the sixth inning.

It was Scherzer’s first regular-season start since Sept. 12, when he threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings at Toronto.

Scherzer, who turns 40 on July 27, struck out 17 over 11 innings and had a 4.91 ERA in three rehab starts for Triple-A Round Rock. The first was on April 24, but he was then sidelined by the nerve issue until the other two on June 9 and 15.

After the deadline trade last summer that sent him from the New York Mets to Texas, Scherzer was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight regular-season starts for the Rangers before being sidelined by a muscle strain in his shoulder. He returned to make two starts in the AL Championship Series, then made his World Series appearance.


This story has been corrected to show that Scherzer matched Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, not brother Mike, for 11th on MLB’s career list.



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