MINNEAPOLIS - Max Scherzer said he was prepared to pitch hungover.
Instead, the Tigers pitcher took the mound Wednesday night and did what he's done all season: win.
Allowing a season-high six walks, Scherzer fought back in nearly every inning to hold off the Twins and fittingly push the Tigers into their Central division championship.
"I thought it was my worst best start of the year," he joked after the game.
Soaked in champagne, and clutching a cigar, the 21-game winner was by far the loudest of any Tigers player in the celebration. He made his final case for the Cy Young Award, striking out 10 batters in seven innings of work.
"It's unbelievable," Miguel Cabrera said. "He finished his season like he started it. He's one of the best pitchers in the big leagues right now."
The attention on Detroit's mound has been on Justin Verlander for years. This season, it's been turned to Scherzer, whose 21 wins will be the most in baseball.
After Scherzer's outing was done Wednesday, the All-Star pitchers shared a moment in the dugout.
"Couldn't be happier for Max, but I told him right after he came out of the game, 'What an amazing year.' I congratulated him, and we both decided the work's not done yet," Verlander recalled.
The Tigers return to the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Getting a taste of the World Series last year has only lit a constant fuel underneath Scherzer and the pitching staff.
"It's so great to be back in the playoffs because anything can happen," Scherzer said.
Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli