The Detroit Tigers didn't get a Cy Young Award-caliber year from their No. 1 starter, but their No. 2 more than made up for that.

Right-hander Max Scherzer, the majors' only 20-game winner and the leader in winning percentage, was named today the recipient of the Cy Young Award in the American League.

Two Japanese right-handers, Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners, finished 2-3 in the voting behind Scherzer, who collected 28 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and didn't incur his second loss of the season until September, becoming the second Detroit pitcher to earn the Cy Young in three years.

In a season when 2011 MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander wasn't up to his usual standards, Scherzer became the Tigers' go-to pitcher, winning his first 13 decisions. He lost for the first time just before the All-Star Game, which he started, then reeled off another six wins in a row to reach September at 19-1.

His .875 winning percentage at the end of the season was the majors' highest since Cliff Lee went 22-3 (.880) for the Cleveland Indians in 2008.

Scherzer, 29, was dominant with an Old English D, leading the league in WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) at 0.97 and in opponents' on-base plus slugging percentage at .583. He ranked second in strikeouts per nine innings (10.1) and opponents' batting average (.198).

Combining a fastball in the mid-90s with a deceptive changeup 10 mph slower and a sharp slider, Scherzer finished second to Darvish with 240 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings.

And he's coming of age as a pitcher at the right time. Scherzer, who established career-bests in wins, ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched and WHIP, will be eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, prompting speculation the Tigers may look to trade him this offseason.