Tigers Get Another Strong Effort from Justin Verlander

Detroit 5, Oakland 1 (box)

A classic pitcher’s duel took place at the Oakland Coliseum last night. Tigers ace Justin Verlander and the recently perfect Dallas Braden hooked up in one of the quickest games of the year.

The Tigers threatened early against Braden, but couldn’t score in the first when Cliff Pennington made a sparkling over the shoulder catch on a would-be base-hit by Brennan Boesch. That was the last best scoring chance either team had until the seventh.

Both pitchers were on cruise control throughout the game. Verlander was throwing gas right from the jump, but mixed his pitches well and kept the A’s hitters completely off balance. Entering the eighth inning, Verlander had thrown only 82 pitches and had given up just two hits, with only one ball really hit hard.

Braden was equally as effective in keeping the Tigers hitter from squaring him up. He gave up a few more hits than his counterpart, but was able to wiggle off the hook on the few occasions he did have runners on.

All that changed in the seven, when Brandon Inge sat on a Braden change-up and lofted a deep fly ball to left that barely cleared the wall and put the Tigers up 1-0. The next batter, Gerald Laird, tried to push a bunt past the mound and Braden was unable to corral the ball, which was ruled a hit. Braden (4-4) left the game at that point, still suffering the effects of an illness he was trying to play through.

The A’s bullpen provided no relief however. Micheal Wuertz retired the first two batters he faced, but Austin Jackson brought Laird home with an RBI single, Jackson taking second when the throw home sailed too high to be cut off. After an intentional walk to Johnny Damon, rookie Casper Wells brought both runners home with a double. The Tigers would add another run in the eighth.

At the end of the seventh, the game was no longer in doubt, not with the way Verlander (5-2) was pitching. Oakland scored a run in the eighth after the Tigers failed to turn a double play that would have been the second out. Instead of ending the inning, Adam Rosales‘ fly ball became a sacrifice to put the A’s on the board. The wouldn’t get any closer as Verlander cruised to the finish line.

Cheers and Jeers after the jump.


Cheers for

  • Danny Worth- Playing in just his second game, Worth recorded his first career three-hit day, and drove in the Tigers fifth run, his second RBI of the season.
  • Casper Wells- Wells, also making his second start, singled in the third for his first career hit. He became the fifth Tiger already this year to record his first big league base hit. His two-run double in the seventh put the game out of reach.
  • Justin Verlander- JV walked only one and fanned just five in his four-hit complete game. It was his first complete game of the year and the seventh of his career. After the game, Verlander joked that next season, he should put a May calendar up instead of the April version to start the year. Since the start of this month, he is 4-0 in four starts, with an ERA of 1.50.

Jeers for

  • No Jeers today, this game was a complete team effort. Any miscues by the Tigers, such as Miguel Cabrera pulling his foot on the botched double play ball, or his 0-for-4 are swept under the rug.

What’s on tap

The Tigers will go for the sweep of this brief two-game set this afternoon. Jeremy Bonderman takes the ball against the team that drafted him. He will be opposed by Tyson Ross, a former college teammate of Boesch. They played together at Cal.

Bonderman (1-2, 4.93) is 3-3 career against the A’s, including a 1-2 record in four starts at the Coliseum. He went seven strong innings, allowing just two earned runs in his last start, a loss, against the Yankees in Detroit. He hasn’t won since April 10.

Ross (1-1, 3.97) is making just his second career start. He’s in the rotation taking the place of the injured Justin Duchscherer. After starting his big league career as a reliever, Ross made his first start on Saturday, working just 3.2 innings while yielding 3 runs in a loss to the Angels.

Tags: Casper Wells Dallas Braden Danny Worth Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander Oakland Athletics

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