It did not look good early, but Justin Verlander survived a shaky first inning and saw his offense give him plenty of run support as the Detroit Tigers cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
The outing by Verlander, scattering nine hits and one run over seven innings, was especially important because of yet another doubleheader looming on Saturday. This will be third Saturday day-night doubleheader for the Tigers in the second half, and in each of the first two doubleheaders, the team leaned heavily on its bullpen in the game before the bullpen, taxing the unit heading into a two-for.
It turned out to be Verlander’s best outing of the season, and his eight strikeouts tied a season high, but the first inning did not seem promising. J.V. allowed a lead-off hit to Adam Eaton and one batter later threw a pick-off attempt past Miguel Cabrera. The ball caromed off the wall and into right field, allowing Eaton to advance to third. Verlander walked two batters and recorded the second out of the inning on a sac fly to make the score 1-0. With the bases loased, Verlander struck out Tyler Flowers.
The Tigers got their bats going in the third inning. With one out, Ezequiel Carrera singled and one batter later, Ian Kinsler brought him home on a double. Two batters later, Torii Hunter brought Kinsler home on a sac fly.
The offense continued one inning later, with some notable assists by Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu. Victor Martinez led off and hit a routine liner down the first base line which got past Abreu. J.D. Martinez doubled, pushing VMart to third. A Nick Castellanos grounder scored Victor and one batter later, Alex Avila grounded to right field for another RBI. Carrera reached via another Abreu error, pushing home another run and the rout was one.
Detroit added two more runs to take a 7-1 lead.
The Tigers and White Sox will play two games tomorrow to make up for a June rainout. A great pitching matchup will take place in the first game with Max Scherzer (15-4, 3.13) facing Chris Sale (10-3, 2.03) in the 1:10 p.m. ET early game. Two rookies making their Major League debut will face off in the 7:10 p.m. ET night-cap with Kyle Ryan of the Tigers facing Chris Bassitt of the White Sox.