Detroit Tigers News

Weekend Roundup: Tigers Lead in Central Growing

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Thanks to another outstanding pitching performance from Justin Verlander and a long home run from Brandon Inge, the Detroit Tigers completed a three game sweep of the formerly hot Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday to kick off their current six game home stand, and knock the Brewers off the top of the NL Central standings.

Verlander, facing the Brewers for the first time since his 2007 no-hitter, fanned eight over 7.2 innings to collect his eighth victory of the season, matching rookie Rick Porcello for the team lead. Verlander allowed two solo homers to account for all of Milwaukee’s offense in the 3-2 win, the fourth straight for Detroit.

With Detroit trailing 1-0 in the sixth, Inge came to the plate with two on and two out. He took a Yovanni Gallardo offering and hammered it over the bullpen into the left field seats to give the Tigers all the offense Verlander would need. It was Inge’s 16th homer of the year and gave him the team lead with 47 RBI.

The Tigers have made a flurry of moves recently, both with the lineup and the roster. Struggling outfielder Magglio Ordonez has not played during the winning streak. Marcus Thames, who homered twice in Friday’s win, has been installed as the new cleanup hitter, and manager Jim Leyland received a contract extension. Right hander Alfredo Figaro made his major league debut and beat the Brewers on Saturday. After Sunday’s game, reliever Ryan Perry was optioned to AAA Toledo. Catcher Dane Sardinha was designated for assignment.

The Tigers lead in the AL Central now stands at four games over Minnesota, who lost two of three to Houston over the weekend. With the Royals and Indians both suffering sweeps of their own, only the White Sox were able to win their weekend series and keep pace with Detroit.

Twins/Astros

Minnesota entered the weekend trailing the Tigers by just two games, but were unable to capitalize on the major’s best home field advantage. After taking the opener on Friday, the Twins dropped the next two to Houston to fall four games off the division lead. Wandy Rodriguez held the Twins to just two hits over seven innings in Sunday’s rubber match, a 5-1 win for the Astros. Micheal Cuddyer accounted for all of Minnesota’s offense, with a solo homer in the second.

White Sox/Reds

After dropping Friday’s opener in Cincinnati, Chicago stormed back and won the series with the Reds, capped by a 4-1 win on Sunday. Mark Buerhle was stellar once again as he held the Reds scoreless over seven innings to improve to 7-2 on the season. Bobby Jenks pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in as many nights and 17th on the season. Winners of two straight, Chicago now sits five games back of Detroit.

Royals/Cardinals

St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa won his 2500th game as the Cardinals completed a three game road sweep of the Royals, outscoring Kansas City 29-11 in the process. Albert Pujols did what Albert Pujols does and homered twice in Sunday’s finale, giving him three for the series (along with 10 RBI), and a major league leading 26 home runs for the season. The sweep dropped Kansas City to 8.5 games out of first in the AL Central.

Indians/Cubs

Cleveland started play on Wednesday just six games out of the division lead. They ended the day Sunday a full 10 games off the pace. After getting swept at home by Milwaukee last week, the Tribe traveled to Chicago to take on the Cubs, and promptly got swept again. Cleveland watched their hapless bullpen hand over big leads both Friday and Saturday in dropping the first two games of the set with the Cubs. Sunday however, the Cubs raced out to a 6-0 lead off starter Jeremy Sowers and held off Cleveland for the 6-2 win. Sowers was knocked around for six runs on seven hits and four walks over just 4.1 innings for the Indians.

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