Sept 29, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) walks in from the bullpen before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
Tigers 6, Twins 4 (box score)
With the division lead down to a single game, the Tigers turned to Justin Verlander to carry them to victory. And Verlander did what Cy Young candidates should do in a situation like that: 7 IP, 8 SO, 1 R (0 ER), 4 H, 2 BB.
The only real threat the Twins mounted against him came in the fourth inning when the first two men reached against him. Verlander responded by striking out the next three batters. Thanks for coming out; better luck next year.
The only run against Verlander came in the eighth inning when Denard Span reached on a Jhonny Peralta error. Justin was removed from the game immediately after, and Span came around to score on the Ryan Doumit grand slam.
Offensively, five of the six runs came via the home run ball. Prince Fielder lead off the scoring with a solo bomb to center field in the second inning, Miguel Cabrera blasted a three-run shot in the eighth, and Dirks followed with a solo homer later in the eighth. Cabrera’s homer brought him back into a tie for the American League lead with Texas’ Josh Hamilton. He remains the leader in batting average and RBI, so he’s back in Triple Crown position.
Elsewhere in baseball, the White Sox lost to the Rays by a 10-4 score, so the Tigers were able to expand their lead back to two games. The magic number now stands at three – that’s the combination of wins and White Sox losses that would clinch the Division for the Tigers – with only four games remaining. Following today’s results, Cool Standings places the odds of a division title at 90%.