Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers sent struggling ace Justin Verlander to the mound with hopes of him regaining some of his former dominance, and were rewarded with Verlanders first quality start in the month of June. Verlander, for the first time in many outings had solid control of his off speed pitches, and featured a genuine put-em-down pitch, which resulted in him striking out 8 batters. Verlander had struck out only 10 in his last three outing.
Verlander had a 1-2-3 inning to open the game, then gave up a run in the second with two out on a Lonnie Chisenhall double and an error that very well could have been a hit, by Ian Kinsler on a Nick Swisher ground ball. On the Kinsler error, Chisenhall scored, allowing the Indians to tie the game. After that, Verlander would only give up one more run, on a solo home run to Carlos Santana in the fourth inning. Verlander had a bit of trouble in the fifth inning, giving up his only walk of the game to David Murphy, and also a single to Asdrubal Cabrera to put runners on the corners, but came through and got through the inning unscathed. Verlander’s final line was 7IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 1BB, 8K.
Al Alburquerque relieved Verlander in the eighth and struggled, giving up a run on a Cabrera double that scored Michael Bourn, who was hit with a 1-2 pitch to lead off the inning. Alburquerque was done after that, replaced by Blaine Hardy, who got the next three batters to ground out in order.
Joe Nathan was up for the save in the ninth and after retiring the first two batters on strike outs, Nathan gave up back to back singles to Murphy and Yan Gomes and then followed those with a game tying RBI single to Michael Bourn. Nathan then retired the final batter of the inning.
Phil Coke was in to pitch the tenth after Cabrera’s RBI single to take the lead in the top of the inning. Coke retired the first two batters, Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis to start the inning before allowing a single to Santana, putting the tying run on base. No worries though, as Coke was able to dig a little deeper and strike out the side to get the save.
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The Tigers’ offense continued to be led by the double Martinez in the middle of the lineup. Victor Martinez started off the Tigers’ scoring with a solo home run to lead off the second inning and give the Tigers an early lead. Victor came through again with a game tying RBI in the sixth. Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler went yard back to back in the seventh to regain the lead. The Tigers had runners on base but were unable to post any additional runs to give the bullpen any breathing room.
The Tigers’, led by Miguel Cabrera, scored the go ahead run in the top of the tenth, scoring Kinsler, who was on second after a single and a bunt to advance him to second by Austin Jackson.
The Tigers send Max Scherzer to the mound in the final game of the series at Progressive Field at 1:05pm.