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Detroit Tigers: Verlander Solid, Bullpen Not in 5-4 Loss

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Justin Verlander pitched five innings in his first start of the season for the Detroit Tigers and left the game leading 3-2. Unfortunately the bullpen couldn’t hold on. The Indians took the lead with two runs in the sixth off Blaine Hardy (2-1) and added a run in the top of the eighth to win 5-4.

Verlander started strong, shutting out the Indians over the first three innings while striking out two and allowing only one hit. He was throwing his fastball in the 91 to 93 mile per hour range and getting it and his curve over consistently for strikes.

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While Verlander was dealing the Tigers’ offense was staking him to a 2-0 lead. They picked up one run in the first when Rajai Davis led off against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (8-5) with a triple to left. Miguel Cabrera brought him home with a single to right.

In the third inning with two out Yoenis Cespedes singled to center and was driven home on a double by J. D. Martinez.

Cleveland got on the board in the fourth when Carlos Santana homered to right-center but the Tigers got that run back in the bottom of the inning. After James McCann struck out Jose Inglesias was hit by a fastball from Carrasco and stole second. After Anthony Gose struck out. Davis drove him in with a double and the Tigers were up 3-1.

After giving up one more run in the fifth inning to make the score 3-2 Verlander left the game having thrown 87 pitches, 55 for strikes. It was at that point that the game slipped away from the Tigers.

Hardy entered the game in the sixth and surrendered a run when David Murphy tripled to score Michael Brantley. Alex Wilson entered and gave up a sacrifice fly to Yan Gomes to give the Indians a lead they would never relinquish.

Cleveland added an insurance run they would need in the eighth when Ian Kroll hit Murphy with a pitch after striking out Brandon Moss. Gomes doubled to center off of Al Alburquerque to make the score 5-3.

Martinez led off the Tigers half of the eighth with a home run to center field to close the score to 5-4 but that was all for the Tigers. They put runners on first and third with one out in the ninth inning off of Indians closer Cody Allen but he got Martinez to ground into a double play to register his 14th save of the season.

Flashing Leather

Verlander was solid in his five innings but definitely benefited from some great outfield defense. Gose closed out the first inning by robbing Brantley of extra-bases with a diving catch in right-center field.

Martinez also ran down a couple of line drives ticketed for extra bases in right field.

Coming Up

The Tigers go for the series win Sunday afternoon with Alfredo Simon (6-3) taking the mound against Corey Kluber (3-7).

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