Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander masterful to snap losing skid


The Detroit Tigers limped into their series finale at Tropicana Field looking to avoid their fourth straight loss and a sweep at the hands of the light-hitting Tampa Bay Rays. They needed a stellar effort from Justin Verlander after allowing 15 runs in the first two games. Detroit had scored just 13 runs in their last six games.

Although the hitting was once again missing, Verlander gave the Tigers everything he had in another encouraging performance, giving them two solid outings in a row and two of the last three to allow Detroit to snap their three-game losing streak and grind out a victory in the three-game series in St. Peterburg.

Through the first four innings, J.V. matched Rays’ starter Chris Archer pitch-for-pitch and out-for-out, each pitching perfect games. In the fifth inning, Asdrubal Cabrera hit one out to make it 1-0 while Archer’s mastery continued into the seventh inning.

After setting 19 batters down in a row to start the game, Jose Iglesias notched an infield single to end the perfect game and no-hitter. Yoenis Cespedes then appeared to hit into an routine, inning-ending double-play but Cabrera bobbled the ball and it trickled past him to put two on with one out. Victor Martinez‘s struggles continued as he popped out, but J.D. Martinez brought home Iglesias with a base hit.

One batter later, Nick Castellanos hit one just off of Cabrera’s glove to score the Tigers’ second run. Both runs by the Tigers were unearned.

Verlander’s outing was very encouraging, easily posting his best outing since coming back from the disabled list last month. He recorded 10 strikeouts and no walks, a rarity for even vintage Must See JV, going eight strong innings, allowing just four hits and one run.

Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless ninth inning, working around a two-out hitsbatsman to save his 23th game.

For Verlander, it is his first victory of the season and first win since beating the Chicago White Sox 6-1 on Sept. 24.

The Tigers now head to Baltimore looking to start a winning streak for the first time in a month when they face the struggling Orioles for a four-game weekend series to conclude this lengthy road trip.