Justin Verlander, Tigers topple tumbling Tribe
Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – The Tigers remain in race for the American League Central Division crown thanks to a rejuvenated Justin Verlander who tossed seven shutout innings as Detroit topped the Cleveland Indians 4-0 Friday night.
It was the third straight overall win for Detroit, which is aiming to pull a tie for the division top spot.
Verlander (14-8), who lost his two previous starts to Cleveland this season, including a 5-3 loss on July 26 when he gave up four runs in the seventh, scattered six hits and a walk while fanning out six for the win.
The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner Verlander threw 110 pitches, 77 for strikes. He improved to 14-13 in 30 starts against the Indians.
Verlander is now 7-10 at Progressive Field. It is the most losses suffered by the 29-year-old All-Star right-hander at any opponent’s stadium.
Verlander’s dominant outing was backed by brilliant defensive plays from an unlikely pair of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.
In the fifth, the Tribe had runners on second and third with no outs in the inning, but Verlander retired the next three hitters he faced, including the final out with the assist of Fielder. The Detroit first baseman made a diving stop on a Jason Donald shot and flipped the ball from his knees to Verlander at first.
Cleveland again put men on second and third in the sixth, but with one out. For the last out in that frame, Tigers third baseman Cabrera stopped a sharp grounder that Casey Kotchman hit to third before throwing it across the diamond to nab Kotchman.
Jose Valverde pitched around a one-out walk in the ninth to close the contest and give Detroit the opener of this three game set.
Austin Jackson and Cabrera each scored once and drove in a run for the Tigers (76-67), who moved a game behind the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.
Corey Kluber (1-4) was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs on eight hits in five innings for the Indians, who dropped their sixth in the last seven games.
Cleveland will attempt to bounce back with right-hander Justin Masterson (11-13) getting the start Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers will counter with Anibal Sanchez (2-5), who is winless in his last three starts. Sanchez will be facing the Indians for just the fourth time in his career.