Justin Verlander wins No. 22 as Tigers sweep Indians


Final - 9.7.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 2 0 0 5 0 1 8 13 0
Cleveland Indians 0 2 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 6 6 1
WP: Justin Verlander (22 - 5)
SV: Jose Valverde (42)
LP: Justin Masterson (11 - 9)

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BOX

KEY RESULTS

Win 22 for Justin Verlander. According to Dan Dickerson, that makes him the first Tigers pitcher with 22 wins since Joe Coleman in 1973.

Save 42 out of 42 for Jose Valverde, tying Todd Jones' single-season record.

Win 81 for the team, with 19 games remaining

Magic # of 13. The Indians are 9.5 games out of first. The White Sox play later today and trail by 8.5. A loss there drops the magic number to 12.

KEY STATS

5 baserunners, 4 runs. Verlander pitched seven innings and only allowed five baserunners. Yet Shelly Duncan hit a pair of two-run home runs. So that was the "bad" side of the ledger.

6 hits: On the good side of the ledger, Miguel Cabrera, VIctor Martinez and Alex Avila each had two hits. Victor Martinez had a double and a rather important HR. Don Kelly hit a triple(!). Will Rhymes had a ground-rule double.

KEY PLAY

Victor Martinez hit a grand slam in the seventh inning to vault the Tigers into the lead and put Justin Verlander in line for the win.

KEY THOUGHTS

Here's another key number, via Tony Paul of the Detroit News. The Tigers have won their last 10 games against either the Sox or Indians. Pounding second and third place teams into the ground is certainly the best and fastest way to win the division.

I don't even know what to say about this game, honestly. I mean, you expect Justin Verlander to win every game, yet the intellectual side of your brain says he'll probably fall short of a win eventually. It looked like that day might be today, as the Indians led 2-0, then 4-2. Even if the Tigers came back to win the game, it was hard to believe JV would be around to get the win. But he's a machine. He pitched into the seventh and his team did the rest.

The seventh was a bit interesting, and loading the bases on a couple of balls that didn't even leave the infield was certainly aided by the Indians. Miguel Cabrera singled in a run to keep the bases loaded, and Victor Martinez cleaned them off with a first-pitch grand slam into the left-field stands. All I can say is, watch Justin Verlander's reaction.I mean, watch it. Now. That was awesome. It was the kind of game where even Will Rhymes is hitting a double and Don Kelly is hitting a triple. Team of Destiny, as Ian suggested to me in chat? I don't know. But certainly a fun team right now.

The Tigers can do no wrong. They got hot at the right time of the year. This must be what it felt like to be a Twins fan in 2009.  All season long, Detroit has been at or near first place, but they never really put a big winning streak together like they have the past three weeks. Right now, they're 8-2 in the past 10, and 16-4 in their last 20. Dating back to the 3-game losing streak that ended Aug. 10, the Tigers are 19-7 (.730).

KEY STANDINGS

Battle for ALDS home field advantage

Record GB
Detroit 81-62 --
Texas 81-63 1/2


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