Tigers 6, Athletics 2: Justin Verlander wins 15th, Miguel Cabrera hits 41st home run

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Justin Verlander's six shutout innings and Miguel Cabrera's 41st home run were among the keys to victory in tonight's 6-2 win.


Final - 9.19.2012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Oakland Athletics 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 8 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 3 0 1 0 1 1 X 6 10 1
WP: Justin Verlander (15 - 8)
LP: Brett Anderson (4 - 2)

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Justin Verlander won his 15th game by tossing 6 shutout innings while Miguel Cabrera continued his assault on the Triple Crown by hitting his 41st home run, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 6-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

A's starting pitcher Brett Anderson was lifted after 2 1/3 innings after landing awkwardly after a pitch. Anderson took the loss, allowing 3 hits and 3 runs.

Omar Infante paced the Tigers with 3 RBI, Andy Dirks contributing 3 of the the Tigers' 10 hits. Stephen Drew had a pair of hits and an RBI for the A's.

The A's did Verlander a solid, ending the 1st inning on a silly base running mistake. On base via a walk, Seth Smith rounded 2nd base a bit too far on Yoenis Cespedes' single off the glove of Jhonny Peralta, the ball rolling into short center. And by rounding 2nd a bit too far, I mean he was halfway to 3rd. Smith was dead to rights trying to scramble back to the bag.

Verlander found himself in another jam in the 2nd. Josh Donaldson and Daric Barton singled with 1 out. But Verlander got out of trouble in Verlander fashion, striking out Derek Norris and Cliff Pennington.

While the A's were working Verlander hard, the Tigers were doing nothing against Anderson, going down in order through 2 innings.

Verlander continued to walk on the edge, then dancing away. The A's put a runner in scoring position for the 3rd consecutive inning, Verlander again getting out of a jam with a strike out.

Andy Dirks became the Tigers' 1st base runner, lying down a perfect drag bunt for a single, leading off the 3rd. How perfect? The A's didn't even bother to throw to 1st.

Gerald Laird followed Dirks and pushed a bunt to the same spot, beating the throw for a 2nd straight infield hit. Austin Jackson advanced the runners with a swinging bunt,giving the the Tigers runners in scoring position without hitting a ball out of the infield. Omar Infante did hit the ball out of the infield, pulling a 2 RBI double down the 3rd base line, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

1st base open, A's manager Bob Melvin ordered an intentional walk to Cabrera. Prince Fielder wasn't intentionally walked, but Anderson walked him on 4 pitches all the same.

On a 2-2 pitch to Delmon Young, Anderson either slipped or fell as the pitch was fouled off.

Anderson_medium

Landing awkwardly, A's trainers rushed out of the dugout, being Anderson is only 6 starts into his comeback from Tommy John surgery. The A's determined the night was over for Anderson, pulled for Pat Neshek. (ESPN later reported Anderson suffered an oblique strain, aka Doug Fister's worst nightmare)

Young swung at Neshek's first pitch, launching a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Infante. Despite only 1 base hit leaving the infield, the Tigers were up 3-0.

Once again, the dynamic duo of Dirk and Lard gave the Tigers an opportunity to extend their lead in the 4th, back to back singles (into the outfield this time) with 1 down. but Neshak got out of trouble by striking out Infate, who went fishing on a pitch out of the zone.

The Tigers pushed their lead to 4-0 thanks to a 2 out rally in the 5th. Young crushed a double off the base of the wall in dead center for a 2 base hit, scoring easily on Peralta's single.

Verlander was on a short leash going into the 6th, sitting on 109 pitches to start the inning. 13 pitches later and the inning over, Verlander received Jim Leyland's "Handshake of doom."

How good is Justin Verlander? He pitched 6 shutout innings while having some the worst command I've seen from him this season. Verlander allowed 5 hits and 3 walks, pitching from behind in the count in the majority of at bats, yet left holding a 4-0 lead.

Thanks to Verlander clawing his way through 6 innings, Leyland was able to use Octavio Dotel in his normal routine, starting the 7th inning. Dotel would set the A's down in order.

The A's did their damnedest to pitch around Cabrera in his first 3 at bats, walking him twice. Cabrera narrowly missed an extra base hit in the 5th, Josh Reddick making a nice running catch. But you can only keep Cabrera under wraps for so long...so long being until the 7th. Cabrera tomahawked Jim Miller's shoulder high fastball, sending a majestic big fly over the bullpens in left for his 41st home run and 130th RBI of the season.

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As Cabrera continues his assault on the Triple Crown, let another wave of AL MVP arguing begin.Actually, it hasn't stopped...

Leyland went by his bullpen bible, so Joaquin Benoit took the mound at the start of the 8th. After a lead off double to Smith, Benoit sent the A's down in order.

The Tigers continued their offensive barrage in 8th, loading the bases with 1 out. Avisail Garcia and Dirks reached base with singles, Jackson walked to fill the bases. Infante brought home Garcia on a fielder's choice, the Tigers' lead reaching 6-0.

Never mind the 6 run lead. Leyland followed his bullpen bible religiously, the Big Potato pitching the 9th. It was a typical non-save situation appearance for Jose Valverde. Adventuresome.

After 2 were out, Papa Grande was touched for a walk, a pair of defensive indifference calls and RBI singles from Cliff Pennington and Stephen Drew, accounting for the only A's runs of the night. But Valverde struck out Smith to end the game in style.

Game over!

Cue Potato dancing!

The Tigers knock off the wild card contending A's for the second consecutive night, 6-2. The season is not over....but it sure would help if the Royals could win a game.

BULLETS:

Bullets are brought to you by Rod Allen's buddy at Ace Hardware.

Rod_allens_buddy_medium

The "Big Fella."

  • The Tigers are 79-69, 2 back of the White Sox, the Royals knocking them off 3-0. The Tigers remain 5 games out of the wild card. 14 games remain in the regular season.
  • The Mario Impemba quote of the night came while pushing the "My Favorite Things" auction baskets: "And there's Max Scherzer's package.........(very pregnant pause)........of goodies." I need to get my mind out of the gutter.
  • For those you who are concerned about pitch counts, the A's can work them. Just as they pushed Max Scherzer into 44 pitches over 2 innings yesterday, Verlander stood at 42 tonight.
  • Jhonny Peralta did not put on a defensive show. His lack of range (1st inning infield single) and sense of urgency (3rd inning infield single) helped push Verlander's pitch count into an uncomfortable region in the early innings.
  • The pitch count didn't get any better as the game proceeded. Verlander, behind in the count all night long, reached 85 pitches after 4 innings and 100 pitches with 1 out in the 5th.
  • Blogger alert! The A's Pat Neshek is a long-time blogger who has been recounting his adventures as a baseball journeyman since 2004.
  • Jhonny Perata's errorless streak came to an end at 75 games, booting a ground ball in the 5th. I have only one thing to say in response - You can't drop what you can't reach.
  • Running joke of the night on BYB and Twitter: According to Fangraphs, Peralta is the 8th best defender in the AL.
  • The Tigers turned a 3-6-3 double play in the 5th. SHOCKING, I know.
  • Rod Allen after Verlander pitched out of the 5th: "Verlander really bailed Peralta out." It's not the first time, Rod.
  • Triple Crown watch: Cabrera leads the AL in in batting average (.333) and RBI (130), is 2nd in home runs (41), just 1 back of Josh Hamilton.
  • Via @Tigers_Thompson: Cabrera's home run was his 16th in the 7th inning-or-later this season, 4 more than any other player in the majors.
  • Cabrera struck out with a runner on 3rd to end the 8th inning. I'm sure someone, somewhere will use that at bat in an MVP argument tonight.
  • Via the Oakland Press' Matthew B. Mowery: Post game quote from Verlander when asked if Cabrera could win the Triple Crown but lose the MVP -- "Horse-bleep."
  • Via WXYT's Jeff Riger: Jim Leyland had something to say about the AL MVP race, Wonderboy and sabermetrics in general -- "I will not use the players name but according to the Sabermetrics there is a player that is better than Miguel Cabrera. So when the guy that gave me the Sabermetrics told me that I said well then should we trade Miguel Cabrera for the player that you're taking about? He said oh no you can't do that. And I said well you don't believe in Sabermetrics and neither do I."

SCREEN CAPS OF THE GAME:

Justin Verlander was a mite frustrated with his lack of command while talking animatedly with Gerald Laird.

Fustrated_jv_medium

If you're going to troll Paws and Shannon Hogan, you got to do better than bunny ears.

I_have_2_fingers_medium

I whip my hair back and forth...as I dodge foul balls.

Hogan_hair_medium

3 ROARS:

Justin Verlander: Not many pitchers can struggle as the Tigers' ace appeared to, yet throw 6 shutout innings and not allow a base hit after the 3rd. We hold Verlander to such an insanely high standard, when he appears even semi-mortal, we're honestly surprised.

Miguel Cabrera: Not wanting to pitch to Cabrera with runners on base, the A's waved the white flag, walking him twice. When they did pitch to him, Cabrera clubbed his 41st home run.

Andy Dirks: 3-4, run scored. Dirks sprayed the ball all over the field, reaching base on a drag bunt, and singles to left and right.

BONUS ROARS:

Omar Infante: Only 1 hit, but his 2 RBI double gave the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish. Added a 3rd RBI on a fielder's choice.

Gerald Laird: Any time G$ bunts for a hit, I have to give him props. The Tigers haven't missed Alex Avila thanks to Laird's 5-7 performance at the plate in in the first 2 games of the series.

3 HISSES:

Not going to worry about them tonight.

GAME 146 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

As of late, if it's not a a starting pitcher voted BYB PotG, it's Miguel Cabrera. Thanks to 2 home runs and 6 RBI, Cabrera received an overwhelming 94% of the vote.

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