Last week in St. Louis, Justin Verlander's match-up against another team's ace didn't go so well. But the fans at Comerica Park got to see a clash of pitching titans on Sunday, with Verlander and Yovani Gallardo living up to their advance billing. Both pitchers went at least seven innings, walking three batters and striking out eight. But the three-run homer Gallardo gave up in the sixth made much more of an impact than the two solo shots Verlander bookended his day with.
(Verlander quickly killed those memories of the no-hitter he threw against the Brewers two years ago, serving up a homer to Casey McGehee on his seventh pitch of the game - and first to McGehee.)
Gallardo was dominating the Tigers until that fateful sixth inning, allowing just two singles with six strikeouts. But the middle of the Detroit lineup finally broke through, with Miguel Cabrera and Don Kelly knocking singles and giving Brandon Inge to slug the big blow of the day. Gallardo threw one too many sliders, hanging the third one up in the strike zone, which Inge blasted deep into the left field seats.
And unlike on Thursday, when he almost walked away the game, Fernando Rodney closed out the game with authority, ending a 1-2-3 inning by striking out Mat Gamel. A tremendous series for the Tigers ended with a great game, and Detroit heads into tomorrow's off-day on a four-game winning streak, along with a four-game lead over the Twins in the AL Central. What a weekend.
Cabrera will probably be disappointed to see the Brewers' pitching staff leave Detroit. This weekend, he hit 7-for-13 with two homers and three RBIs. Batting behind him, Don Kelly may not seem like the ideal #5 hitter. But he thrived in that role, batting 6-for-11. He doesn't seem too interested in going back to Toledo.
Comment of the Day:
We don't always like to do predictions for these, but this was damn close:
7 IP, 2ER, 10 Kby B-Race Miles
Let's hear it for the new guy! And, of course, your runner-up.