Well, now - somebody wanted to go into the All-Star break on a high note. As to who that somebody actually was, take your pick among the middle third of the Tigers' batting order, because this afternoon was one, long mighty roar for those three hitters.
Clete Thomas drove in five runs, hitting a RBI triple to right-center field, a three-run homer to left-center, and a RBI single to right in his four at-bats for the day. (Here's video of each RBI hit.) Since being called back up from Triple-A, Thomas has hit 7-for-13.
Brandon Inge got a head start on Monday night's Home Run Derby by blasting two home runs, one of which followed Thomas's three-run shot in the fourth inning to blow the game open for the Tigers. Inge ended his day with three RBIs. (And does he really have 21 homers at the All-Star break?)
Marcus Thames went 4-for-4 at the plate, with one RBI and three runs scored. He batted 6-for-12 in the three games with a homer and three RBIs versus the Indians this weekend.
But the Tiger didn't just vanquish the Tribe with their bats today. Justin Verlander also ended his first half of the season with a terrific performance, holding the Indians to five hits over seven scoreless innings. He also notched eight strikeouts, giving him the highest total (149) for a Detroit pitcher at the All-Star break since Mickey Lolich (156) in 1972. In three starts against Cleveland this year, Verlander is 3-0 with an 0.59 ERA.
With the win, combined with the Twins' 13-6 stomping of the White Sox, the Tigers go into the All-Star break with a 3.5 game lead in the AL Central. Remember when we were all worried Detroit might be out of first place last weekend?
There shouldn't be a Whimper in a 10-1 victory, but there was a reason the Tigers didn't record a shutout today, and his name is Zach Miner. All Miner had to do was close out the ninth inning with a 10-run lead (a scenario that would surely make Fernando Rodney sweat through his jersey) against the lower half of Cleveland's batting order. No problem, right?
Except you have to get those batters out, not walk them. Three of the first four hitters Miner faced reached base on two walks and a double. And then with the bases loaded, Miner walked Jamey Carroll on five pitches (missing inside on four of them) to bring in the lone Cleveland run. Fu-Te Ni ended up having to get the last two outs of the ninth.
According to Dan Dickerson on the Tigers' radio broadcast, that was the 16th time Detroit has walked in a run this season. No other American League team has done it more than 10 times.
Comment of the Day:
Enjoy your All-Star break! We'll be here with open threads for the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, along with a Morning Prowl or two during the four-day recess.