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Justin Verlander magnificent with 7 1/3 no-hit innings, Tigers take over 1st place in 4-0 win over Indians

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DETROIT, MI - JUNE 14: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers  throws a first inning pitch while playing the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park on June 14, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 14: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers throws a first inning pitch while playing the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park on June 14, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Final - 6.14.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland Indians 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
Detroit Tigers 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 X 4 11 0
WP: Justin Verlander (8 - 3)
LP: Justin Masterson (5 - 5)

Complete Coverage >


BOX

KEY STATS

Tonight's key stats are all Justin Verlander's.

How dominant was the Tigers' ace tonight? 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 K.

As I said, dominant. Want more?

Via the Twitter feed of FSD's Rod Allen:

I told you He's Must See TV!!! 40 of his 117 pitches were 95 mph and above.

Even more? OK, you got it. How dominant has Verlander been this season?

Via the Twitter feed of the AP's Dave Hogg:

Verlander has taken three no-hitters into the sixth this season. It is only mid-June.

With tonight's win, Verlander is now 8-3 on the season, with a 2.66 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. In his last four starts, Verlander is 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA and 32 K's in 32.2 innings. There isn't a better pitcher in the major leagues.

KEY PLAY

With one out in the 8th inning, Orlando Cabrera broke up Verlander's no-hit bid with a line single to center field. It was a solid, legit hit.

Verlander was better tonight than in his earlier no-hitter. The curve was an utter hammer, paired with a criminally good fastball. It's what you would call no-hit stuff. But sometimes you can be completely dominant, yet a ball still drops (See Cabrera, and also the Tribe's 2nd hit, Carlos Santana's 9th inning seeing eye dying quail which fell in short left). Unfortunately, that's baseball.

KEY THOUGHTS

The Indians held 1st place in the Central from April 6th on..and lost it tonight. After slow start to the season, making runs toward the top of the standings, then faltering, the Tigers are finally in sole possession of 1st place. But it's somewhat of an afterthought thanks to another crazy good performance by Verlander.

Being all alone in 1st place is one Hell of a consolation prize.

Trivia time, via @MackAveTigers, aka our own Kurt:

Random fact: an "A" was involved with every Tigers run scored today.

"A Jackson scored." "A Dirks singled to center" "A Avila hit sacrifice" "A Dirks singled to left center"

A-mazing.

Even though the Tigers won, a long streak came to an end. The Tigers had an extra base hit in every game this season, a streak of 66 straight. There were 11 hits tonight...all singles.

Grady Sizemore was 0-4, all strikeouts. Enjoy your Golden Sombrero, sir. Wear it with pride.

Cleveland Indians, enjoy 2nd place.

If I were you, I'd be marking every Justin Verlander start on my calender. Something special can happen every time he takes the mound. Already this season, Verlander has thrown one no-hitter, and flirted with a no-no twice more. Be it later this year, or later in his career, it's not a matter of if Verlander can throw another no-hitter. It's a matter of when...and how many.