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One inning of offense, plus eight innings of Justin Verlander, beat the Mariners, 4-1

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Final - 6.9.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle Mariners 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 X 4 7 0
WP: Justin Verlander (7 - 3)
SV: Jose Valverde (16)
LP: Doug Fister (3 - 7)

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BOX

KEY STAT

MLB.com's Jason Beck and the Mariners' cleanup hitter, Miguel Olivo, give us proof baseball is a funny game.

Miguel Olivo went 7-for-13 in his last visit to Detroit in April. He has struck out four times tonight.

Verlander sent Olivo strolling back to the bench three times, and Jose Valverde once. What a difference a couple of months can make.

KEY PLAY

When the Tigers left Alex Avila stranded at 3rd base after his 3rd inning leadoff triple, I thought it was going to be one of those nights. In the 5th, after another Avila triple tied the game 1-1, Don Kelly came to the plate with two outs. Kelly lined a single to left, giving the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.

Don Kelly, RBI Wizard.

KEY THOUGHTS

The Tigers' offense only showed up for one inning, thje 5th. But thanks to Avila (RBI triple), Kelly (the aforementioned RBI single), and Brennan Boesch (two run home run), four runs was all Verlander needed.

I can't repeat it often enough. Justin Verlander is an inhuman freak of nature. A robot. An automaton. An Iron Mike. No human should be able to throw 95+ MPH 120 pitches into a game. Yet Verlander does, start after start. He has an arm that makes the Greek God Zeus, and even Nolan Ryan, jealous. After striking out a season high 10, the Tigers' ace is 5-0 in his last seven starts, and his ERA has dropped to a season low 2.89. Losing streaks tend to stop before they start when you have Verlander in the rotation. The bullpen, save for the closer, usually has a quiet night as well.

It's said if you hit a ball into Comerica Park's Death Valley in right center, you can run forever...unless you are a catcher like Alex Avila, then you have to stop at 3rd. Avila continued to raise his All-Star profile with a pair of triples, a run scored and an RBI.

The BYB community, a group of very educated fans, have been wanting Ryan Raburn out of the lineup for quite some time. The more casual Tigers fans have apparently reached the end of their rope when it comes to Raburn. You could hear the boos increasing as the night grew late and Raburn failed in another at bat. When the casual fan turns on you...well, it doesn't bode well for your future in Detroit.

The 9th inning is not peanut butter jelly time for the Tigers. It's Big Potato time. Papa Grande finished off the game for his 16th save of the season, which ties Valverde for 2nd in the AL.

The Indians were off today, so the win moves the Tigers another 1/2 game closer to the Tribe The Tigers are only one measly game out of 1st place in the AL Central. By this time tomorrow night, we could be talking about the 1st place Detroit Tigers.

First place Tigers? It has a nice ring to it.