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Angels 1, Tigers 0: Dan Haren wins pitcher's duel with Justin Verlander, Tigers mix it up with Joe West

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Final - 7.5.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
Los Angeles Angels 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 7 0
WP: Dan Haren (9 - 5)
LP: Justin Verlander (11 - 4)

Complete Coverage >


BOX

KEY STAT

Stat line for umpire (and hacky wannabe country singer) Cowboy Joe West: Two ejections (Justin Verlander - though it was after he was pulled from the game - and Jim Leyland), one missed call at 1st base (which ultimately cost the Tigers a run...and the game), one pissed off Tigers team.

Joe West, not good at umpiring...or singing...or much of anything, actually.

The umpiring crew of West, Angel Campos (who ejected Bobby Abreu in the 1st), Angel Hernandez and Chad Fairchild is a joke, an insult to legitimate MLB umpires. The worst thing about the crew, and West in particular, is how they make the game all about themselves. Umpires like West all but scream, "Look at me, LOOK! AT! MEEEE!" As if I'd rather watch a schlubby looking ump instead of highly skilled players.

Games officiated by short tempered showboat umpires don't make for good baseball. Unless you like to see managers and players bicker with umpires who are begging for a confrontation.

KEY PLAY

Howie Kendrick was credited with an infield single after being called safe by West, though replays showed Jhonny Peralta's throw beat him to the bag.

MLB.com's Jason Beck tweeted Leyland's post game reaction to the call:

Leyland on call at 1st: "You guys saw it. Write what you saw."

With Kendrick now on 1st, Erick Aybar doubled to right. It looked as if there was going to be a play on Kendrick at home. But instead of throwing home, Magglio Ordonez threw directly to 2nd base. Aybar was already cruising into 2nd, and Kendrick easily beat Peralta's late throw to the plate for the only run of the game. As it turned out, the only run the Angels would need.

KEY THOUGHTS

But the story of the game wasn't the umpiring crew (and they'd be damn disappointed to hear it). So what was the story? Pitching. As has become the norm, Verlander was excellent. But Dan Haren was better.

Regardless of the BS with the umpires, West, Hernandez and the gang aren't the reason the Tigers lost the second game of the series to the Angels. Blame Haren for pitching like the Haren of four years ago. He was on his game, to the tune of giving up just two measly hits in a complete game masterpiece. It was going to take top of the line ace stuff to beat Veralnder, and that's what the Angels got from Haren. After last season's bout with ineffectiveness, it appears Haren is fully back as an ace.

After allowing only one run on six hits in 7.2 innings, Verlander deserved a better fate. Most nights he would have...but Haren had something to say about Verlander's fate tonight.

In other baseball news, Brennan Boesch fouled a pitch off his right knee and was forced to leave the game. The Tigers say he's day to day with a knee contusion.

Does anyone want to win the Central division? The Indians, Tigers and White Sox all lost today. The Tigers remain 1.5 games behind the Tribe, with the Sox hovering at 3.5 games back. The Central is there for the taking...but no one seems to want it.

Tomorrow...err, this afternoon, the Tigers will try to salvage the third game of the three game series. Good luck with that, as Joe West will be the home plate umpire. At the very least, we'll see fireworks...and they won't be in the sky.

And don't forget, vote Victor Martinez!