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Justin Verlander wins 24th as Tigers salvage split with A's

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Justin Verlander earned win No. 24 this season.
Justin Verlander earned win No. 24 this season.


Final - 9.18.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 3 5 0
Oakland Athletics 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
WP: Justin Verlander (24 - 5)
SV: Jose Valverde (46)
LP: Guillermo Moscoso (8 - 9)

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BOX

KEY BIG NUMBERS

24 wins for Justin Verlande, including 12 consecutive starts. He is the first AL pitcher since Bob Welch to win 24 games. Welch won 27.

46 saves (out of 46) for Jose Valverde

89 wins. Sure, not a real big deal. But this gives the Tigers their most in a season since 2006 and keeps alive the hope of matching or surpassing 2006 as well.

10-10-10-10. OK maybe 10 isn't a big number. But Ausin Jackson became the first Tigers player since Curtis Granderson to have 10 HR, 10 triples, 10 doubles and 10 steals reports Chris Vannini. Plus he plays good defense. Maybe he can tell us about his love for fast food and his favorite charity?

KEY STATS

No Oakland player made it past first base.

Justin Verlander pitched 8 scoreless innings

KEY PLAYS

Austin Jackson solo home run in the sixth inning. By the way, it broke up a no hitter.

Ramon Santiago lays down the bunt in a suicide squeeze in the 8th inning.

KEY THOUGHTS

Nice to see Justin Verlander back on track. Probably helped that he was pitching against Oakland, but don't tell Max Scherzer that.

A couple of weeks ago, the odds were against Verlander making it to 25 wins. Of course, as I said, I'm not sure you ever want to bet against Verlander. The odds just weren't in his favor. And you know what? That's fine. If winning so many games in a row was easy, everyone would do it. Verlander's up to 12 consecutive games with a winning decision, and 24 wins for the year. His last start will likely be against the Orioles.

Jose Valverde on Friday during the division-clinching celebration said that he'd like to get to 50 saves. With less than a dozen games remaining, that seemed like a pretty tall task. But he's at 46 now. Obviously the Tigers bullpen has been key in getting them to the position they're in today. Not everyone, of course. But the team is 74-0 when leading after seven innings and 79-0 when leading after eight innings. That's pretty good.

Nice to see the Tigers earn the split today. I mean, they clinched the division. So there's really no worrying or gnashing of teeth. The Tigers are 3 games behind the Yankees for the top seed, 1 game ahead of the Rangers for an ALDS home series. But I think a lot of fans would appreciate knowing their tickets will actually be put to use, so earning home field in the ALDS is pretty important to fans if not to players as well.

Squeeze plays: Lots of fun. Also gives opposing managers something to think about.

Carlos Guillen left the game with a calf injury. Jim Leyland didn't seem too optimistic Guillen would heal any time soon.