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Tigers 5, Cubs 3: Austin Jackson, Justin Verlander power Detroit to series win

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Final - 6.14.2012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 5 11 0
Chicago Cubs 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 6 0
WP: Justin Verlander (6 - 4)
SV: Jose Valverde (13)
LP: Travis Wood (0 - 3)

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Two days ago things felt frantic. A close loss to the Chicago Cubs. The CUBS?! Now, the picture is a bit rosier. With a 5-3 victory over the Cubs on Thursday, the Tigers finished their Interleague road trip with a 4-2 record. They also picked up a little ground on the second-place Indians, who got swept by the Reds.

The game went according to script, more or less. The Tigers scored early, and Justin Verlander held court for most of the contest. He did have a stumble in the second inning, giving up a pair of runs to allow a 2-2 tie. Otherwise, the ace made it through the game by scattering five hits and no walks. He struck out eight. The game also saw a long stretch of "typical" Tigers play -- stranding leadoff baserunners repeatedly, suffering through a low-scoring game yet again. For awhile, it just had that groundhog day feel.

Fortunately for Detroit, Austin Jackson again stepped up in the late innings. (Just how much was he missed when he spent about three weeks on the DL?) Jackson had a key two-out, RBI single in the seventh inning, driving in Ryan Raburn. In the ninth, Jackson knocked a two-run shot into the left field stands for a bit of cushion.

Jose Valverde allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth, but picked up his 13th save of the year.

A few other highlights:

  • Ryan Raburn had two hits, including an RBI double in his first at bat since being recalled. (He also made a baserunning blunder later in the inning.)
  • Don Kelly hit a triple. It appeared to be a great chance for an inside-the-park home run. Gene Lamont threw up the stop sign rather than the windmill. That was disappointing. Jackson's home run made the decision work out fine, though without the entertaining drama.
  • Justin Verlander dropped down a couple of successful bunts. Sure, they weren't hits. But a few of his teammates haven't been as successful with their sacrifices. So if you're going to do it ... at least JV does it right.
  • The Tigers won back-to-back series for the first time since ... the first two series of the season. Youch.

Detroit has gone 5-2 in the past week. Players are coming out of slumps. Some are coming back from health issues. Maybe things aren't quite so bad? But the Tigers will have to continue their success at Comerica Park, a place the home team hasn't been as success at as in past years.

So, stay tuned.

3 ROARS

Austin Jackson - Key 9th inning home run, double, 3 hits, general Jackson-ness

Justin Verlander - Bit of a hiccup in the 2nd followed by typical Verlander excellence

Delmon Young - 2 hits

1/2 ROAR

Ryan Raburn - 2-for-3, but did make a baserunning blunder

BONUS ROAR

Tigers fans represented well at Wrigley Field the entire series. You'd have thought Detroit was playing a home game.

3 HISSES

Miguel Cabrera - 0-for-5, 5 LOB

Rest of the hisses are canceled

GAME 62 POG

Brennan Boesch!