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Pirates 11, Tigers 6: Justin Verlander injury, bullpen too much to overcome

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Justin Verlander allowed five runs, departing after just one inning for right shoulder soreness. Fresh bullpen arms Justin Miller and Kevin Whelan gave up a combined five runs one day after the Tigers' longest game of the season.

Justin K. Aller

After a marathon loss on Sunday, the Tigers needed a strong start out of Justin Verlander, but all they got was one inning. Verlander gave up five runs before being pulled for right shoulder soreness. Forced to go to the bullpen early, the Tigers lost 11-6 and dropped to second place in the American League Central Division as the Kansas City Royals won 3-2 over the Oakland Athletics.

A visibly frustrated and angry Verlander was seen entering the dugout when he departed after one inning into his start, but two fresh arms from Triple-A Toledo didn't help the Tigers any. Justin Miller and Kevin Whelan allowed five runs over the course of a combined 3 1/3 innings.

Post-game Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Verlander said he wasn't in any pain, however, Ausmus said he wasn't taking any chances. Verlander said an MRI would be conducted and that the issue had been lingering for some time, although he would not state specifically how long that meant.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous," Verlander said. "I've never been through this before."

Ian Krol came on to pitch a scoreless two innings, the only Tigers pitcher who did not allow a run. Phil Coke put the last nail in the coffin of a game that was over almost before it began, giving up a solo home run to Travis Snider in the eighth to give the Pirates their final score.

The Tigers offense would not give up though. After repeated games where they couldn't get more than a couple of runs all series against the Blue Jays and the Yankees before that, the Tigers kept fighting. Despite being outhit several times, the Tigers refused to give up and while they took the loss, matched the Pirates for hits in the end.

With the exception of Ian Kinsler — who failed to record a hit — very member of the Tigers starting rotation had a hit. Rajai Davis, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter and Alex Avila all finished with multi-hit nights. Davis and Cabrera finished 3-5, Victor Martinez was 2-5, Hunter finished 2-4 and Avila had a 2-3 night. Suarez finished 1-3 with a walk but his one hit was a crushed double.

The loss tonight, coupled with a win by the Royals, puts the Tigers in second place by a half-game for the first time since June 17 when the Tigers trailed by the same distance. After the game the Tigers clubhouse remained closed as changes to the roster were made. Buck Farmer will start for the Tigers on Wedneday, Max Scherzer pitches on Thursday, Rick Porcello on Friday and David Price starts on Saturday.

ROARS:

Ian Krol: He pitched two scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and striking out two.

Miguel Cabrera: He put an 0-2 pitch into right field for an RBI single, scoring Davis in the first inning. Cabrera hit a leadoff single in the six inning and later came around to score off the bat of Torii Hunter. He also hit a line drive single in the eighth and finished 3-5 for the night.

Rajai Davis: Basically manufactured the Tigers first run in the first inning himself. Davis hit a leadoff single and Ian Kinsler got him to second base on a sacrifice bunt. With Cabrera batting Davis then stole third base and Davis scored on the RBI single by Cabrera. Davis also hit a two-run RBI double in the eighth, finishing 3-5 for the night. The glaring tally against Davis landed in the same inning when he tried coming home on the line drive single by Cabrera.

Torii Hunter: The Tigers needed something of a pick-me-up in the sixth inning, so with two on and no one out, Hunter hit an RBI double that gave the Tigers their first run of the night since the first inning. Hunter also hit a double down the left field line in the seventh inning and drew a walk in the first.

Alex Avila: Laced an RBI single over the outstretched glove of the third baseman for an RBI single in the sixth to make it an 8-3 deficit. His only misplay was in the sixth inning when he failed to glove a high throw by Whelan in the bottom of the sixth, but Avila did a good job behind the plate overall despite the carousel going on at the mound.

HISSES:

Justin Verlander: The Tigers couldn't afford a starter to have a bad outing after Sunday's marathon game, but that's just what Verlander did. Verlander faced 10 batters in the first inning alone, allowing five runs on four hits, walking two and striking out the side. The damage was done and Verlander ended the first inning with 40 pitches. He came on to bat in the second inning and got a sacrifice bunt that advanced runners to second and third, but Verlander's evening was done at that point.

Justin Miller: He came out to relieve Verlander and lasted just two innings before being pulled. Miller gave up three runs on five hits, a home run and he walked one. He threw 39 pitches and only 23 landed in the strike zone.

Kevin Whelan: The Tigers got within reaching distance of the Pirates in the top of the sixth when they scored three. Whelan, making his debut with the Tigers, gave it right back to the Pirates. He served up back-to-back home runs to left and right field respectively, making it 10-4 in favor of the Pirates. Whelan lasted just 1 1/2 innings before being pulled.

Tigers defense/baserunning: It was a rough day on Sunday and the effects carried over into Monday night's game. They played a sloppy defense, tacking on three errors by Victor Martinez, Rajai Davis and Alex Avila, and two misplays by J.D. Martinez and Hunter. Mistakes by the Tigers also cost them on the basepaths, ending innings and handed the Pirates free outs.

Phil Coke: He went two innings and struck out two while allowing just one hit, but that one hit was a monster home run by Travis Snider, his second homer of the game. What was originally a roar quickly turned into a hiss performance on a night when the bullpen couldn't afford to allow the Pirates any free passes.

NOTES::

Verlander exited the game after just one inning and an at-bat to right shoulder soreness. He will be further evaluated on Tuesday.

The Tigers bat boy slipped and fell along the first base coaching box in foul territory, sustaining a left knee injury. He had to be helped off the field by both Rand and Tigers assistant athletic trainer Doug Teter and was visibly in a significant amount of pain. He will be further evaluated by Pirates doctors and receive an MRI on Tuesday.

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • Coming into Monday's start, Justin Verlander had given up seven earned runs on 17 hits combined in his previous four starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Monday he allowed five in the first inning alone but he also struck out the side.
  • Justin Verlander's one inning appearance was the shortest of his career.
  • Justin Verlander has made 291 consecutive starts without a trip to the disabled list, good enough for second-most among active pitchers. Only Mark Buehrle of the Toronto Blue Jays has more. Verlander's ongoing streak is now in jeopardy.
  • Kevin Whelan allowed back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning. He hadn't given up a home run all season in Triple-A Toledo.
  • Justin Verlander took the loss Monday night, snapping his streak of 14 consecutive interleague wins and dropping his record to 10-11 with a 4.76 ERA.
  • Justin Verlander will return to Detroit on Tuesday for an MRI. It is the first injury-related MRI of his MLB career.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

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TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
3 Muttcutts What's Verlander's excuse?
3 sluggonauts Dk slept in his own bed last nite.....doesn't count as his own bed if he lives with Leyland
2 SabreRoseTiger No, it's a glitch in the matrix
2 Joaquin on Sunshine "I don't care about numbers telling me otherwise, I'm right"
2 JakeJustice65 the beauty of baseball