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Tigers 6, White Sox 1: Justin Verlander, Tigers knock the wind out of Chicago

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Justin Verlander tossed eight dominant innings of one-run ball in his final performance of the regular season as the Tigers drove in six runs after Victor Martinez was hit by a pitch.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT — Tempers flared in the sixth inning after Victor Martinez was hit by a pitch. The Tigers responded by driving in six runs in support of a lights-out Justin Verlander. The Tigers took the series with a 6-1 win over the White Sox, knocking Chris Sale out of the game in six innings and increasing their lead in the AL Central.

Verlander (W, 15-12) was in vintage form for the second consecutive start. After an eight-pitch leadoff at-bat in the first inning, Verlander cruised through the White Sox's lineup, giving up just one extra-base hit that drove in the White Sox's only (unearned) run of the game. He surrendered no walks and struck out six, slamming the door on a dominant performance with a swinging strikeout of Conor Gillaspie in the eighth inning, who battled for 10 pitches before succumbing to a 94 mph fastball.

"It was similar to what we saw in Kansas City," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He had laser focus, he knew that this was a big game for us and he seems to dial it up. His velocity was good, he held his velocity, from about the third inning he got loose and held his velocity the rest of the way through and he did an excellent job."

Chris Sale struck out 10 Tigers batters, but he left after only six innings. With one out, Sale drilled Victor Martinez that started a heated exchange between the two benches as they cleared. Sale denied he attempted to pitch at Martinez, but the damage was done and the Tigers retaliated in a respectful way, exploding for six runs and sending the White Sox packing with a series loss.

Rajai Davis was crucial to the Tigers' success as he reached base three times and created his own offense, distracting the pitcher simply by his presence. J.D. Martinez also finished with three hits and handing the Tigers their first extra-base hit of the game. Ian Kinsler, whose bat has been all too quiet on several occasions, reached base four times, driving in two runs with a single and a double, walking twice.

With the Tigers leading by a comfortable margin, Ausmus brought Joakim Soria in to close the game. Ausmus said had Cabrera driven in another run in the three-run eighth inning, Anibal Sanchez would have been the pitcher of choice.

However, Sanchez was not yet ready so Ausmus opted for Soria in yet another non-closing situation. Soria stood on the mound like he owned the place. While it wasn't necessary, Soria slammed the door and lit the White Sox's life raft on fire by sending 10-of-12 pitches for strikes and striking out a batter.

ROARS:

Justin Verlander: Wednesday was vintage "Must See JV." He handed the Tigers eight strong innings of one-run ball, allowing seven hits while striking six in 109 pitches. Verlander had four 1-2-3 innings and surpassed 200 innings for the eighth straight season, reaching 96 mph with his pitches and pounding the strike zone consistently.

Chris Sale: Sale thought the Tigers were up to something and he hit Victor Martinez with a pitch in the sixth. It had the opposite effect if he thought it was going to quiet the Tigers. After the hit-by-pitch, the Tigers drove in six runs and forced an exit of Sale after six innings.

Ian Kinsler/Rajai Davis: Kinsler finished 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, two walks and two RBI. Davis continued to wreak havoc on the basepaths, collecting three hits, driving in a run, scoring twice and stealing a base.

J.D. Martinez: Payback the right way pays off. After Victor was drilled by the pitch, a threat even to Sale, J.D. drove a double and finished with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, a run scored, and the double.

Eighth inning: A leadoff single, a walk and a sacrifice bunt set up a three-run eighth inning. The Tigers sent eight men to the plate and plated two of the three runs with two outs, walking twice.

Joakim Soria: Forgotten in the bullpen all too often, Soria continues to pitch well when asked. Of the 12 pitches thrown in the ninth, only one (!) was a ball and he struck out a batter on five pitches, a biting curveball that just dropped off the table at 68 mph(!!).

HISSES:

Miguel Cabrera: The Hiss Department wanted the day off, but Cabrera's four strikeouts in five at-bats put a hold on the request. To Cabrera's credit, his only non-strikeout appearance resulted in a deep sacrifice fly that gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead over the White Sox.

NOTES::

In the sixth inning the benches cleared when Victor Martinez was hit by the first pitch of the at-bat. Sale accused the Tigers (Martinez specifically) of stealing their signs. The Tigers responded by J.D. Martinez hitting a double to left field, putting runners on second and third base. Nick Castellanos then hit a sacrifice fly that put the Tigers on the board, tying the game 1-1. They would take the lead in the next inning, never relinquishing it. (MLB.com video)

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • Ian Kinsler drew a leadoff walk in the first inning, giving him just hit 28th walk of the season. The 28 walks are a single-season career-low.
  • Victor Martinez drew his MLB-leading 28th intentional walk of the season, which also set a new MLB all-time single-season record by a switch hitter. Montreal Expos' Tim Raines is second, with 26, set back in 1987.
  • Torii Hunter extended his hitting streak to 10 games with the single in the third inning. He is batting .386 during that stretch.
  • The Tigers had two sacrifice flies in the sixth and seventh innings Wednesday. The sacrifice flies gives them an MLB-best 59 sacrifice flies for the season. The Angels are second, with 53.
  • Rajai Davis' stolen base in the eighth inning marked his 35th stolen base for the season. It matches the Tigers' total stolen bases as a team in 2013.
  • Miguel Cabrera struck out four times, marking just the third time in his career he's done so. The last time was on September 17, 2010 against the White Sox, Sale pitching in relief that day.
  • Justin Verlander allowed one run on seven hits, striking out six over eight innings of work and recording his eighth straight season with 200-or-more innings pitched. Verlander is the fourth pitcher in Tigers history to post eight straight season with 200-or-more innings pitched, and the first since Mickey Lolich had 12 straight season from 1964-1975.
  • Verlander's 15th win of the season marked seven straight seasons with 15-or-more wins. He is tied for fourth place in franchise history with Hooks Dauss and Hal Hewhouser with seven seasons of 15-or-more wins. Only Jack Morris (10), George Mullin (9), and Lolich (8) have recorded more.
  • J.D. Martinez recorded three hits including a double to finish 3-for-4 with a run scored. He is batting .467 since September 12 and has recorded a multi-hit game in 8-of-12 games during that time.
  • Rajai Davis' RBI single in the eighth inning gave him a 3-for-4 day with two runs scored and a stolen base. It is his 12th game of the season with three-or-more hits.
  • Kinsler's RBI double in the seventh, coupled with the eighth inning RBI single gave him 54 multi-hit games this season.
  • The Tigers have taken each of the last five season-series versus the White Sox.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

ROLL CALL:

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TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

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1 FrogTownFan 159
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TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
14 NCDee I can see this win for miles and miles!
7 NCDee [no title]
6 NCDee [no title]
5 J_the_Man HEY WHITE SOX! DEAL WITH IT!
5 J_the_Man And the winner is...
5 NCDee [no title]
4 J_the_Man [no title]
3 SanDiegoMick you don't sound like a Tigers Fan, I'm calling BS
3 SpartanHT Kinsler being a jerk
3 NCDee POTG is the guy with the binoculars.