Justin Verlander was rocked in the Bronx this evening, giving up six runs in a 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees. The offense scored a couple of runs early, then curled up in a ball to die. Adam Warren was dominant for the home team, pitching eight innings of two-run ball.
The first inning was a noteworthy one in the annals of baseball history. Verlander tried to throw a first-pitch fastball by Alex Rodriguez, but the slugger was having none of it. Rodriguez crushed the ball deep to right field for a solo home run. More importantly, it marked the 3,000th hit of his embattled career. Rodriguez received a nice ovation from the home crowd after the blast.
With the 3,000th hit out of the way, Detroit struck back to take the lead in the top of the second. Victor Martinez led the inning off with a single, and Yoenis Cespedes followed with a double. Bryan Holaday eventually drove them in with a looper into left center that dropped for a single. Warren did manage to get out of the inning with no further damage.
The Tigers receiveth, and Verlander giveth right back. Didi Gregorius got a high fastball and did not miss it, dropping it onto the short porch in right. He gave up two more hits on the inning before escaping the inning on a Brett Gardner ground ball. Unlike Warren, he had no strikeouts through two innings.
Both pitchers were on the ropes after two innings in a bandbox. It had the classic looks of a slugfest. So, of course, the next few innings were quiet. Verlander continued to be unable to strike Yankees out, but he got plenty of weak contact in innings three and four to match Warren, but even Verlander's best efforts mean nothing when pitching in the Bronx. His third homer allowed on the night was a go-ahead two-run shot job by Gardner. Somewhere, Yankees fans are enjoying a free small order of curly fries.
In the top of the sixth, Detroit wasted another scoring opportunity. Ian Kinsler led off with an infield hit. Cabrera got a knock of his own, and right fielder Carlos Beltran's throw to third was wild. Kinsler tried to score on the play and was thrown out at the plate for out number one. Not a good baserunning choice. The inning would come to grief, as would the seventh after Nick Castellanos grounded into a double play.
The bottom of the seventh was painful to watch. A couple of infield hits kicked off of Verlander before manager Brad Ausmus came out to talk to the starter. Verlander appeared to talk Ausmus into letting him face another batter, but allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. Tom Gorzelanny came in and gave up another run on an RBI single by Mark Teixeira. It was 6-2 at this point.
The rest of the game was a blur. Gorzelanny gave up another run when Gardner singled in Chris Young in the eighth, while the Tigers were quietly dispatched in the eighth and ninth.
Alex Rodriguez: Congratulations to the slugger on his 3,000th career hit. He continues to make his case for AL Comeback Player of the Year.
The Detroit Tigers:
You get a hiss, Verlander. You get a hiss, Castellanos. You also get a hiss, Kinsler. Big old hiss for Gorzelanny, and a hiss to Holaday for that wild pitch. And of course a hiss to Brad Ausmus for not pulling Verlander in the seventh. Sure, things would have worked out pretty badly with Gorzelanny most likely. But if you go to pull a player, you don't let him talk you out of it. You are the manager.
Everyone gets a hiss, except for maybe Miguel Cabrera.
Streaks and Snarks:
Miguel Cabrera extended his hitting streak to seven games with a sixth inning single.
Elias and Major League Baseball responded to an urgent e-mail to confirm that despite how it felt, this game will only count as one loss in the standings. In my opinion, the MLB should spend less time deleting bad All Star votes and more time figuring out how that can be possible.
Win Probability Graph: