DETROIT -- So close. Justin Verlander came within three outs of a no-hitter but still got a one-hit shutout. And unlike his recent starts the Detroit Tigers' offense provided run support. The Tigers won 5-0 against the Angels, ending a five-game losing streak and handing Verlander a well-earned win.
A month ago Verlander got booed by the home crowd in a rough start. None of that was present at Comerica Park on Wednesday night. On more than one occasion in the late innings, Verlander topped 97 mph. He did not relent after starting the game with a swinging strikeout, with three through three innings.
There was next to no traffic to speak of. Verlander walked a batter with one out in the third but got an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to keep the batters faced to the minimum. and he would not allow another batter to reach first base until the eighth. Verlander struck out five consecutive hitters in the sixth and seventh innings, striking out the side in the seventh.
It looked like Verlander was in trouble in the eighth. Verlander walked David Murphy on four pitches and threw two outside the zone to Erick Aybar. The crowd began to stir, wondering if it would all come undone. But Verlander was saved by the second ground ball of the night, a 4-6-3 beauty to maintain the minimum batters faced. Unfortunately the no-hit bid ended on the first batter faced in the ninth on a ball that kicked up the chalk along the left field foul line, the only hit that Verlander would allow as he shut out the Angels.
There was no silence from the offense. There were two spoiled chances when Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez were stranded on third in the first and fourth innings, respectively. But the offense made up for it later, and there were plenty of home runs to be found. Nick Castellanos got the party started with a solo shot in the second. Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez each smoked two-run shots in the fifth inning to give the Tigers -- and Verlander -- some much-needed run support.
Justin Verlander: Took a no-hitter through eight innings. He faced the minimum and walked just two batters until allowing a leadoff double off the left-field chalk to Chris Iannetta in the ninth.
Nick Castellanos: Blasted a home run over the visiting bullpen to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Miguel Cabrera: Did what Miggy does best. He walked in the third then destroyed a baseball in the fifth for a two-run home run, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead at the time.
J.D. Martinez: Followed up Cabrera's shot with a blast of his own, driving in Victor Martinez who hit an infield single -- no, really, he did -- for a two-run homer.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Verlander's no-hit bid was his seventh of at least six innings over the last five seasons, two more than any other pitcher in baseball.
- Ian Kinsler blasted a triple to center field in the first inning. It marked his seventh triple of the season, second-most on the team only to Rajai Davis, who has eight.
- Kinsler's triple also gave him an eight-game hitting streak.
- Nick Castellanos' home run in the second was his 15th of the season. The ball traveled an estimated 423 per Statcast. It also marked the first-career hit off Hector Santiago as Castellanos had been 0-for-7 with three strikeouts to that point.
- Victor Martinez is 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Not the kind of streak want to have going on.
- J.D. Martinez hit a ground-rule double to start the fourth, giving him a six-game hitting streak.
- Jose Iglesias was intentionally walked for the second time in his MLB career. His last -- and first -- IBB was on May 31, also against the Angels.
- Rajai Davis stole his 18th base of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning.
- Miguel Cabrera blasted his 17th home run of the season to left in the fifth inning. The knock gave him an 11-game hitting streak and with his walk in the third has reached base safely in all 12 games since returning from the DL.
- Miguel Cabrera's 407th career home run, tied him with Duke Snider for 51st on the all-time MLB home run record.
- J.D. Martinez smoked his 34th home run just fair of the left foul pole in the fifth, a two-run shot. His 34 home runs at the time put him in a four-way tie with Chris Davis, Josh Donaldson, and Albert Pujols for the second-most in the AL. (Davis has since hit his 35th.) Only Nelson Cruz has more, with 39.
Tigers with 34+ HR seasons since they moved to Comerica Park: 1. Miguel Cabrera, 4. 2, J.D. Martinez, 1. No one else.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) August 27, 2015
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: