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Tigers 3, Phillies 1: Justin Verlander's masterful start hands Detroit 3rd straight series

K-Rod got a shaky 400th career save for the Tigers.

Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers offense wasn't doing much of anything against Philadelphia Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson and the team needed Justin Verlander to pitch like an ace. Eight scoreless innings of work gave Detroit just that, and backed by key hits from Miguel Cabrera, Cameron Maybin, and Victor Martinez, the Tigers took the series and won 3-1 over the Phillies.

Verlander was fantastic. All of his pitches were sharp and effortless. His curveball had quite the drop to it, and he had the Phillies looking silly. He gave up just three hits in all, one of which was a double. Four of his eight innings pitched he struck out two of the three batters. With how the offense was performing on Tuesday night, he needed to give the team an ace-like performance.

In contrast with the last several games, only Cameron Maybin had a multi-hit game. Miguel Cabrera struck out for the first time in 42 plate appearances, yet he still drove in two RBI on a double in the first and a run-scoring groundout in the sixth. Victor Martinez's only hit came on an RBI single in the same frame.

The Tigers' offense was vastly silent against Hellickson, but they found just enough holes where it mattered. Hellickson, for his part, struck out seven Tigers and went seven deep. He'd gotten Cabrera to strike out swinging with a thumbs up in acknowledgement of an 81 mph changeup that also had the slugger slamming his helmet in frustration after the out.

ROARS:

Justin Verlander: Went eight scoreless innings, striking out 10 batters with only two walks.

Miguel Cabrera: Two RBI with a near-homer double to the left field gap.

Cameron Maybin: Had another two-hit day, scoring two of the three runs driven in by the Tigers.

HISSES:

Tigers offense: Were unusually quiet compared to their recent hot streak. Partial credit to Hellickson for pitching well, too, though.

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • Verlander struck out his 10th batter to end the eighth inning. It was the third time he's struck out 10-or-more in a start and the 32nd 10+ strikeout game of his career.
  • Verlander's 10-strikeout game was the second consecutive start in which he did so. It's just the fifth time in his career that he's pitched back-to-back games with 10+ strikeouts. His last occurred on Sept. 23-29, 2013.
  • This was the fourth straight start in which Verlander went at least seven innings deep in a game, and the second time he pitched at least eight frames.
  • Francisco Rodriguez recorded the 400th save of his career, despite giving up a run on two hits in the ninth. He's just the sixth pitcher in MLB history to reach that mark, joining Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478), John Franco (424) and Billy Wagner (422).
  • The Tigers are over the .500 mark for the first time since Thursday, May 5.
  • The Tigers are 8-2 in their last 10 games, and 7-1 during this homestand.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs