It was an emotional day for all Detroit Tigers fans as they watched their former face of the organization in Justin Verlander square off for the first time in his career against the team that drafted him. Having dropped the first two games of the series against the Houston Astros, the Tigers needed a spark out of their offense to salvage one game, but it seemed unlikely going up against arguably the best pitcher in the American League.
With the odds stacked against them, the offense pounded four home runs off Verlander to win 6-3 because baseball is a weird and beautiful sport.
The game started exactly how we all thought it was going to go with Verlander striking out the side while pumping 98 MPH cheese to all quadrants of the plate. However, the nerves must’ve caught up to him in the second inning as he gave up a lead off single to Jim Adduci and then a mammoth home run to his fellow Goochland, VA native in John Hicks. The Tigers tacked on another run in the second and somehow held a 3-0 lead.
Francisco Liriano was effectively wild for three innings, allowing only one run, but threw more balls than strikes and had to exit the game before the fourth inning with lower back discomfort.
After the second inning, Verlander started to find his groove, striking out ten batters through four innings. In the fifth, though, the slumping Jeimer Candelario slammed a first pitch fastball from Verlander over the right field fence to put the Tigers up 4-2. In the sixth, the home run derby continued with Niko Goodrum sending one way out to right field and Adduci hitting his first homer of the year with a solo shot to the Crawford Box in left field. While Verlander finished six innings with 12 strike outs, the Tigers made their contact against him count.
After Liriano exited, Drew Ver Hagen was pressed into duty and threw three innings and allowed only one run. Alex Wilson followed with a clean inning, and then All Star Joe Jimenez pitched a one-two-three eighth. Although it wasn’t a save situation, Shane Greene came on in the ninth to get some work in before the layoff. Despite giving up a run, he was able to shut the game down send the Tigers into the All-Star break with a win.
We still love you, Justin, but it was pretty hilarious watching a lineup held together by gum and paper clips smash four homers off of you...
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
This poll is closed
John Hicks (1-4, HR, 2 RBI)
Niko Goodrum (1-4, HR, RBI)
Jim Adduci (2-4, HR, RBI)
Jeimer Candelario (1-2, HR, 2 RBI)