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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:03 am

Verlander still not right as Tigers fall to Royals
Tigers' ace allows five earned runs in his first loss to KC since 2009

By Jason Beck / | 7/21/2013 12:55 AM ET


KANSAS CITY -- The search for Justin Verlander goes on. Of all his favorite haunts, this seemed like the logical place to find him.

He owned Kauffman Stadium for years until last summer. When he tossed seven scoreless innings here last month, it looked like he was moving in again. But as he walked off the mound on Saturday night with two outs in the sixth inning, removed with two runners on and Billy Butler due up, Verlander looked like any other pitcher.

"We're fully aware that we we're 2-15 [now 3-15] against Verlander," Royals manager Ned Yost said, "so our focus today was to go out and give him a tough game, and that's exactly what we did."

And as the Tigers stared at the damage on the scoreboard, from a blown lead early to a tie game surrendered in the fifth en route to a 6-5 loss, the debate over whether Verlander was back in form was reset once again. The Royals defeated Verlander for the first time since Sept. 9, 2009.

"This game, there was a couple opportunities, a couple times where I was starting to find it," Verlander said. "And it just didn't click. It just kind of went right back to not being able to execute."

Just why that is has gone right back to the forefront of the discussion. Detroit had other reasons for its fifth loss in its last six meetings with Kansas City, from 11 runners left on base to Aaron Crow retiring Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera to strand the potential tying run on third base in the eighth. All that is secondary to getting the ace right on the mound.

"This is just me -- I don't know what Justin will say -- but it looks to me like he's pitching a little careful," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's just not being aggressive with his stuff and pitching a little bit too careful. That's just my observation."

Leyland conditioned his answer as his own opinion as much as he could, turning a simple theory into a thesis.

"I don't know if it's accurate," Leyland said. "That's just what I see. That's just kind of what I sense."

Verlander's answer consisted of one word.

"No," the right-hander said, leaving the answer hanging in the silence of the visiting clubhouse.

Asked why Leyland might think his ace is pitching carefully, Verlander said, "That's a question for him."

Asked what might lead to Verlander pitching carefully, Leyland responded, "Can't answer that. You'll have to ask him."

Asked what he thinks, catcher Alex Avila spoke carefully.

"Well, he's attacking guys," Avila said. "I think he just doesn't have his release point. At times, he knows where he wants to throw it, but it's just not going there at times. It's just a matter of finding it."

In other words, it's back to the video room, looking for telltale signs of different mechanics, and back to the bullpen sessions, where Verlander has put in plenty of work already.

One point of agreement, at least on this night, was that it wasn't just fastball command, the root problem that has been on and off for Verlander for much of the year.

"He just wasn't real sharp with anything," Leyland said.

Verlander did not throw a side session during All-Star festivities, instead resting his arm before throwing off a mound on Thursday in Detroit. Verlander felt like his body was telling him to take a break, from his arm to his sore quadriceps that bothered him on Sunday.

When Verlander took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning last Sunday against Texas, he looked like he had found a new form, combining strategic power with a savvy on how to mix his pitches as a 30-year-old. He looked rejuvenated, invigorated and more aware than ever of how hitters would approach him.

"I felt like going into the All-Star break, I had three or four [outings] that were much better," Verlander said, "and then today wasn't where I need to be, so hopefully just that time off threw me out of sync."

Verlander did have some excellent outings. He also had some terrible ones. That pretty well sums up his last six weeks.

He ended Saturday's first inning holding a 2-1 lead after a Salvador Perez sacrifice fly, but needed 21 pitches to do it. After an eight-pitch second inning and two quick outs in the third, an Eric Hosmer single, four-pitch walk to Butler and two-run double from Perez stretched his inning to 23 pitches, ending when Perez tried to stretch a triple on Hunter.

Verlander loaded the bases twice in a 32-pitch fourth inning -- the first on three consecutive line-drive singles, the second with two outs. Back-to-back walks not only loaded the bases, they brought around Mike Moustakas to score for a 5-3 lead.

Avila's two-run single seemingly gave Verlander a new game, as he did his two quick outs in the bottom half. Again, Verlander fell behind on a 2-0 count to Moustakas before leaving a fastball over the plate for a go-ahead solo homer.

With six runs, five earned, on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings, he allowed five runs for the third time in his last eight starts. In that same stretch, Verlander has three outings of seven or more scoreless innings.

"See-saw," Verlander described it. "When it hasn't been there, I haven't been able to find it. And when it has, it's been good. It's what I've talked about all year, just finding that consistency."

On this Leyland agreed.

"I would say over the course of the season up to this point, and there is a lot of season left obviously, his performances haven't been quite as consistent as in the past," Leyland said. "I think that's a fair assessment.

"That doesn't mean they haven't been OK. They haven't been quite what you expect of him, which is a little bit unfair too at times because you expect so much. It doesn't mean he's pitched bad in any way. It means he really hasn't been on that consistent roll that we know he can get on."

Dominant or not, they have to find that consistent Justin Verlander.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:51 pm

Bullpen follows through behind stellar Fister in finale
Homers from Cabrera, Dirks help deliver first post-All Star break win

By Jason Beck / | 7/21/2013 7:38 PM ET


KANSAS CITY -- Tigers starters have outpitched James Shields three times this season. Sunday was the first time they came away with a win out of it.

They can thank their bullpen for that, which is something they haven't been able to say enough this year.

"I think we're good. We're not as bad as people put us," said closer Joaquin Benoit, whose ninth save in as many chances rewarded Doug Fister for six innings of one-run ball and salvaged a win out of this three-game series against the Royals with a 4-1 win.

Considering how the bullpen was described the last two times the Tigers faced Shields, that's progress. As Tigers scouts continued to look at potential reinforcements on the trade market, the progress they're seeing from the relievers they have is something they need, no matter what they do over the next week and a half before the Trade Deadline.

"That's what we've got, and we're going to roll with it," manager Jim Leyland said.

No reliever in that bullpen has made as much progress recently as Bruce Rondon. When seven innings of one-run ball from Justin Verlander gave the Tigers a one-run lead over Shields on April 25 at Comerica Park, the Royals took advantage of three eighth-inning hits off Rondon to tie it before pummeling Phil Coke for four runs in the 10th.

Verlander outpitched Shields again at Kauffman Stadium on June 12, that time with seven scoreless innings. That became better known as Jose Valverde's final save opportunity, which he blew with a two-run homer from Lorenzo Cain with two outs in the ninth.

There was no such late-inning drama on Sunday. Not much went right for the Tigers in this series, but the bullpen did.

When Jhonny Peralta's barehand grab and throw retired Alcides Escobar for the final out of the sixth, stranding runners at the corners to preserve a 2-1 lead, it allowed Leyland to line up Drew Smyly -- normally his eighth-inning setup man -- for three left-handed hitters in the seventh.

Smyly used up 26 pitches, but retired the side in order, leaving three consecutive right-handed hitters for Rondon in the eighth. Rondon retired Billy Butler on a groundout, induced a Salvador Perez lineout, then hit 102 mph to fan Cain.

It took a high hop off the first-base bag for the Royals to get a baserunner, putting Mike Moustakas on to lead off the ninth. Benoit promptly erased him with a Miguel Tejada double play, retired Escobar, then quietly celebrated.

No drama, no doubt, no complaints.

"We have a great bullpen," said Fister (8-5), who used an effective breaking ball and an emphasis on pounding the lower part of the strike zone to induce 10 groundouts. "We've got some young guys out there but they're coming right along and learning and knowing exactly what they need to do. That says a lot."

Rondon's perfect outing was his third in a row. He has retired 11 consecutive batters over that stretch, striking out four. Leyland says he wants to progress slowly with him, working him into more close situations in the late innings without much fanfare.

"I don't want a lot of focus on Rondon right now," Leyland said.

A large part of the learning process with Rondon comes from Benoit, who has given advice on hitters' tendencies to the 22-year-old fastballer.

"He's coming together," Benoit said. "He's throwing the ball good. Smyly's been good the whole season. So if they keep doing what they're doing, we're going to be fine, as long as I'm consistent, too."

Benoit's consistency has been the stabilizing force the Tigers lacked with Valverde. After insisting repeatedly that the ninth inning is no different from the eighth, he has demonstrated it by posting eight consecutive scoreless innings over his last nine appearances, all in the ninth inning or later.

Sunday's save improved him to 9-for-9 in save chances this year, five of them since taking on the closer's role full-time in late June. What was thought to be an emergency stopgap situation when Leyland promoted Benoit at the time has become an unexpected strength.

It doesn't mean the Tigers won't add relievers before July 31. It might change the kind of relievers they add, and the holes they're expected to fill.

Even the bullpen depth, though, looked better in Kansas City. Add in four outs from Al Alburquerque on Saturday with an encouraging outing from Phil Coke Friday night, and the Tigers bullpen tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings for the series on three hits with eight strikeouts.

Between the bullpen dominance and Fister's groundball work, no Tigers outfielder recorded a putout on Sunday. Tejada's second-inning homer was the only extra-base hit. Four groundball singles and a Perez blooper comprised the rest of the damage.

"Fister was really good today," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He had tremendous movement on his two-seamer, was boring it in on lefties then running back, boring it down and away to lefties and he just had good run on it. He had a tremendous curveball. It's a slow curveball, but it's got a lot of bite."

With the exception of two key hits, Shields' outing wasn't vastly different. The former Tampa Bay ace looked dominant early, striking out Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter to start the game, until Miguel Cabrera turned on an inside pitch and lined it over the left-field fence, just inside the pole.

Cabrera's 31st home run of the year was his second off Shields. He came within a few feet of another in the fourth inning before speedy center fielder Jarrod Dyson made a highlight catch crashing into the fence, the third such play against the Tigers this series.

The catch preserved a 1-1 game for another inning until Dirks sent a Shields pitch just out of Dyson's reach in the fifth, putting Detroit in front for good. Brayan Pena's sac flies in the seventh and ninth padded the lead.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:26 am

Scherzer improves to 14-1; Miggy hurting
Righty allows two runs over eight; slugger has sore left hip flexor

By Joey Nowak / | 7/23/2013 12:17 AM ET


CHICAGO -- As the Tigers saw durability from their All-Star starting pitcher Monday night, they're hoping the same trait will bring their All-Star third baseman back without much delay.

Max Scherzer shined in his first outing since starting the All-Star Game, but the Tigers' 7-3 win against the White Sox was clouded in part by the early departure of reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera, who continues to experience a nagging left hip flexor.

It was only after the first hit that Scherzer allowed -- a fifth-inning Adam Dunn ground ball that got past Cabrera at third base -- that Cabrera came out of the game. The reigning MVP has been bothered by the issue that evidently hasn't had time to properly heal.

"He has some issues with that once in a while, and sometimes they can stretch him out and get him right back in there," manager Jim Leyland said.

But the skipper wouldn't commit to whether Cabrera would be available in the second game of the series on Tuesday.

"He had to come out of the game," Leyland said, "So that's usually not a good sign."

The slugger was intentionally walked as part of Detroit's two-run fifth inning, and scored gingerly on Victor Martinez's two-run single. He was seen speaking to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand in the dugout before returning to his position at third, where he looked uncomfortable for two at-bats before leaving the game. Cabrera, an eight-time All-Star, has played at least 150 games in each of his full seasons since he broke into the league in 2003.

"I felt something and I didn't want to keep hurting myself," Cabrera said. "I decided to come out, get treatment and try to be ready for tomorrow."

On any other night, Scherzer would have stood out as the most dominant storyline. He certainly dominated the White Sox most of the evening, as Detroit's division rivals mustered just two runs against him in eight innings. Both runs came on solo homers -- Dayan Viciedo in the sixth and Conor Gillaspie in the eighth.

Scherzer took a perfect game into the fifth before Dunn broke it up with the opposite-field single. White Sox starter Chris Sale, who followed Scherzer in the All-Star Game, struck out 11 Tigers over eight innings.

"When you face a great pitcher like Sale, the one common denominator is you've got to pitch really well against him or you're probably going to get beat," Leyland said. "And that's what Scherzer did for us."

Sale, too, knew he had little margin for error.

"You've got to be a little bit more focused with a team like this, with the talent they have over there and pitching against Scherzer," Sale said. "So you've got to have your A game, and it wasn't me."

Scherzer, now 14-1, leads the American League with a 2.21 road ERA and his 157 strikeouts trail only Yu Darvish (161) for the most in the AL. His five strikeouts Monday were his fewest in a start this year, but Scherzer needed just 105 pitches to work through eight frames.

"I attacked with first-pitch strikes all night. I was working ahead in the count, had four pitches going," Scherzer said. "I felt like that made me effective and allowed me to have some quick innings. I kept my pitch count down for the first part and that allowed me to stay in the game. No walks -- that's always a recipe for success."

Torii Hunter singled and scored to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third, then homered in the seventh to extend the lead to 4-1. Detroit tacked on three more in the ninth thanks to some shoddy Chicago defense, before Bruce Rondon allowed the bullpen's first run of the second half with a ninth-inning balk.

Martinez went 4-for-5 with four singles and three RBIs. After his first four-hit game of the season, he owns the most hits in the AL during the month and is hitting .425 (31-for-73) in 18 July games.

"Victor is hot," Hunter said. "He's the hottest thing on the planet right now. And we like that."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:18 am

Tigers pick up slack in Miggy's absence
Peralta, Perez each plate two; Porcello dominates for seven innings

By Joey Nowak / | 7/24/2013 12:35 AM ET


CHICAGO -- By virtue of an unorthodox schedule, the Tigers and White Sox didn't meet this season until just before the All-Star break. That means they've got 14 meetings remaining.

So, it seems, lucky for the Tigers.

The White Sox, who actually took two of three in their first series in Detroit before the break, have made a habit this week of making life easy on the Tigers. The latest episode was a ho-hum 6-2 Tigers win on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox made a season-high four errors.

These teams have had plenty of contentious battles in the American League Central over the last decade. But with the Tigers seemingly fighting only the Indians in the division this season, the White Sox can still have a say in who wins the Central crown. Lately, they've been doing the Tigers a favor.

"Each year that I've been here and played them, they've been very, very tough defensively," Tigers starter Rick Porcello said. "They've been really, really good. They're a solid ballclub. Today was just one of those nights for them, I think."

Certainly Porcello was the primary beneficiary of the offense the Tigers generated thanks to Chicago's haphazard play, but he was excellent on the mound in his own right. The right-hander admitted to needing an inning or two -- he threw 25 pitches in the first -- to get his bearings in his first start out of the All-Star break, but he settled in just fine after that.

He loaded the bases in the first, but stranded the three runners, and from there needed eight pitches or fewer to complete three of the next four innings. Porcello finished with 93 pitches over his seven innings, striking out only one and also setting a season high with three walks (two in the first inning).

"That first inning was pretty shaky," Porcello said. "I think just not being on the mound in a game situation for a while was causing me to kind of be off rhythm. It felt a little foreign, but I battled through it and the guys made some outstanding plays behind me that really helped me out."

Without Miguel Cabrera in the lineup -- nursing a sore left hip flexor that could keep him out of one of the final two games of the series, or both -- the Tigers scored their six runs on just five hits, thanks to five Hector Santiago walks and the four errors. Chicago has made seven errors in two games already this series, and eight of the Tigers' 13 runs have been unearned.

"You just can't play like that and expect to be in the game," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You give them that many opportunities and you're going to pay for it."

Without Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta stayed hot to pace the offense. Martinez, now hitting .415 this month, had a double and scored a run, while Peralta went 2-for-4 with a homer to left that measured 382 feet.

Chicago committed two errors in the fourth -- Matt Tuiasosopo reached on Conor Gillaspie's miscue at third base and scored on a Peralta single -- as two walks and a sacrifice fly also helped bring in runs.

Then Peralta homered with one out in the sixth to make it 4-0, and Alex Avila followed with a walk. Up came rookie callup Hernan Perez -- filling in for the injured Omar Infante, and seeing the bulk of the innings against Chicago's lefties -- who drilled a Santiago fastball into left-center field. Dayan Viciedo mishandled it badly as Perez hustled around the bases and scored. Perez was credited with a triple and Viciedo was charged with Chicago's fourth error.

"I saw the outfielder grabbing the ball, then [third-base coach Tom Brookens] sent me and I said, 'Oh, I have to make it'" Perez said.

In the ninth, the White Sox converted two Al Alburquerque walks with Paul Konerko's two-run double off Joaquin Benoit to prevent a shutout.

"He had a tremendous inning and we tried to get one more because he had a pretty easy inning," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Alburquerque. "But he just had a tough time getting it over in that last inning, so we felt like we had to go to Benoit, particularly in a ballpark like this."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:58 am

Tigers pounce on White Sox early with big sticks
Fielder, Jackson and Hunter go deep; Sanchez tosses six scoreless

By Joey Nowak / | 7/25/2013 12:12 AM ET


CHICAGO -- If you'd only look at the results, you'd hardly be able to tell the Tigers have played the last two nights without what their manager calls the best hitter on the planet.

Indeed, Detroit has been without Miguel Cabrera since he aggravated a nagging left hip flexor midway through Monday night's game against the White Sox.

No offense to the reigning Triple Crown winner and American League MVP, but the club hasn't missed him much.

For the third night in a row, the Tigers hammered the lowly White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, this time by a comfortable 6-2 margin. Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter each homered off Chicago's John Danks to provide Anibal Sanchez all the run support he needed.

"We have to give it all," Sanchez said. "With Miggy out, I know the situation that he's got and we need to play. We need him in the end, and he's a big piece of the lineup, but we need to play hard without him."

Detroit has had no trouble this week against its division rival, which has committed eight errors in three Tigers wins. The Tigers have won 13 of their last 19, and 10 of their last 13 on the road. Against the White Sox, they've won 13 of 17.

"All the guys are chipping in a little bit," manager Jim Leyland said. "We had a pretty good game."

Chicago's best chance against Sanchez came in the fifth, when catcher Josh Phegley singled with one out and Alejandro De Aza followed with a double to the right-field corner. But Alexei Ramirez grounded out to second and Alex Rios flied out to center to end the threat.

Sanchez otherwise had very little trouble, striking out five and walking just one. In his first career start at U.S. Cellular Field, he lowered his career ERA against the AL Central (16 starts) to 2.08 and his ERA this year to 2.68.

As a group, the Tigers' three starters this series (Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Sanchez) have surrendered two earned runs in 21 innings, good for a 0.86 ERA. Former MVP Justin Verlander will start Thursday's finale.

"We've got a pretty good rotation," Sanchez said. "Tomorrow, we've got the ace on the mound, we've got Verlander. All we want is to do the best job we can every day."

Danks, meanwhile, was in trouble from the get-go. In the first inning, he gave up a leadoff single to Jackson before Hunter reached on a fielder's choice and Matt Tuiasosopo -- batting in the third spot, normally reserved for Cabrera -- walked. Fielder drove the second pitch he saw from Danks 409 feet into the right-field seats for a 3-0 lead.

"The way they score without him in there, you don't like to think you'd like to have him back in there, but they'd obviously be more potent with him in there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.

Jackson -- now 12-for-29 with three homers in his career against Danks -- hit a solo shot in the second before Hunter hit a solo homer in the fifth. Alex Avila made it 6-0 with an RBI single in the sixth. It was just Avila's second hit in 40 at-bats against lefties this year.

Bruce Rondon allowed his second run in three games when he surrendered two singles and a walk in the seventh. Drew Smyly pitched a scoreless eighth, his first appearance of the series. Luke Putkonen gave up a homer to Dayan Viciedo in the ninth, before Joaquin Benoit recorded the final two outs.

"We've got to start getting through that inning without having to use [Benoit] all the time," Leyland said. "We just have to do that. Because if we don't, we're not going to have a closer before it's over with. We've got to get some more guys to get some outs. With five-, six-run leads in the ninth, we've got to have guys get some outs without using Benoit. That's just as simple as it is."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:32 pm

Verlander hit hard during loss to White Sox
Tigers ace has lost three of last four starts; Detroit blasts three HRs

By Joey Nowak / | 7/25/2013 6:42 PM ET


CHICAGO -- In the spirit of the throwback uniforms they wore Thursday afternoon, the White Sox put an old-school hurting on Justin Verlander.

Once upon a time, before he was a perennial All-Star, Cy Young Award winner and MVP, the White Sox had Justin Verlander's number. That was the case again Thursday.

Chicago tagged the Tigers' ace for seven runs on 11 hits in six innings of a 7-4 White Sox victory at U.S. Cellular Field. The Tigers still took three of the four games in the series -- two of three without Miguel Cabrera, who's still nursing a sore left hip flexor -- but missed out on the opportunity for their first four-game sweep of the White Sox since 1988 and the first in Chicago since 1980.

It's the first time the last-place White Sox have beaten Verlander in consecutive outings -- he gave up a season-high 12 hits and five runs in a July 9 loss -- since July 26-Sept. 14, 2008. Chicago went 11-3 in its first 14 games against Verlander, before the right-hander took hold of the division rivalry. Heading into Thursday, the White Sox were 2-12 in their last 14 meetings with the former MVP.

"It's testing me a lot," Verlander said of his difficulties this year. "These are things you learn from as you go through your career. Every year is not going to be easy. The last two years came easy for me. This year is coming extremely difficult for me."

Verlander has lost three of his last four starts and he's given up at least five runs in each of those losses. He has just two winning decisions since June 8, striking out only 31 in his last eight starts and never more than five in an outing during that span.

He said he's been tinkering with his mechanics alongside pitching coach Jeff Jones, and was encouraged by much of his performance. He cautioned Jones that he may be erratic for a start or two -- he walked two but needed 103 pitches Thursday -- but saw an uptick in his early velocity of 1-2 mph compared to what he'd normally throw in the early going.

"I know when it feels right, it feels right," Verlander said. "It was definitely the right move to make, especially when you've got guys like Max [Scherzer], Anibal [Sanchez], Doug [Fister] and Ricky [Porcello] throwing the ball well. It's not like the whole world's on my shoulders and I have to be great every time. What they've been able to do this year has afforded me the opportunity to work on some things."

In fairness, all four of Verlander's earned runs in the fourth could have been unearned depending on the ruling of a ball Andy Dirks missed in left field. With two men on and one out, Tyler Flowers ripped a sharp line drive at Dirks, who saw it glance off his glove. It was ruled a double, one run scored and Verlander would go on to surrender three more runs with two outs in the frame.

"It's not a tough play. It's a ball I should have caught and just missed it," Dirks said. "I took a half-step in and when I went back -- I just reached my glove up, it didn't go in. … It was a big play in the game, I didn't make it and that's just what happened."

Chicago scored twice in the first on a Paul Konerko single and a Jeff Keppinger single that Torii Hunter misplayed in right. Flowers also hit a solo homer in the sixth, extending the lead then to 7-2.

"My first at-bat he made me look like an idiot," Flowers said of Verlander. "He hit 99, painted a couple sliders and a curveball. After that first at-bat, I was thinking it might be a long day. But I was fortunate he threw me a couple pitches I could hit."

Three of Detroit's four hits against Chicago's Jake Peavy -- and all of its runs -- came on long balls from Hunter, Victor Martinez and Brayan Pena. Hunter, who left the game late with a sore left Achilles, hit three homers in the four-game series.

Hunter's batting .349 with 17 runs, four doubles, two triples, six home runs and 18 RBIs in 20 July games and said he would have no problem being back in Friday's lineup. Hunter chalked it up to a new pair of dress shoes that fit uncomfortably and gave him some trouble Thursday.

He left the clubhouse, dressed in formal attire for travel, with sneakers on.

"I'm a gamer, man," Hunter said. "I come ready to play. You know that. I'll be in there tomorrow. Don't worry about it."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:14 pm

Decisions on lefties prove right behind strong Fister
Righty allows unearned run in eight innings, stays perfect after break

By Bobby Nightengale / | 7/27/2013 12:03 AM ET


DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland had to sit injured Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter. He had a choice whether to play Ramon Santiago and Alex Avila against a left-handed starter.

It wasn't just any lefty; it was Philly's Cole Hamels. But then, it wasn't just any starter they were trying to support, either.

Doug Fister showed every sign of another second-half roll in this pitching duel, and Leyland's decisions worked in a 2-1 win against the Phillies on Friday night at Comerica Park.

"Both pitchers were very good. We just got the big hit when we needed it," Leyland said after Avila's two-run double provided the difference.

They actually got two big hits. It's their sources that were the surprise.

Leyland did not have a lineup posted a few hours before the game. He was waiting on injury updates on Cabrera's sore left hip flexor and Hunter's sore left Achilles. Cabrera was out soon enough, his hip not allowing him to do much more than take batting practice. Hunter was briefly in the lineup, then scratched soon after batting practice began.

The third change had nothing to do with health. Don Kelly was ready to go at third base, but the revised lineup the Tigers submitted replaced him with Santiago. The initial assumption was that Leyland wanted his lone healthy utility player on the bench to be able to play as many positions as possible.

The thought on Leyland's part, he admitted afterward, was different.

"I just decided I wanted to take a look at him [batting] right-handed," Leyland said. "He's struggled, but I said, 'Well, let's turn him around.' [Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon] thinks that he swings pretty good right-handed. Kelly's been playing against lefties and doing a good job, by the way, but I thought, 'Let's give Santi a shot.'"

The switch-hitting Santiago was 2-for-18 (.111) off left-handed pitching entering the day, coming off an 8-for-57 (.140) performance off southpaws last year. Kelly, a left-handed hitter, is 7-for-28 with two doubles against lefties this year.

Avila's struggles off lefties are better-known, 1-for-39 against them before an RBI single off White Sox starter John Danks on Wednesday in Chicago.

Take away Cabrera and Hunter, and the numbers from the bottom third of the order weren't going to be imposing regardless. With Santiago and Avila following rookie second baseman Hernan Perez, the bottom third entered Friday batting .183 (60-for-328) overall, and 9-for-80 against lefties -- five of those hits from Perez.

That was the trio waiting for Hamels, protecting a 1-0 lead, once he retired Jhonny Peralta to lead off the fifth inning. He fell behind Perez, brought the count back to full, then couldn't get him chase to a changeup in the dirt for a one-out walk.

"You've got to challenge him," Hamels said. "I didn't do that. That was the complete swing of the game right there."

Hamels faced Santiago in the second inning with runners at the corners and one out, and escaped with a strikeout-throwout double play, Santiago watching a full-count fastball over the plate for the third strike. Santiago wasn't going to get caught watching the same pitch to start his fifth-inning at-bat.

"With him, you have to look for the fastball early and try to put a good swing on it," Santiago said.

Santiago jumped it so aggressively he nearly pulled it foul, a far cry from the late swings that plagued him early in the year. He kept this one just inside the left-field line, doubling Perez to third.

With Avila and a struggling Austin Jackson due up, Hamels still had a path out. After firing back-to-back fastballs past Avila up and outside, the path was pretty wide. That's when Hamels made his mistake.

"He threw a changeup, hung it," Avila said. "It was up a little bit and I put a good swing on it."

Avila sent it into the gap and cleared the bases, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 game.

"I definitely made a Minor League mistake," Hamels said. "That's the whole game right there. I'd like to claim it's uncharacteristic, but sometimes you do it. You just can't do it in this sort of situation in a close game."

Hamels has had a few of those. The Phillies have scored two runs or fewer in nine of his 22 starts, and his average of 3.49 runs of support per nine innings ranked 82nd out of 91 qualifying Major League starters entering Friday.

He won't get any sympathy from Fister, 25th on that list at 5.31, but owner of four runs of support over four quality starts of seven innings or more earlier this year. He has made a mantra out of pitching every game like it's scoreless, and this one wasn't far off.

For four-plus innings, his downfall was his defense, a Perez error putting a leadoff runner on for Michael Young's third-inning RBI single. He retired 17 of his final 19 batters from there.

"I feel like every pitch was important," Fister said. "That's the way I approach everything. They have such a tremendous lineup."

With eight innings of three-hit ball, a walk and six strikeouts, Fister (9-5) improved to 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts since the All-Star break. He's 19-5 in the second half since joining the Tigers two years ago, a huge reason why the Tigers have rallied down the stretch to capture the last two American League Central titles.

It's early, but he's looking that way again. His command is better, his pitches crisper. Avila called Fister's cutter as a complement to his curveball, allowing him to pitch inside to left-handed hitters.

"Everybody knows he's a workhorse in the second half, and [tonight] proves it," said Joaquin Benoit, who stranded Jimmy Rollins on third for his 10th save in as many opportunities, four of them in one-run games.

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:53 pm

Scherzer gifted with 15th win in Miggy's return
Tigers right-hander makes history with 15-1 start in rout of Phillies

By Jason Beck / | 7/28/2013 12:50 AM ET


DETROIT -- Max Scherzer had to go to work on his 29th birthday. His surprise gift from the office was the return of Miguel Cabrera and an eight-run lead after two innings.

From that point on, Scherzer's latest addition to the Tigers record books seemed more like a cakewalk.

"That's why I love being in Detroit," Scherzer said after Saturday's 10-0 victory over the Phillies. "With this offense, if you go out and pitch well, you have a great chance to win the ballgame."

Nobody is converting chances like Scherzer this year. At this point in a season, no Tiger ever has converted chances like him.

"He's good. How can I say 15-1 ain't good? He's good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

It won't go down with Scherzer's perfect start, but Scherzer's 15-1 record is a first from a Tigers pitcher. It's the fourth time for a Major League hurler, but it's becoming almost a regular occurrence in the Majors lately. How Scherzer carries it through the rest of the way will determine whether he can separate himself once again.

From the moment Cabrera connected with a Raul Valdes fastball on his first swing back in the lineup for a line-drive solo homer to left, Scherzer was in front. The American League's All-Star starter delivered six shutout innings of one-hit ball in becoming the third Major League pitcher in four years to go 15-1, matching Jered Weaver's mark from last year and Ubaldo Jimenez's fast start for the 2010 Rockies.

Jimenez got there by the All-Star break, then fizzled down the stretch to finish 19-8, proving that even a 20-win season isn't guaranteed. Weaver slowed down the stretch, but made it to 20 wins in his next-to-last start of the season. Roger Clemens' 2001 start with the Yankees was the only other time a starter has opened with a 15-1 record. Clemens finished 20-3.

Scherzer is showing no signs of a letdown. He has insisted all along that wins and losses aren't a gauge of how he's pitching, more a reflection of the team's success behind him.

"I live start to start," he said. "That's something I've always done since I've been in the big leagues, and it's just something that works for me. You don't really get caught up in every other thing that happens and all the hoopla. For me, I always focus on the next team and develop a game plan to get those guys out."

The way he pitched on Saturday, shutting down an opponent for the first time all season, it took a lopsided score to get him out of the game, not his pitch count or Phillies hitters.

"Max has been pitching his butt off," said outfielder Torii Hunter, who also returned to the Tigers' lineup after sitting out Friday's series opener with a sore Achilles. "We got run support for him. It was his birthday, so that's our way of saying happy birthday. ...

"Usually he's facing a guy that's almost at the same caliber as he is, so for us to get some runs for him early, he was good to cruise and he did a great job."

Considering Scherzer already led the Majors in run support at 7.32 runs behind him per nine innings, it wasn't a new feeling. Still, that big of a lead that early left even him challenged to maintain his focus.

"You are more relaxed," Scherzer admitted, "but you can't let that breed complacency. Those hitters will get you in a heartbeat, so you have to be on the attack and pitch your normal game. You can't get deterred of what the score of the game is. You always have to be on the attack and pitch the right offspeed pitches. I thought I was able to do that tonight, that's why I pitched so effectively."

Darin Ruf's second-inning double, a two-out drive that seemingly hooked on its way to right-center field and carried out of Austin Jackson's reach as he tried to curve back, comprised the only baserunner Scherzer allowed. He had retired Philadelphia's first five hitters on line drives and fly balls.

From Ruf's double on, he retired the final 13 batters he faced, seven via strikeout.

Scherzer has delivered 12 quality starts in his last 13 outings, including five outings giving up one run or fewer. His earned-run average dropped to 3.01, his lowest since April 17.

His five strikeouts, meanwhile, stretched his streak with at least that many to 21 starts to begin the season, third-longest in American League history. Bob Feller holds the record with 32 starts in a row with five or more strikeouts in 1946, followed by Pedro Martinez's 29-start streak in 2000.

Whatever chances Valdes, making a spot start in place of injured Cliff Lee, had of holding down Detroit's lineup looked shakier with Cabrera and Hunter back from abdominal and Achilles strains, respectively. Cabrera's 32nd homer of the year set off a five-run opening inning that included a three-run homer from Matt Tuiasosopo into the center-field shrubs.

Cabrera, who missed four consecutive games, singled in another run in a three-run second, then drove in Hunter with a fourth-inning groundout to put the Tigers up 9-0. That was enough for manager Jim Leyland to lift him as a precaution rather than risk re-injury.

"I normally don't take my guys out with big leads," Leyland said. "I usually take them out with big deficits. ... In this case, when we have someone that's coming off an injury, it makes a lot of sense."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:56 pm

Sweep Sweep Sweep 

Tigers sweep slumping Phils behind eventful sixth
Detroit has only two hits in eight-run inning to take commanding lead

By Bobby Nightengale / | 7/28/2013 6:54 PM ET


DETROIT -- The Tigers saw plenty of drama, comedy and theatrics in their latest act, a 12-4 win against the Phillies on Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park that completed a three-game sweep.

Detroit scored eight runs on two hits in an unusual sixth inning, punctuated by Jhonny Peralta's grand slam to left field -- his 10th home run of the season and the fourth grand slam of his career. The Phillies committed three errors in the inning and walked three batters as the Tigers broke a 3-3 tie and took a commanding lead.

"At that point, late in the game, you try to get one or two [hits] to get the lead, and that's what we did," Alex Avila said. "They ended up just giving us extra outs and we were able to capitalize."

Philadelphia had a 1-0 lead before the carnival began when Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the third. He disagreed with the first two called strikes and was ejected with a 0-2 count by home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild for arguing. Tigers manager Jim Leyland was subsequently ejected.

"I was surprised because [on the first pitch] I saw the catcher [move his glove back toward the plate] and [Fairchild] said, 'It was right over the middle.' I said, 'OK,'" Cabrera said. "I saw the next pitch like up and away, and I said, 'That's horrible,' and he said, 'You called more horrible,' and he threw me out."

Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone struck out Cabrera's replacement, Matt Tuiasosopo, on a called third strike and induced an inning-ending popout to escape the jam.

But the first three hitters reached base via a walk, fielder's choice throwing error and a bunt single in the sixth inning. After an out, a dropped fly ball, a walk, another fielder's choice throwing error and another walk paved the way for Peralta's blast.

"I don't know. That was embarrassing," Phillies' shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "I've seen a lot, but I haven't seen that."

Like Rollins, Tuiasosopo hasn't seen an inning like that in the Major Leagues either.

"I've seen a lot of bad innings in my career. You see a lot of innings like that in the Minor Leagues, but not here in the big leagues," Tuiasosopo said. "I'm just glad that we kept on putting on them. We kept our focus, kept playing hard, kept making the pitchers throw strikes, which they weren't doing. I was glad we didn't give at-bats away."

Rick Porcello (8-6) won his fourth consecutive start, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings while striking out three. Porcello went 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in July, striking out 16 in 26 innings.

"I think I'm starting to recognize when I don't have my best stuff a little bit better right now than I have in the past, and I'm slowing down some situations," Porcello said. "I think today was a pretty good example of that. Really, to be honest with you, I made some dumb pitches and I was able to regain my composure, which maybe in the past I wouldn't have been able to do."

The Tigers have won seven of their last eight games, including the four that Cabrera missed with a left abdominal injury and Sunday's ejection.

"There's some guys like [Ramon] Santiago and Donnie Kelly and Tuiasosopo, they've gotten an opportunity to play and they've stepped up for us," Leyland said. "That's about five out of six or seven games we basically won without Cabrera. That's pretty good."

While the Tigers were fortunate to catch the Phillies in the midst of a slump and abundance of injuries, they'll have to change gears for Tuesday's game against the Nationals, who are also on a three-game winning streak.

"They had a tough day defensively and they had a tough day throwing strikes," Leyland said of the Phillies. "We took advantage of it. We're going to see [Nationals starters Stephen] Strasburg and [Gio] Gonzalez coming up, they'll throw strikes."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:23 pm

Avila's slam off Strasburg sends Anibal, Tigers to win
Catcher takes Nats righty deep in sixth; Sanchez strong over seven

By Bobby Nightengale / | 7/30/2013 11:44 PM ET


DETROIT -- Alex Avila hadn't homered since July 3, and he hadn't homered at home since April 30. Stephen Strasburg hadn't allowed a home run with more than one runner on in his career. However, none of it mattered in the sixth inning, when Avila drilled his first career grand slam to the right-field seats to lead the Tigers to a 5-1 win on Tuesday night at Comerica Park in front of a sold-out crowd of 41,880.

Before the sixth, the Tigers only mustered three hits against Strasburg before Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez hit a one-out single and double, respectively. Next, Jhonny Peralta drew a walk to load the bases. After a strikeout, Avila came to the plate and cleared the bases with his blast to right field.

"When you face a guy like Strasburg, you may get one pitch all game to maybe do something with," Avila said. "When you get it, sometimes you hit it, sometimes you foul it off and you're battling. I just happened to stay through it."

Avila, who has struggled at the plate this season, is hitting .250 with a .705 OPS since returning from the disabled list earlier this month.

"I've gotten some big RBIs since coming off the DL," Avila said. "At this point in the year, I really don't care what I'm hitting or anything like that. It's just being able to contribute to wins. That's really all I care about."

Bryce Harper hit a triple off the right-field wall on the fourth pitch of the game before scoring on a single up the middle by Ryan Zimmerman to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

"I felt good today but I need to keep working on my command," Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez said. "Like I said before, my first-pitch strikes aren't there yet and I need that."

It was the only run Sanchez allowed on five hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out one in his third consecutive start going at least six innings and not giving up more than one run.

"He's just that good to where sometimes he's a little wild and gets away with it," Avila said. "You can't ask for much more than what he did today."

Sanchez has made 21 career starts against the Nationals and hasn't allowed more than two runs in 19 of them.

"He is a good pitcher," Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said. "He is overlooked because he in a rotation with [Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander]."

Strasburg only allowed one hit -- a single to Miguel Cabrera -- until the fourth inning. In that frame, Fielder drew a one-out walk and moved up to second on a single by Peralta. With two outs, Andy Dirks hit a ball that landed on the left-field line and was grabbed by a fan in foul territory for a ground-rule double which tied the game at 1.

Ultimately it was Avila's blast that spoiled the pitchers' duel and gave the Tigers their eighth win in nine games.

"I try to keep the score right there even after I allowed the run in the first inning, I needed to keep the score there," Sanchez said. "I know that I can always say that when I'm waiting for the team to give me run support, like today."

Newly acquired Jose Veras replaced Sanchez in the eighth and tossed a scoreless inning in his first appearance since being traded to the Tigers on Monday. Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.

"Veras has got good stuff," Avila said. "There's a reason why he's had success this year. He's a veteran guy that knows how to pitch."

While Veras said he wasn't concerned about pitching or not on the first day with his new team, he did try to shake some nerves.

"Yeah for any pitcher, any professional player, and it's the first time you want to get the job done," Veras said. "It's not to impress anybody, it's just to continue do good things for a team like this."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:01 pm

Sweep Sweep 

Hunter's monster day backs Verlander's strong effort
Right fielder triple shy of cycle; Avila goes deep, Santiago drives in two

By Bobby Nightengale / | 7/31/2013 6:07 PM ET


DETROIT -- Justin Verlander wasn't his sharpest and Miguel Cabrera wasn't even in the lineup. Still, it was no problem for the Tigers, who used 15 hits, including four from Torii Hunter, to power their way to an 11-1 win against the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park.

The Tigers improved to season-best 16 games over .500 (61-45) after winning nine of their last 10, including all five thus far on their current eight-game homestand.

"Now that this is over, people look at this like this is a casual couple of days, and it's not like that," manager Jim Leyland said. "We beat [Nationals starters Stephen] Strasburg and [Gio] Gonzalez. We've done something. They're both really good. I'm proud of the guys."

The first three Nationals batters reached base in the first inning -- on two walks and a single -- as Verlander struggled with his command. After a visit from Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones, Verlander allowed a sacrifice fly to Jayson Werth to give Washington a 1-0 lead, but he escaped the inning without further damage.

Jones talked to Verlander about the way he was swinging his leg, and told him it was keeping him a little off-balance.

"I don't think there's been any pitcher in baseball, probably, that's worked as hard as I have this season to try to get things right," Verlander said. "When you're doing that, you're tinkering a lot and messing with stuff, so that might throw you off here and there. But I know in my gut that I've given 115 percent. I've given everything I possibly have to try to get things on the right path, and slowly but surely working in the right direction."

Verlander mostly cruised the rest of the way, allowing one run on four hits in six innings. He tied a season-high with five walks, but he also struck out six, which was his highest total in nine starts.

"Even though I was erratic, I was able to grind and battle, and it makes it a lot easier when your boys put up 11 runs for you," Verlander said.

It's been an up-and-down season for the Tigers ace, who has allowed five or more earned runs in three of his past five starts. In the other two starts, including Wednesday, he hasn't allowed more than one.

"He walked a few guys today, but the thing is, I guess when it came down to it, he made enough pitches, quality pitches," catcher Alex Avila said. "And probably his best pitch today was his curveball. He was able to throw that for strikes and out of the zone when he wanted to, and I think that was the difference today."

In the second inning, the Tigers got a two-run double from Ramon Santiago before he scored one batter later on a two-run opposite-field home run by Avila, his eighth homer of the season. Later in the inning, Hunter hit his 11th home run of the year, a solo shot to left, to give Detroit a 5-1 lead.

Detroit had another five-run inning in the fourth on five RBI singles -- by Hunter, Matt Tuiasosopo, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Hernan Perez -- to knock Gonzalez out of the game and lift the Tigers to a commanding 10-1 lead.

Hunter also hit a ground-rule double in the first, and fell a triple short of the cycle. Hunter came a single shy of the cycle on July 6 at Cleveland.

After grounding out in the fifth, Hunter came to the plate in the seventh with runners on first and second. He drilled a fastball to the right-field wall, but Avila was held up at third base by coach Tom Brookens. Hunter was thrown out when he strayed too far off second, ending up with a RBI double.

Hunter said Brookens didn't know he had an opportunity for the cycle until he told him in the dugout after the inning.

"Had I realized, I probably would've sent Alex," Brookens said, "knowing he would probably be out, but given him the chance."

While Hunter may have fallen short of his first career cycle, he has been one of the best hitters in baseball the past month. In July, Hunter had a .374 batting average and 1.074 OPS to go along with 21 runs and 22 RBIs, placing him among the Major League leaders in the latter two categories.

"[Brookens] had no idea, no big deal," Hunter said. "That's an individual thing, you're not looking for that. We're just looking to score runs and win."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:21 am

Fister keeps dealing as Tigers take opener
Right-hander works quickly, efficiently to pick up fourth straight win

By Bobby Nightengale / | 8/2/2013 11:33 PM ET


DETROIT -- Doug Fister gave fair warning to his teammates before he took the mound.

"Walking in from the bullpen talking to [catcher Brayan] Pena, I said, 'Hey, we're going to get a lot of ground balls today,'" he said.

Little more than two hours later, they were done. The White Sox, having watched Fister work eight innings in just 88 pitches en route to a 2-1 Tigers win, had barely gotten started.

"The umpire, he said, 'Hey, does he know that we're not in Spring Training? He knows that we're on TV? He needs to give me a break,'" Pena said, referring to home-plate umpire Paul Emmel. "That's how fast he was, but his rhythm today was unbelievable."

Tigers players who have been around Fister for a while can believe it.

"That's the thing about Fister," second baseman Ramon Santiago said. "He doesn't let you fall asleep."

The way Fister and the Tigers have been going lately, it was another day at the office. Their sixth win in a row was their fifth holding their opponent to one run or less. In that stretch, their starters have held opponents to six earned runs on 27 hits over 45 innings.

They've won 10 of their last 11 and held the other team to two runs or less in nine of them. And yet, none of those games were quite like this one.

Manager Jim Leyland said recently that Fister was a good pitcher to use on a fireworks night, because he could pitch quickly. On Friday, he pitched with such efficiency that the sun had barely set by the time Joaquin Benoit retired Adam Dunn to strand the potential tying run on second base and rack up his 11th save in as many chances.

The resulting 2-hour, 7-minute game was 12 minutes faster than any other contest the Tigers had played this season, and faster than any Tigers game at Comerica Park since Sept. 8, 2010.

"That reminded me of when Kenny [Rogers] pitched," infield coach Rafael Belliard said.

Rogers was a tone-setter for the Tigers. When he got rolling, he would essentially play catch with his catcher, controlling the tempo and using it to his advantage. This was that kind of game, only Fister kept it up-tempo for the entire night, barely giving hitters time to gather themselves.

Fister had 13 ground-ball outs and just three fly balls for his outfielders, and he didn't cross the 80-pitch mark until his final inning. He kept his infielders busy, and they returned the favor.

It began in the first inning, when Jhonny Peralta went deep into the hole to run down Paul Konerko's ground ball and fired off balance to second base with just enough time to get the force out on Dunn and strand Alex Rios at third base.

Peralta had five assists by the end of the fifth inning. Jose Iglesias, whose trade from Boston earlier in the week set him up as Peralta's possible successor, filled in for injured Miguel Cabrera at third base and turned a key double play in the third inning.

They had fortune on their side, too. When pinch-runner Jordan Danks got off to a tremendous jump on a hit-and-run play in the eighth, only to watch Gordon Beckham hit a sharp ground ball up the middle right to the spot where Santiago was scrambling to cover second base, the White Sox had to wonder what else they could do.

"Gordon is a good contact guy and you figure he's got a good shot doing that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's one of those right at [Santiago]. … The game is cruel sometimes."

By contrast, Iglesias' two-out blooper in the fourth inning was hit just softly enough to drop in front of Rios in right field, making Iglesias' first hit as a Tiger an RBI single to open the scoring. It was an escape from an 0-2 count, and it completed a adventurous trip around the bases for Prince Fielder that began with a slow ground ball just inside first base and out of Dunn's reach for a leadoff double, and it continued with a tumbling, nearly leg-wrenching slide into third base on Victor Martinez's flyout to center.

Austin Jackson's fifth-inning solo homer accounted for the other tally.

"First day, everything happened so quick," Iglesias said. "But I'm happy to be here."

It wasn't just him. Once Fister struck out Josh Phegley for the second time to end the eighth inning, he became the first Tigers pitcher to complete eight innings in less than 90 pitches since Rick Porcello put up eight scoreless innings in Pittsburgh two years ago. The same reasoning that day prompted Leyland to go to his closer.

All that stood between him and the complete game was the top of the White Sox order. That included Alexei Ramirez and Rios, who had produced Chicago's only one with a double and single their previous time up in the sixth.

"I thought in the later innings they started to center him a little bit," Leyland explained. "They got a few hits there late and even Beckham on the hit-and-run hit it hard. I thought at that point in the game I didn't want him to see the top of the order again. Ramirez had hit the double. Rios had knocked in the run. Dunn had a couple hits. Those are the guys he's going to have to get out in the ninth inning, and that's hard to do a fourth time."

Fister settled for his fourth consecutive win, the last three since the All-Star break. The Tigers took the quick night.

"He said, 'You guys make sure that you guys are ready, because I'm going to give you guys a lot of action today,'" Pena said. "And that was exactly what he did."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:04 am

Scherzer stymies Sox to pick up 16th win
Right-hander tosses 7 2/3 scoreless frames as Tigers' streak continues

By Jason Beck / | 8/3/2013 11:32 PM ET


DETROIT -- Max Scherzer lost his unbeaten season three weeks ago. Then he really started pitching stingy.

"He's always had great stuff, but in the past you would get one or two pitches to hit and you would capitalize," White Sox slugger Adam Dunn said after Scherzer's latest gem. "He doesn't walk guys like he used to and his stuff is as good, if not the best, in the game."

The White Sox had another chance at Scherzer on Saturday night at Comerica Park after watching him pick their lineup apart last week in Chicago. This time, Scherzer actually made it look easier.

But then, the numbers show Scherzer to be as close to unbeatable this season as any pitcher in the last decade. With 7 2/3 innings of three-hit ball in a 3-0 shutout at Comerica Park, Scherzer became the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2001 -- and the second pitcher in the last 44 years -- with a 16-1 record.

Clemens got to 20-1 with the Yankees before losing his final two decisions. Dave McNally started out 16-1 with the Orioles in 1969.

"He's obviously on a pretty good roll," manager Jim Leyland said.

When the Rangers finally handed Scherzer a loss a few weeks back, his comparisons to those two were supposed to end. The way he's pitching now, it's arguably time to stop talking about Scherzer's season exclusively in terms of wins and losses.

He's 3-0 in three starts since losing to Texas just before the All-Star break, but the pitching behind it has been his best all season. Opponents have mustered just two runs on eight hits in 21 2/3 innings in those outings, drawing just three walks against 18 strikeouts.

The last run Scherzer allowed came from a Conor Gillaspie homer. That wasn't Saturday. That was July 22, two starts ago. Scherzer now has 13 2/3 scoreless innings since.

Scherzer has said repeatedly that he doesn't judge himself on wins and losses, but how he pitches. He's backing it up.

"He's got a lot of stuff going for him, throwing hard and everything," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But this year, especially just controlling off-speed pitch, his slider, you can see guys catch up to the velocity and then awareness in the field to throw that slider pretty good. [He'll] make it look like a fastball and then it dives out of the zone."

Scherzer's six scoreless innings last Saturday against the Phillies was a relative cruise in a 10-0. This game never got that far out of hand -- three runs actually marked Scherzer's third-lowest run support of the season -- but his pitching never let it feel within reach.

He took three Tigers solo homers off White Sox lefty John Danks and pitched like he had a trio of three-run blasts behind him.

"When you get Max some runs, get him a little run support, he's a bulldog," said Torii Hunter, whose first-inning homer put Detroit ahead for good. "He battles on the mound. It doesn't matter who's at the plate. He's coming after you."

The Tigers, meanwhile, are trying their best to pull away. Scherzer's gem stretched Detroit's winning streak to seven games, its longest since winning 12 in a row to run away with the American League Central in September 2011.

Cleveland's win at Miami kept Detroit's lead at three games with one more game left before the two sides meet at Progressive Field for four games beginning Monday.

"It's all about the team," Scherzer said. "We're in first place, we have to keep it there. The Indians and Royals are playing really good baseball right now and anything can happen so we have to finish the season strong."

The Tigers have their opponents to one run or less in six games on this streak, including four in a row. On Saturday, the only White Sox baserunner to reach scoring position against Scherzer got there without a hit. Singles from Dunn leading off the second inning, Gillaspie in the seventh and Alejandro De Aza in the eighth accounted for all the hitting damage.

Though Scherzer allowed leadoff baserunners in three of his first five innings, two third-inning walks comprised the only real threat against him. Once Scherzer ended the inning with an Alex Rios flyout to left, he pretty well rolled through an aggressive-swinging White Sox lineup from there.

"I walked three. That's always one thing that I pride myself in, not walking guys, but I was able to pitch around those," Scherzer said. "I didn't let some of those guys beat me in some of those situations. I felt again that I was pitching with four pitches again tonight and just keeping the ball down. A couple balls they hit hard, Austin [Jackson] ran back and tracked them down and he played a great game tonight."

Scherzer struck out six batters, pushing his career total to 999. He had an 0-2 count on De Aza with two outs in the eighth and the sellout crowd of 43,906 on its feet when De Aza sent a line drive single into left field, leading Leyland to the mound to end Scherzer's outing.

Hunter's 12th home run of the year put Detroit ahead in the opening inning before Jhonny Peralta sent a Danks fastball into the shrubs in straightaway center field, an estimated 444-foot drive according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Jose Iglesias capped the damage with his first home run as a Tiger, sending a Danks offering over the bullpen and into the left-field seats.

Danks (2-9) settled down to retire the final 10 batters he faced, but Scherzer and Detroit's bullpen never gave the Sox hope of getting him off the hook. Jose Veras replaced Scherzer in the eighth to retire Alexei Ramirez before Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for his 12th save in as many chances.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:17 pm

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Tigers walk off in finale on Hunter's RBI knock
Win streak reaches eight as club completes homestand with sweep

By Bobby Nightengale / | 8/4/2013 6:36 PM ET


DETROIT -- Torii Hunter was supposed to have the day off to rest. Instead, he delivered a pinch-hit single in the 10th inning and a game-winning single in the 12th to give the Tigers a 3-2 victory over the White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park to complete a three-game sweep.

The Tigers have an eight-game winning streak after winning all eight games on their latest homestand, improving to a season-high 19 games above .500. It's the third time that Detroit has swept the White Sox in the last four series at Comerica Park.

"You look at this ballclub, all cylinders are clicking," Hunter said. "The starting pitchers are having quality starts, our bullpen is coming in and getting the job done, timely hitting and our defense looks good."

Miguel Cabrera, who has missed the last three games, came on to pinch-hit to lead off the 12th inning. Cabrera drilled a fastball up the middle for a single, and then Matt Tuiasosopo pinch-ran for him.

"It's unbelievable. He hasn't seen a live pitch in I don't know how many days, and gets a base hit up the middle," Tigers starter Rick Porcello said.

Austin Jackson then put down a sacrifice bunt to move Tuiasosopo to second base, and Tuiasosopo scored on the single from Hunter that dropped into left-center.

"I thought they were going to pitch around me to get me to chase [a pitch outside of the strike zone]," Hunter said. "I was just waiting for a strike, and he just threw it right there and I just capitalized on it."

The White Sox had three hits and a walk in the first inning, but they were unable to score a run.

In the fourth, Adam Dunn drilled a 92-mph fastball for a solo home run to dead center field, giving Chicago a 1-0 lead. It was the first home run allowed by a Tigers pitcher since July 25.

However, it was the only damage done against Porcello, who allowed one earned run on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings in a no-decision. Tigers starting pitchers have recorded a quality start in 15 of the last 18 games. Some of that success can be attributed to solid defensive play in the last week, capped by some diving plays by Jose Iglesias at third base.

"I'd say the last couple of days, I thought our infield defense was absolutely unbelievable," manager Jim Leyland said. "[Ramon] Santiago, [Jhonny] Peralta and [Jose] Iglesias, they were absolutely terrific. It was like a clinic today."

The Tigers answered in the seventh after drawing two walks to begin the frame. Alex Avila hit a ball to right-center that scored Victor Martinez from second base. Two batters later, Santiago scored Peralta on a sacrifice fly to give Detroit a 2-1 lead.

"2-0 [count], I was just looking for a fastball, got it and was able to hit it in the right spot," Avila said.

Alejandro De Aza led off the eighth inning with a ground-rule double to right field and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Alex Rios then smashed a line drive to center field, but De Aza was unable to tag. Drew Smyly relieved Porcello to strike out Dunn and end the threat.

"You got to be able to push them across the plate if you're going to win," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We had them on the ropes early. The last time we faced them was the same way. You got to be able to get to them early and add on. We weren't able to."

Paul Konerko, however, was able to get the best of Smyly with a home run to left-center to lead off the ninth inning and tie the game at 2. It was the first run allowed by Smyly since June 26, which spanned 13 outings.

"I was just thinking about hitting the ball hard up the middle," Konerko said. "Nothing like a homer or anything. Just trying to be ready because I know he has a good arm but he's also kind of sneaky."

Said Smyly: "I looked at it on video. Couldn't be in a better spot, but he turned it around. There's nothing you can do about it. That's why he's such a great hitter. Cap call to him."

Jose Veras replaced Smyly after the home run and pitched two scoreless innings before Bruce Rondon came on in the 11th inning. Rondon struck out three in two innings and earned his first Major League win.

The Tigers have allowed only 10 runs during their eight-game winning streak. Next up is a four-game series against the Indians, who are three games back in the division.

"We pitched well, that's for sure and we were able to win some games," Porcello said. "We want to keep that going obviously, that's not something that should stop now. We need to keep pitching well, Cleveland's right behind us, we need to keep winning games."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:14 am

Avila's ninth-inning home run lifts Tigers in stunner
Sanchez K's 11 over 7 2/3 frames as Detroit bumps division lead to four

By Jason Beck / | 8/6/2013 12:25 AM ET


CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona admitted he had a bad feeling about Alex Avila. It came in the second inning against Corey Kluber in a pitching duel, not the ninth inning against Chris Perez in a Tigers comeback for an eventual 4-2 win.

It was a drive to deep left-center field that speedy Michael Bourn ran down at the base of the wall.

"When he hits the ball that direction, he makes me nervous," Francona said he told third-base coach Brad Mills at the time.

Left-center is where Avila hits for power when he's right. He got away from that in stretches and it hurt him. He hasn't hit for the same power the last two years that he did during his All-Star season, but when he connected with Perez's fastball on the outside corner and sent it in that same direction, Francona had that same bad feeling.

When it cleared the high wall in left-center for a go-ahead three-run homer, it sent the home portion of the crowd of 24,381 at Progressive Field from a roar into a rage.

It sent the Tigers dugout, silenced like the offense for much of Monday evening, into euphoria. What looked like a shutout loss to their division pursuers swung within four batters to the Tigers' ninth consecutive win, their longest streak since their September 2011 winning streak that turned the division race into a runaway.

"To be honest with you, it was so loud in our dugout after I got in there, I didn't notice it," Avila said of the crowd reaction. "I'm not doing it to shut up the crowd, but it's definitely a nice feature about it."

Exactly one year earlier, the crowd reaction was exactly the opposite when the Tigers got to Perez for a go-ahead homer. That was a Miguel Cabrera walk-off blast in extra innings at Comerica Park. The Tigers were still chasing the White Sox at that point, but the win essentially put free-falling Cleveland away in the division race.

This time, the Tribe and Tigers are the two main contestants in this division duel, and their four-game series could set the tone for the stretch run, whichever way it leans. The comeback stretched Detroit's lead to four games, its largest advantage since June 23.

The fact that it came from Avila, not Cabrera or one of the Tigers' many other bigger threats, might seem to make it bigger. Yet Avila has shown a knack for this.

The last reliever to give up a go-ahead homer to Avila in the ninth inning is now in the Tigers bullpen. Avila hit a two-run homer off then-Astros closer Jose Veras on May 3 to pull out a comeback win in Houston.

Before that, there was the two-run walk-off shot off former Red Sox reliever Mark Melancon in the 11th inning last year, turning a one-run deficit into a one-run win. Then there was the game-tying two-run shot off Sergio Santos in Chicago two years ago, or the go-ahead shot in the same place exactly 13 months earlier off J.J. Putz.

Add them up, and Avila now has five game-tying or go-ahead home runs in the ninth inning or later, according to research on Seventeen of his 49 career home runs are go-ahead or game-tying shots.

Just like in Houston, the normally reserved Avila raised his fist rounding first base as he saw the ball clear the high fence in left-center field. The boos, meanwhile, rained down on Perez (4-2).

"It feels good," Avila said. "It's exactly how you think it would feel. I mean, I've done it before, so I've had that feeling a few times."

For eight innings, the Indians were on their way to reducing their division deficit to two games, holding down Detroit's offense in its first day without just-suspended Jhonny Peralta. Anibal Sanchez and Detroit's defense, however, kept the game within reach for just something like this.

Detroit's new-look defense featuring Jose Iglesias at short did its part to keep it close. Austin Jackson made a leaping catch at the center-field fence to steal a hit away from Lonnie Chisenhall with two outs and Jason Giambi at first base in the second inning. Prince Fielder made a diving stop down the first-base line to rob Jason Kipnis of extra bases, and Andy Dirks made a grab on the warning track in left.

Add in 11 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings from starter Anibal Sanchez, his first game in double digits since May 24, and the Tigers gave themselves a chance. The Tigers held their opponent to two runs or less for the sixth consecutive game and the 11th time in 15 games since the All-Star Game. They've only lost one of those in the bunch.

Still, heading into the ninth, Sanchez was in line to become the first Tigers pitcher since Jack Morris in 1988 to lose a game with that many strikeouts over that many innings.

Perez took the mound in the ninth having saved 11 games in as many chances since his return in late June, allowing just two runs on 13 hits over 19 innings in that stretch. The Tigers needed just three swings to double that without recording an out.

Prince Fielder, who had a 10-pitch battle, but a strikeout to show for it in his previous at-bat, doubled into the left-field corner to lead off the inning before Victor Martinez's single sent him around. Andy Dirks' walk moved pinch-runner Hernan Perez into scoring position for Avila.

"He's been producing a little bit since he's been back [from the disabled list] to be honest with you," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's been hitting the ball in the gap. ... That's the kind of hitter we need him to be for us."

Detroit missed a chance to add on from there, but the two-run lead was enough for Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit, who retired the side in order for his 13th save in as many opportunities.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:18 pm

Kelly keys five-run fifth behind vintage Verlander
Ace-like performance backed by outfielder's mastery of Masterson

By Jason Beck / | 8/7/2013 12:56 AM ET


CLEVELAND -- Justin Verlander was back, and he didn't want to leave.

He had thrown 106 pitches through seven innings on Tuesday night against the Indians, and he thought he had enough left to stay in for another inning as he walked down the tunnel. When he realized manager Jim Leyland had the bullpen going, he came back out and made a deal.

"I just told him, 'Hey, I want this eighth. If we go three-up-three-down, great. If I put somebody on, you can take me out,'" Verlander said. "And he goes, 'All right, I'll give it to you.' That's all I needed to hear."

Six pitches later, Verlander was back in the dugout, having retired the Indians on three easy outs. Three outs after that, the Tigers were celebrating another win over their American League Central pursuers, this one a 5-1 victory, and a 10-game winning streak.

They had a lot more to celebrate than that. If Verlander can keep pitching like this, they have their ace back.

"I thought tonight was the most locked in and focused he has been in a while," Leyland said.

Detroit has built its division lead while Verlander has worked to rebuild his game. Detroit's five-game lead is its largest since June 17, and its winning streak is the first double-digit run the team has had since running away with the division in September 2011.

The Tigers have held opponents to two runs or fewer nine times during the streak, including the last seven games. Their starters are 8-0 with a 1.25 ERA during the winning streak, allowing just 46 hits over 72 innings, with 16 walks and 53 strikeouts.

Detroit has now gone two full turns through the rotation in the streak and averaged better than seven innings per start. Verlander closed the first turn with a decent outing but walked five Nationals over six innings. This time it was vintage Verlander.

If he can repeat this, the Tigers will be frightening.

"He seemed to find another gear tonight that we've unfortunately seen in the past," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "When he starts hitting 100 [mph] at the knees, and then snapping a breaking ball off, that's tough."

Verlander twice hit 100 mph on the Progressive Field radar gun, but velocity wasn't his problem. He could throw hard if he didn't care where the ball went.

What he did on Tuesday was blend velocity with control. The control is what was missing.

Verlander fell behind Nick Swisher in the first inning, then struck him out chasing a 97-mph high heater. He hit 97 mph and 98 mph on back-to-back strikeouts of Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth, the former on a called third strike. Then he sent ex-teammate Ryan Raburn flailing at a 99-mph fastball in the fifth.

"For whatever reason," Leyland said, "he went out there really aggressive and turned it loose."

A pair of 100-mph fastballs came in the sixth with runners on second and third. Kipnis fouled off the first on a 2-1 pitch before taking an offspeed offering for a strike. The other jammed Cabrera into an inning-ending groundout.

"He was locating it at 96, 97," Don Kelly said. "It wasn't like he had to try to throw 91, 92 and locate it."

Kelly could see that all the way from left field. But then, considering the way he saw everything Justin Masterson threw at him, it's hard to question his eyesight.

Kelly started the game in left field over Andy Dirks based on his history with Masterson -- 8-for-21 lifetime, with a homer, going into the contest. His second-inning single off Masterson loaded the bases with nobody out, but Masterson escaped with back-to-back strikeouts of Alex Avila and Jose Iglesias before a Ramon Santiago ground ball ended the threat.

Masterson (13-8) seemingly rolled from there, but he lost command in the fifth and hit three things he shouldn't have: Santiago's left knee on a bunt attempt, Victor Martinez's right foot on a first pitch with two outs and a runner on, and Kelly's bat.

Martinez's hit-by-pitch extended the inning for Kelly, who sent a drive to right for his fifth home run of the year. The three-run shot powered a five-run fifth inning that included a Miguel Cabrera double off the wall in left-center field that gave him his 100th RBI of the year.

With that run-scoring hit, Cabrera clinched his 10th consecutive 100-RBI season. He is just the fourth Major League player age 30 or younger with that many 100-RBI campaigns. Albert Pujols and Jimmie Foxx put theirs up consecutively as well; Alex Rodriguez had 10 in his first 11 seasons.

"He loves facing me," Masterson said of Kelly. "If I was Superman, he'd be my kryptonite, especially this year, with a couple of homers. Guess there's always a guy. He salivates when I get up there. … How it happens, I don't know."

Kelly doesn't know, either, but he saw the pitches well enough that he could identify each one that he hit, including the four-seam fastball Masterson tried to bust in on him that he hit out.

"Obviously, he's a great pitcher," Kelly said. "I can't explain it. I just see him well. I mean, when you have a guy who throws 96 mph with a sinker, slider, changeup, it's just one of those things. ... I guess I just see the ball well."

The way Verlander was going, that was the ballgame, as he retired the final nine batters he faced.

Verlander said his success was the result of an adjustment he made in his side session, moving his landing foot more in line toward the hitter and opening his delivery more.

"It's not a huge difference, but there is a difference," Verlander said.

He's smart enough not to guarantee that it'll stick. He has had promising gems before, only to struggle the next time out. Still, this felt different.

"I am excited," he admitted. "I'm excited, obviously, to see the adjustment that I made make not just a little impact, I thought it was a big impact today. Everything I've been searching for, I was able to find it today. So that's obviously a huge stride in the right direction."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:46 am

Tigers push streak to 11 with win in 14th inning
Fielder delivers go-ahead two-run double in extras against Indians

By Jason Beck / | 8/8/2013 2:00 AM ET


CLEVELAND -- Miguel Cabrera says it's all about wins, not what the Tigers' stars do. The dejected Indians fans filing out of Progressive Field as midnight approached Wednesday evening might have disagreed.

The Tigers didn't just pull out another win in this divisional clash. Their 6-5 win in 14 innings lasted long enough to break Cleveland's hearts twice. The silence that fell over the crowd as Cabrera's go-ahead homer in the eighth inning ruined Danny Salazar's gem of an outing was the first occasion. The emotion from Prince Fielder after rolling into second base on his go-ahead double in the 14th inning, his first RBI since July 31, was the other.

"It's not about one guy. It's not about what this guy's going to do tonight," Cabrera said. "It's about getting clutch in the right time. Prince did it today. [Alex] Avila did it the other night. Our pitching being extended, starting pitchers, relievers, everybody's coming together right now."

The Indians are the team that finds storybook endings this season, but they can't find the script against the team they're pursuing. The Tigers, winners of 11 in a row overall and 11 of their last 12 against the Indians, are simply overwhelming teams right now. Some days, they do it from the first inning. Some days, they take a little longer.

They've won three 14-inning games on the road this season, but none bigger than this. It might not finish the American League Central race, but with a season-high six-game lead for Detroit and 16-game winner Max Scherzer taking the mound looking for a four-game sweep on Thursday, it puts the Tigers in clear command.

"Good pitching beats good hitting every day," Torii Hunter said. "You look at [Justin] Masterson, you look at [Corey] Kluber, who's filthy, and then you look at the Salazar kid, they have great arms over there, but we just don't give up. We're professional hitters. We know how to play the game the right way. And we know how to come through when we need to."

The Tigers built their longest winning streak since September 2011 on the strength of their starting pitching, 8-0 with a 1.25 ERA over the previous 10 games. Doug Fister showed signs of threatening that roll, but recovered for six innings of two-run ball.

He kept Detroit alive for a late-inning rally, but Fister could not help Tigers hitters against hard-throwing rookie Salazar and his 100 mph fastball in his second Major League start. Salazar's 10 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings included each of Cabrera's first three at-bats, and the top four hitters in Detroit's lineup the second time through the order.

"That kid was really something special," manager Jim Leyland said.

Salazar used a 99 mph fastball to set up Cabrera to freeze on a changeup his first time up. The next two meetings, Salazar overpowered Cabrera swinging at 99 and 100 mph fastballs.

Cabrera has struck out four times in a game just twice in his career, and never against one pitcher. Still, Salazar's success earned him the chance to face him again once Hunter's two-out single extended the eighth inning for Cabrera with the tying run on.

"That would've been his last hitter," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "but to that point I would've had a hard time justifying having him not pitch. That's how good I thought he was."

Asked if he wanted another shot, Cabrera surprised with his answer.

"I don't want to face him the fourth time," he said. "I was saying to myself, 'It's time to bring in the bullpen.' And when they decide to leave him in there, I say, 'Let's grind out this at-bat, try to make something happen.'"

Salazar's first pitch to Cabrera this time came in at 96 mph. Cabrera sent it out with similar authority, quieting the crowd as the ball soared towards the seats beyond right-center field.

"The young kid got him pretty much all night," Leyland said. "The last time, he just didn't get him."

Cabrera's 33rd home run and 102nd RBI gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead. Two batters into the bottom of the inning, the Indians had the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position after Drew Smyly gave up back-to-back doubles from Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana.

With the Tigers sorely in need of a strikeout or two, Bruce Rondon replaced Smyly and came out firing. Rondon threw eight consecutive pitches at 102 or 103 mph in the inning, striking out Ryan Raburn, but Yan Gomes handled the 103 mph heater well enough to hit a ground ball to short. With the infield at normal depth, fearing a go-ahead single, the groundout brought in Brantley with the tying run.

Between Rondon, Jose Veras and Jeremy Bonderman in his Tigers return, Detroit's bullpen retired 13 consecutive batters before Drew Stubbs' 12th-inning single, and Bonderman erased him on a double play a few pitches later. The Tigers put a runner on in every extra inning, but didn't advance one into scoring position until Austin Jackson legged out a leadoff double in the 14th and took third base on Hunter's fly out to right.

With Cabrera pulled for defensive purposes after his home run, rookie second baseman Hernan Perez awaited. Once Bryan Shaw (2-3) lost Perez to a walk, lefty Marc Rzepczynski had to deal with Fielder, 1-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts on the night entering the at-bat.

Rzepczynski put Fielder in an 0-2 count, trying to set him up to chase. His 0-2 slider got just enough of the outside corner that Fielder went with it and laced it into left-center with authority.

It was Fielder's first RBI of August, but it was a big one. The clap into the sky at second base showed it.

"Prince competes as hard as anybody," Leyland said. "He wants to win, and he competes his tail off. And that's why he gets hits off left-handed pitchers, because he battles his tail off."

They all do. The Tigers don't always dominate, but on nights like this, they break hearts.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:32 am

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Tigers roll to 12th straight win to take series sweep
Scherzer improves to 17-1 as Detroit builds division lead to seven

By Jason Beck / | 8/9/2013 12:44 AM ET


CLEVELAND -- Max Scherzer has spent most of the season looking unbeatable. Now the entire Tigers team has joined in.

Scherzer's roll has put him into the history books. Where this 12-game winning streak puts the Tigers depends on who you ask.

"Sometimes you just have one of those fairytale series," manager Jim Leyland said after Thursday's 10-3 win completed the Tigers' first four-game sweep of the Indians in Cleveland in 25 years.

The series that the Indians hoped would be their catapult back into this race instead gave the Tigers their getaway. Thursday's finale was the exclamation point, fueled by a six-run third inning and Scherzer's seven strong innings to hold it.

Scherzer became baseball's first 17-game winner this year, and the first Tigers pitcher ever to go 17-1. No Major League pitcher has been 17-1 since then-Yankee Roger Clemens in 2001. Just two other big-league pitchers, Pittsburgh's Roy Face in 1959 and Don Newcombe, have done it since Rube Marquard's historic 19-0 start in 1912. Face finished his season at 18-1, and he is the only pitcher since 1901 to finish with at least 17 wins and only one loss.

Listen to Scherzer, though, and it's not his mark to claim.

"It's not so much my achievement. It's a team achievement," he said. "If I'm going to sit here and take credit for these wins and say I'm the reason why we're winning, I'd be pretty naive.

"I definitely help the ballclub. I'm obviously doing things right. I'm pitching deep into games. I'm minimizing walks, doing everything I want to do. But at the same time, most of these games I'm pitching, I'm getting a ton of run support. These guys are putting quality at-bats together and our lineup is so deep. It's really a team effort every time I pitch that the guys are able to score runs and I'm able to minimize damage, and that's how we seem to get a win every time."

It's the same team emphasis the rest of the Tigers clubhouse seems to be taking. Judging by the results, it's not just the outlook that's contagious.

The dozen consecutive wins match their winning streak from September 2011 that helped them run away with their first American League Central title. The seven-game lead Detroit now owns in the division is its largest since 2011, too.

The Tigers know better than to assume this race is over. They still have enough coaches and players who remember the seven-game lead they owned on Labor Day in 2009 that vanished to the Twins four weeks later.

"There's a lot of baseball left," Leyland warned. "We had a very good series against a very good team. I know what I know, and I know that they're not going anywhere. We're going to New York to try to win a game tomorrow night."

The hordes of Tigers fans that made the trip to Cleveland to see this series, though, left with every reason to believe. This is the team they wanted to see, and they let the home crowd know when they saw it.

The Tigers broke Cleveland's hearts on back-to-back nights with late-inning comebacks. On Thursday, they took care of the rest.

"We came out here and played probably as good of a four-game series as we played all year," Scherzer said. "Everybody played their best -- all the starters, relievers, everybody did their job. And when we're able to execute as a team, when we play well as a team, we can do great things. Obviously that's why we think we're one of the best teams in the American League."

If the math in the standings isn't decisive enough, the play in the field this week was. Thursday was the culmination.

Midway through the fourth inning, Alex Avila -- who later left in the fifth inning with possible concussion symptoms -- was the only player in the Tigers lineup who hadn't reached base safely. No Indians hitter at that point had reached base safely on Scherzer, who had retired Cleveland's lineup in order.

By the end of the fifth inning, after Miguel Cabrera jogged to first base on a two-out single and Hernan Perez sped around from first and beat the throw in from left field, Detroit had reached double digits.

By game's end, former Tigers utilityman Ryan Raburn was on the mound pitching against Matt Tuiasosopo, the man who took Raburn's old lefty-killer role on the Tigers bench. The ensuing strikeout brought the loudest cheer from the Progressive Field crowd all evening.

Most of the Tigers' damage came against Zach McAllister, who delivered a quality start in Detroit in May. He retired the side in order in each of the first two innings, then retired only one of the eight batters he faced in the third. Four reached by walk, three reached by hit, including back-to-back two-run doubles by Prince Fielder -- his third opposite-field double in as many at-bats -- and Victor Martinez

McAllister (4-7) entered the game with a 2.28 ERA in four career starts against the Tigers, lowest of any of his opponents. He gave up as many walks as hits on his way to six runs over 2 1/3 innings.

"I felt great physically," McAllister said. "I felt strong out there. Like I said, I just had terrible command that inning, and that's what cost me the most."

The third inning was long enough that Scherzer threw in the tunnel to keep his arm loose. Those waits used to be his undoing early in the season. Now, he simply cruises. Considering he leads the Majors in run support, he has had plenty of practice at it.

For Scherzer, his 1,000th career strikeout -- a swing and miss from Jason Kipnis on a nasty slider to end the first inning -- was bigger than the 17-1 record.

"Right now I'm getting all the run support," Scherzer said. "I am pitching well, but we're just on a roll as a team. For the thousand K's, that means more. That takes pitching effectively for many years. … And so to get it within basically five-plus years, to me that means a lot."

No pitcher since Face has finished a season with that many wins against only one defeat. Considering Scherzer has at least 11 starts left, it would take a 15-game unbeaten streak to do it. His season-opening roll lasted 18 starts.

His challenges aren't over yet this season, and neither are those of his team. Both, however, are in position for something special.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:36 am

Despite Cabrera's heroics, Tigers' winning streak ends
Homer off Rivera forces extras, but Yankees walk off with victory

By Jason Beck / | 8/10/2013 2:27 AM ET


NEW YORK -- The Tigers' 12-game winning streak is over, but it didn't die without a fight.

Sure, the Tigers' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium had an air of disappointment in the wee hours of Saturday morning after Brett Gardner's 10th-inning walk-off single sent Detroit to a 4-3 loss. But that did not overtake the sense of awe over the Miguel Cabrera homer off Mariano Rivera that extended the game that far.

"They should make a movie from that at-bat," Torii Hunter said.

The competitors in them hated the eventual ending to the game. The fans and teammates in them loved the plot twist of the battle.

"Tonight was special," Rick Porcello said. "I mean, we ended up losing the game, but that was pretty incredible."

In addition, the loss didn't affect the Tigers' seven-game lead in the American League Central, thanks to the Indians' loss to the Angels at Progressive Field. It was the Tigers' first loss in August, but it might be remembered as much as the wins.

Even the defeat showed the mentality Cabrera has been talking about as the reason behind the Tigers' run.

"It feels different," Cabrera said. "I see guys grinding every inning, every at-bat, and nobody ever gives up. We always stay positive. I think that's a very good thing we have right now. We fight to the last out."

Thanks to Cabrera, they fought a little longer on Friday.

Three times this week, the Tigers have hit a game-tying or go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later. Cabrera has two of them. He struck out three times against Indians rookie starter Danny Alvarez before hitting a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning on Wednesday in Cleveland.

This was different. This was Rivera, against whom Cabrera was 0-for-5 with a strikeout when he stepped to the plate with two outs and Austin Jackson on second base. After Cabrera fouled off the first two pitches, one of them just out of reach of first baseman Lyle Overbay near the Yankees' dugout, he was fighting to stay alive.

"You want to grind out the at-bat and try to make something happen," Cabrera said. "You want to keep fighting, keep fighting and wait for a mistake."

The first two-strike foul ball left Cabrera in agony, clutching his left knee and leaning on his bat as the training staff attended to him. A few fans, hoping to see Rivera's 644th career save, began to boo, suggesting Cabrera was simply delaying the game.

The second foul left Cabrera stretching his leg in the batter's box as Rivera received a new ball.

"Keep stretching, Cabrera," a Yankees fan yelled from behind home plate.

Said Hunter: "You've got the best closer in the game ever, and probably the best hitter of our time at the plate. Mariano threw the two-seamers in, he fouls them off, and it looked like he was defeated. It looked like a movie. He's like, 'Oh my God, I can't walk.'"

One swing and more than 410 feet later, Cabrera went from stretching to trotting around the bases.

"It was down, between the inside and the middle," Cabrera said. "I was able to extend my arms and hit it good."

Rivera's farewell season has left baseball marveling at his accomplishments. But as he became the 249th Major League pitcher to give up a home run to Cabrera, it was his turn to marvel.

"Wow," Rivera mouthed as Cabrera's drive hit the netting beyond the center-field fence.

He had more words later, but the sense was the same.

"Didn't get in enough," Rivera said. "He was looking for it, I would say, but the pitch wasn't that in either.

"Again, you're talking about professional players, professional hitters. You're talking about one of the great hitters."

"We knew he was probably in pain," Hunter said, "but this dude is unbelievable. The more and more I see him play ... I've been with him for five, six months now, and I'm still in awe."

Those who have seen him their whole careers feel the same way.

"He pounded two balls off his left leg and he could barely walk," Porcello said, "and he goes dead central here, which is not a small ballpark out to center field. He's incredible."

Even Al Alburquerque, who was an out away from escaping a 10th-inning jam when Gardner got just enough of a fastball to send a ground ball just out of shortstop Hernan Perez's reach and into left field, was shaking his head about the home run afterward.

"Oh, it's unbelievable," Alburquerque said.

The Tigers had a new game, but they didn't have a refreshed bullpen. Detroit used four relievers after Porcello exited to keep within range for Cabrera's drive. Once Jose Veras pitched a scoreless ninth to take the game into extra innings, Alburquerque was the only option before closer Joaquin Benoit.

Alburquerque gave up a leadoff walk to Jayson Nix and a single to Curtis Granderson. He struck out Overbay on a pitch in the dirt, but the skip past catcher Brayan Pena moved the runners up.

Alburquerque intentionally walked Eduardo Nunez, loading the bases, then got Chris Stewart to look at a fastball on the corner for a called third strike to remove the threat of a sacrifice fly.

He kept the same approach to Gardner.

"He was ready for my slider, my best pitch," Alburquerque. "It was a good pitch. Not lucky."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:54 pm

Tigers flex thrice; Miggy leads Bronx blowout
Miggy launches No. 35; Jackson and Torii go yard against host Yankees

By Jason Beck / | 8/10/2013 6:35 PM ET


NEW YORK -- Miguel Cabrera struck again Saturday. This time, there was no drama to go with it.

The same could be said for the rest of the game.

Two innings into Saturday's 9-3 Tigers win over the Yankees, Detroit catcher Alex Avila could look up at the giant center-field scoreboard at Yankee Stadium and see his pitcher, Anibal Sanchez, with 20 pitches. His counterpart, Phil Hughes, had already thrown 53.

One was a fastball that Austin Jackson hit off the center-field fence for a triple to set up a sac fly in the opening inning. Another was an inside fastball to Cabrera, right around the border for the batter's box, that Cabrera had lined over the left-field fence for his 35th home run for the year.

"In the first couple innings, I waited for a while," Sanchez said. "I tried to get warmed up, stretch, do a couple exercises. I think in the second inning, I waited for 25 minutes, something like that."

It was just a two-run game at that point, but if there was a time of possession statistic to baseball, it would've been lopsided already. The scoreboard caught up soon enough.

This is how the Tigers have put together 13 wins in their last 14 games to go from the lowest of the division leaders to challenge the Red Sox for the best record in the American League. Even when Detroit's offense doesn't bust out, it wears pitchers down, and the starters have made a habit of getting their team back to the plate soon enough to have another chance.

"Sanchez controlled the tempo for us and did a great job to hold it down," manager Jim Leyland said. "Obviously, we had some big hits and some good defensive plays."

On Saturday, it all seemed to feed off of each other. And on an afternoon when the Tigers had to bounce back from an extra-inning loss and an end to their winning streak, they never allowed the Yankees a feeling that they were in this game.

"It's something that the Yankees did for a long time," said Hunter, whose three-run homer off Joba Chamberlain in the sixth inning put the game away. "In the past, with [Paul] O'Neill and [Derek] Jeter and Gary Sheffield, all these guys, they had professional hitters -- guys who know how to step up and make adjustments. I look at this ballclub right here, and it's kind of the same thing.

"From one through six, you've got guys with five, six years or more in the big leagues. They really know how to bounce back. If we lose one day, we don't dwell on it. We know how to have amnesia and come back the next day."

Justin Verlander, who gets a chance to help the Tigers take this three-game series on Sunday, described it another way.

"I think that this is the team that we want to be," Verlander said. "Right now I think we're pitching well, we're hitting well and we're playing good defense. That's the name of the game. If we're going to pitch the way we can with our starting rotation and we're going to score runs, I like our chances to win. It's that simple."

The Tigers have had two extra-inning games on this road trip, winning a 14-inning marathon in Cleveland on Wednesday night before watching their 12-game winning streak end in the 10th inning late Friday night. They bounced back from them with arguably their two best games of the week, and certainly their most lopsided ones.

Both times, the starting pitchers dominated while the offense wore down their counterparts and put it away early.

"It's like I always say," Leyland said, "momentum in baseball is the next day's pitcher."

Cabrera's homer moved him past Chris Davis for the RBI lead to put himself back on top in two of the three Triple Crown categories. He's still well behind Davis in home runs, but not out of reach, and he's in a stretch where he's hitting everything solidly, whether it's a hit or an out.

Jackson was no easier on Hughes, taking another shot at the fences and clearing them in left for a fourth-inning solo shot before Hunter's one-out single led Yankees manager Joe Girardi to bring in Preston Claiborne to face Cabrera. His ensuing line-drive single to left set up Victor Martinez for an RBI double and Don Kelly for a two-run single up the middle.

Hughes had beaten the Tigers in his previous five regular-season meetings, but he took his first loss to Detroit outside of the postseason since 2007. He gave up four runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out six, but half of the 14 balls Tigers put in play against him went for base hits.

"When I'm on, it's a lot of swings and misses. But when I'm not, it can lead to some drawn out at-bats," Hughes said.

For most of those innings, Sanchez was cruising through the bottom half, pounding the strike zone with a mix that left Yankees hitters guessing at times. He not only retired the Bronx Bombers in order the first time through the lineup, he allowed only one ball out of the infield in that stretch.

"That helped me when I get the lead like that," Sanchez said. "Right there, you can't feel comfortable. You have to attack in every situation, no matter how many runs ahead you are."

Lyle Overbay's two-run homer accounted for the damage off Sanchez, who picked up his third consecutive win with seven innings of four-hit ball to go with a walk and eight strikeouts.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:04 pm

Tigers tee off on Mo, but fall on Yanks' walk-off
Miggy, V-Mart hand Yankees closer third straight blown save in loss

By Jason Beck / | 8/11/2013 8:05 PM ET
to be updated


NEW YORK -- Victor Martinez knew Sunday morning he could be playing his last game against Mariano Rivera. So during batting practice, he took a moment to stop over and have his picture taken with the great closer.

Hours later, as he rounded the bases on the game-tying home run he hit into the second deck in right field off one of Rivera's cutters, he had his picture perfect moment. And the Tigers, who had gone 14 years since saddling Rivera with a blown save until this weekend, had gotten to the game's greatest closer twice in three days.

In a game of missed opportunities, the Tigers had seemingly overcome theirs. Yet just as quickly as they had new life, Brett Gardner's walk-off homer off Jose Veras in the bottom of the ninth took it away, sending Detroit to a 5-4 defeat and sending the Tigers out of town with two losses in three games.

"At the end, we came out a loss," Martinez said. "But you know what, man, they were three good games. There's nothing you can do about it. We went out there and fought. That was it."

Instead of overcoming missed opportunities, the Tigers ended up with new ones to lament, and conflicting emotions about the way they played. Maybe that's fitting in a game that ended up as crazy as this.

They left 10 runners on base in 4 1/3 innings against struggling Andy Pettitte, including two bases-loaded chances to break the game open. They left 12 runners on over the first six innings, and they missed a chance to bring up Cabrera as the potential tying run in the eighth inning because of a questionable call at second base and a misread by Austin Jackson on the basepaths that led to an inning-ending double play.

Yet they tagged the game's greatest closer for just the third two-homer inning of his career, and hit three homers off of him for the series.

"It's a great feeling," Martinez said of his blast off Rivera. "There's no doubt about it."

Justin Verlander, taken off the hook for a potential loss following the rally, called it a never-say-die attitude. Jackson called it a confidence builder.

Miguel Cabrera, whose second consecutive homer off Rivera led off the ninth inning to make it a one-run game, called it two losses. Not even owning Rivera for two games and adding to his standing as the game's most dangerous hitter could ease the sting.

"I don't know how to explain it," he said of his sudden success off Rivera. "The only thing we can explain is that we lost the game. That's all that matters right now. It's about getting it done and trying to win games. At the end of the game, the home runs mean nothing to us."

Cabrera is a bottom-line player. No matter how great the individual feats, he doesn't want them overshadowing his team, which makes him reluctant to talk much on days like this. He wants to win, and helping his team do that is what matters most for him.

Still, nobody who saw Cabrera for these three games will soon forget what he did. He went 7-for-13 with two walks and a strikeout for the series, and homered in three consecutive games, each to a different part of the field. Two of them came off Rivera, joining him with Edgar Martinez as the only hitters to homer twice off Rivera in the same season.

In a series that focused so much on Alex Rodriguez, Cabrera still ended up the reluctant star.

Cabrera was 0-for-5 lifetime off Rivera entering the weekend. He left as the first player in history to homer off Rivera in consecutive at-bats. Friday's dramatic game-tying shot went to straightaway center field, hitting the netting that covers Monument Park beyond the fence. He had fouled back-to-back pitches off his left knee beforehand, leaving him in pain to limp around the bases.

Sunday's opposite-field homer to the short porch in right was suspenseful for those wondering if he could do it, but not dramatic because of the two-run Yankees lead. Cabrera was on deck in the eighth inning when Gardner made a highlight-reel catch at the fence to rob Torii Hunter.

Jackson, who has been running aggressively all week, was past second base when Gardner made the catch. He doubled back, making sure to re-touch second, then suddenly turned back around and stopped there as Gardner flipped the ball to left fielder Alfonso Soriano.

"That split second, I was looking down and touching the bag so I could go back to first," Jackson said. "I was looking back up to read the throw. I saw the ball on the ground, so I thought that he hit the fence and it popped out."

Instead of a showdown with David Robertson with a chance to tie, Cabrera led off the ninth with a chance to do little more than set the tone.

"We focus on getting good at-bats, look for good pitches, be aggressive at the plate," Cabrera said of the approach against Rivera.

He saw five cutters in a row, the last of which he sent out.

"The ball was up. It was not where it was supposed to be," Rivera said.

Two batters later, Martinez hit a no-doubt drive to right field to tie the game at 4, giving Rivera his third consecutive blown save for the first time in his career.

"At least it's only the first time," Rivera said.

Veras, the former Yankee, entered for the bottom of the ninth and, despite some deep drives, came within an out of sending the game into extra innings.

Then came Gardner, whose RBI single won Friday's game after Rivera's blown save. He sent a drive into the seats near the Yankees' bullpen in right field to end it.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:53 am

Fister's unbeaten streak ends in Chicago
Right-hander allows four runs over six innings; Miggy hits 37th homer

By Cash Kruth / | 8/13/2013 12:17 AM ET


CHICAGO -- An uncharacteristically wild outing by Tigers right-hander Doug Fister and a complete-game gem by White Sox left-hander Chris Sale led the Tigers to a rare loss Monday night against the White Sox.

Fister, who had gone 4-0 in his previous eight starts, issued a season-high-tying three walks while Sale fanned six in going the distance, as the White Sox used a three-run fifth inning to hand the Tigers a 6-2 loss at U.S. Cellular Field.

It was only Detroit's fourth loss in its last 21 games and just the club's sixth in its last 22 against the White Sox.

"We faced an All-Star pitcher that pitched awfully well," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You've got to be real stingy when you run into a guy like that, but tonight we weren't stingy enough."

Sale allowed a first-inning home run to Miguel Cabrera and an RBI double to Brayan Pena in the second but little else, scattering nine hits in his fourth complete game of the season.

"He's an All-Star," Pena said. "He's one of those kids that he goes out there and he battled, and he did a good job for them."

Fister faced the minimum through the first three innings but got into the trouble in the fourth.

The right-hander issued consecutive two-out walks and uncorked two wild pitches in a span of six, the second of which scored Gordon Beckham. Fister got out of the inning, but he fell right back into trouble in the fifth.

The White Sox followed Jeff Keppinger's leadoff double with four straight one-out singles, as Josh Phegley, Alexei Ramirez and Beckham, who had three hits, each drove in a run.

Fister exited after six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits.

"We have plenty of confidence in the offense to put it together and pick me up, but at the same time, I didn't do my job," Fister said. "I've got to go out there and give us a better chance to win, especially against a great pitcher that we're facing tonight."

The three walks were the most by Fister since also issuing that many on July 17. He entered Monday ranked fourth in the American League with 1.57 walks per nine innings, and has walked one batter or fewer in 17 of his 24 starts this season.

"I think it was a combination of he didn't have his real good curveball or his command," Leyland said. "I thought that pretty much summed it up."

The Tigers had only two other scoring chances, first in the fourth inning when the bottom of the lineup failed to come through with two on and one out. Cabrera and Prince Fielder also led off the sixth with consecutive singles, but a pair of nice plays by Ramirez at shortstop stifled any potential rally.

Instead, the lone offense came from Pena and Cabrera, who homered on the first pitch he saw.

"He's a big strong guy. You miss by an inch and he's going to make you pay. He did," Sale said. "That's why he's the best hitter in the league and probably of all time."

It was the fourth straight game in which Cabrera's homered. He has a 10-game hitting streak during which he's batting .432 with two doubles, five homers and 12 RBIs.

"I mean, he's in his own world. He's in his own league," Tigers outfielder Tori Hunter said. "Everybody knows that. It's nothing people don't already know, what I'm saying. It's just the same stuff. He's good. He's great, actually."

Jose Iglesias appears to be those things, as well -- at least defensively. The Tigers shortstop made the play of the night in the sixth inning on a broken-back blooper off the bat of Phegley. The ball went softly over an outstretched Fister and landed behind the mound, where Iglesias barehanded it and threw to first in one motion while falling to the ground.

"Iglesias, man, since he's been here, he's been making some plays," said Hunter, who added it was the best play he's seen live. "You're talking about plays that I haven't seen in a long time."

Pena took it one step further.

"Unbelievable. I've never seen nothing like that," Pena said. "It was amazing. The fact that he was diving for it and kept in one motion and made a pretty accurate throw to first, that says a lot about the kid."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:24 am

Tigers fall in 11 innings for third straight loss
Scherzer allows three runs over six innings in no-decision

By Cash Kruth / | 8/14/2013 2:21 AM ET


CHICAGO -- All of a sudden, the Tigers are struggling.

Sure, Detroit still has a six-game lead in the American League Central. And, yes, three of the Tigers' last four losses have been by one run -- including two in extra innings.

But after being one of the league's hottest teams for much of the season's short second half, the Tigers suddenly can't come through in the clutch.

The last-place White Sox and Alejandro De Aza were able to do so Tuesday night, as De Aza hit an 11th-inning walk-off single to give Chicago a 4-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field and hand the Tigers their third straight loss and fourth in their last five games.

"They all hurt the same because a loss is a loss. But every time they do a walk-off fashion, I think it's even harder," said Tigers catcher Brayan Pena, whose eighth-inning single pushed the game into extras.

The White Sox relief corps pitched brilliantly Tuesday, tossing six innings of one-run ball. Detroit's did, as well, before a sloppy 11th inning by Jeremy Bonderman (2-4).

The right-hander issued a leadoff walk, failed to make a play at second base on a sacrifice bunt and walked another to load the bases with one out before being removed for Phil Coke, whom De Aza welcomed with a line drive to right field.

"To make contact," De Aza said of his approach. "Make good, solid contact because I know the infield was in and I was just trying to put the ball in play."

Coke surrendered the game-winning hit, but the loss deservedly went to Bonderman.

"You can't walk leadoff guys," Bonderman said. "You can't afford to put guys on base and give them free passes. It's my fault."

The Tigers had a dream scenario in the top of the 11th, when an error by White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez brought Miguel Cabrera to the plate with runners at the corners and two outs. Cabrera lined a pitch off Addison Reed (5-1), but he was unable to leg out a hit as Ramirez recovered for a nice inning-ending play.

Cabrera slid into the bag and got up gingerly, but he remained in the game. The third baseman has been slowed by an abdominal strain, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Cabrera was slow to get up because he hit his shin on the slide.

Pena's eighth-inning knock was one of only two clutch hits for the Tigers, who went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base.

"It was just a matter of who was going to finally get the big hit or who was going to take advantage of an opportunity, and they finally did," said Leyland, whose club is 2-for-21 in such situations in the past two games. "We just couldn't quite get it done."

The eighth-inning comeback got Major League win leader Max Scherzer off the hook for the loss. The right-hander was far from dominant, needing 105 pitches (63 strikes) to make it through six innings while scattering four hits and issuing three walks.

"I just didn't pitch efficiently today," Scherzer said. "There in the fourth inning I got in some deep counts, hitter after hitter, and it just didn't allow me to get into the seventh or eighth."

Just as there was no win for Scherzer on Tuesday, for the first time in five games, there was no home run from Cabrera, who went 0-for-5 with a walk.

Instead, the other big hit came from a Venezuelan eight years Cabrera's junior with whom the Tigers are plenty familiar. One night after shortstop Jose Iglesias wowed defensively, one of two players the Tigers dealt away last month put them in an early hole.

Avisail Garcia drove Scherzer's 1-2 fastball into right field for a two-run triple to plate Beckham and Ramirez, whom Scherzer hit and walked, respectively, to open the fourth. Garcia scored on the play when Omar Infante's throw got by Cabrera at third.

"You can second guess yourself all you want about the pitch to Avisail. That's just baseball," Scherzer said. "But stuff you can control, when you hit Beckham, that's something you don't want to do. Then you walk Ramirez. Those are the things that frustrate me."

And unlike so many times this season, Detroit's offense was unable to provide the usual support for Scherzer.

"He wasn't at his best, it's not a secret, but the fact is he made some good pitches," Pena said. "Max, he's Max. Everybody knows we're not perfect. We're human. But the fact that today wasn't his best day and he kept us in the ballgame, that says a lot about the guy."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

Last edited by TigersForever on Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:26 pm

Cabrera's jack, Infante's knock help Tigers snap skid
Miggy ties it on three-run homer; two score on error to back Porcello

By Cash Kruth / | 8/14/2013 7:16 PM ET


CHICAGO -- What a whirlwind road trip for the Tigers that turned out to be.

They flexed their muscles with a four-game sweep in Cleveland, made ninth-inning history against Mariano Rivera in New York -- yet still dropped two of three -- and in Wednesday's series finale against the last-place White Sox, needed a win to avoid being swept.

The Tigers did just that, getting the big hits they had been lacking from Miguel Cabrera and Omar Infante in a 6-4 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

"It was definitely big for us to come out here and avoid getting swept," right-hander Rick Porcello said.

Detroit now readies itself for a prime opportunity to strengthen its hold on the American League Central against one of its biggest threats in a quest for a division three-peat. The third-place Royals -- 7 1/2 games back after their loss to the Marlins on Wednesday -- come to Comerica Park on Thursday for five games in four days, including Friday's doubleheader.

The Tigers nearly lost Wednesday, as well, with closer Joaquin Benoit providing some uneasiness after entering in the eighth and striking out Adam Dunn and Avisail Garcia to strand two.

In the ninth, Benoit allowed the first two batters to reach before recording his 15th save in as many opportunities.

Said Tigers manager Jim Leyland of working a closer more than one inning, "I don't like to do it, because I think you saw a little effect of that in the ninth inning. They lose their edge a little bit."

Leyland said Benoit's history against Dunn (0-for-8, six strikeouts) was why he went against his own beliefs. And it paid off.

"I thought he showed terrific pitch-ability today under tough circumstances," Leyland said.

Cabrera displayed his remarkable talents under his own tough circumstances. The Tigers third baseman is dealing with numerous injuries, but you wouldn't know it by watching him in the batter's box. Cabrera launched yet another home run -- his sixth in the last eight games -- this one a three-run shot off White Sox left-hander John Danks (2-10) that erased the White Sox three-run first inning.

"It depends on who you are throwing to. Bad pitch to him," Danks said when asked if it was a good pitch. "I was trying to go a little further in the first pitch there, and he got to it. It wouldn't have been a called strike I don't think, but it doesn't have to be to be hit."

Cabrera has been playing with an abdominal strain for about three weeks, and has a black-and-blue shin after fouling balls off his leg in New York. He slid on the shin on Tuesday while trying to beat out an infield hit, but Leyland said he wanted to play on Wednesday.

"As the manager, you almost feel bad, to be honest with you, playing him, because I can see that he's hurting," Leyland said. "But he wanted to play today, and I put him in there."

That doesn't go unnoticed by Cabrera's teammates, outfielder Torii Hunter said.

"He knows his presence is everything," Hunter said. "You put Miggy in the lineup ... he can't run, but the lineup still has an effect. And Miggy knows that."

Cabrera's blast nullified a rough first inning for Porcello. The Detroit right-hander allowed five of the first seven batters to reach -- and one of the outs was Jeff Keppinger's sacrifice fly -- and gave up three runs.

Most alarmingly, Porcello needed 37 pitches to record three outs. With the Tigers coming off Tuesday's 11-inning affair and the long weekend series looming, the bullpen appeared to be heading for a busy day it couldn't afford.

"I was panicking," Leyland said. "We really didn't have a long guy today, and when he got his pitch count that high that early, it was panicville for me. But fortunately he settled in."

Porcello (9-6) did, scattering seven more hits over the next five innings to earn a quality start and save the 'pen for the upcoming series against the Royals.

"It was a tough road trip, a battle," Hunter said. "We enjoy this day and we've got five with a team that's behind us chasing us."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:42 pm

Tigers roll KC behind Dirks' bat, Anibal's arm
Leadoff man's four-hit night helps right-hander record 11th victory

By Jason Beck / | 8/16/2013 12:10 AM ET


DETROIT -- Andy Dirks isn't going to take over the Tigers' leadoff spot. Not even a four-hit game in Thursday's 4-1 win over the Royals is going to do that.

Austin Jackson will be back atop the Tigers' batting order for Friday's day-night doubleheader, just where he has been for the past four years. What matters from here is whether Dirks can take what he did on Thursday and spark a late-season tear from the sixth spot.

That's where Jhonny Peralta's suspension a week-and-a-half ago created a void. That's where Dirks can be a solution.

"He sparked us tonight," manager Jim Leyland said.

Yes, the Tigers had other reasons behind their offensive rally. Prince Fielder hit his first home run since July 24, his second since the All-Star break and just his third homer at Comerica Park since May 10, and nullified the Royals' opening inning. Miguel Cabrera drove in his 115th run of the year with a bloop single in the sixth, extending his Major League lead over Baltimore's Chris Davis.

Detroit's fourth win in nine tries against the Royals this year stretched its division lead to 6 1/2 games over Cleveland, and 8 1/2 games over the Royals. With the teams playing four more games over the next three days, the Royals have plenty of chances left to make up ground.

If the Tigers are going to be at their most dangerous, they need more out of left field than what they've been getting. They need more out of the sixth spot in the order than what they've had since Peralta's suspension. At .234 (11-for-47) with two doubles, a home run and 5 RBIs, it isn't terrible, but it isn't what they had.

Even now, Leyland won't talk about Peralta's impact. He will, however, talk about the need for more balance in the lineup.

"That's huge, to get more guys going," Leyland said.

They haven't been getting production out of Dirks. On the day they moved him out of the sixth spot by necessity, he produced more hits than he had in his other six games combined this month. It was his second four-hit game of the year, matching his total from a win on May 5 in Houston.

That game got him going on a decent May before his production plummeted in June and July. Dirks knows August could be crucial for him.

He's not predicting this as a momentum-builder, not yet. He has been through that already this year. This time, however, Dirks hit four solid line drives.

"The thing is, you have to remember sometimes you'll get a hit and you're still not right," Dirks said. "You know when you're feeling good and when you're not. When you're not feeling good, you have to battle, and it feels like I've been battling almost all year. Sometimes it's pretty frustrating, but you just can't ever give up."

The Royals used up 30 pitches from Anibal Sanchez in a first inning that included two bloop singles, one from Alex Gordon for an RBI, and a two-out walk. By the time Sanchez took the mound for the second inning, he had a 2-1 lead to protect.

Leyland had been looking to give Jackson a day out of the lineup, and Jackson's 4-for-23 history against Jeremy Guthrie provided the opening. Dirks, 5-for-16 off Guthrie, moved up and promptly delivered a leadoff single before Fielder golfed a slider into the seats in right-center field.

"I've never really cared where I hit in the order," Dirks said. "I've approached the at-bats pretty much the same. I think it was more just happenstance that my swing was feeling better today."

Dirks' leadoff double in the third went to waste on a bizarre double play in which he was run down between second and third before Torii Hunter was thrown out at second. Dirks' one-out double down the right-field line in the fifth, by contrast, set up Hunter and Cabrera for back-to-back RBI singles.

"He swung the bat well," Guthrie said of Dirks. "I tried a few different pitches and he seemed to be swinging pretty well on all of them. That's what you get from the top of their lineup. They're all tough."

Cabrera's single marked his first RBI on something other than a home run since last Friday, when he singled in Jackson to open his hitting tear at Yankee Stadium.

Baserunning miscues arguably cost the Tigers a chance to add on, from the odd double-play rundown in the third inning to Brayan Pena overrunning first base in the sixth. The way Sanchez pitched rendered the outs on the basepaths moot.

Sanchez (11-7) rolled on from his 30-pitch opening inning to enter the seventh with just 98. He retired nine Royals in a row from the fifth inning into the eighth, when Eric Hosmer's one-out single finally chased him.

On a night when the bullpen needed a rest, Sanchez provided it, allowing seven hits over 7 1/3 innings with a walk and five strikeouts for his fourth win in as many decisions.

What Dirks did could mean more well beyond this game, or this series. He isn't declaring his swing back, but he's hoping.

Tonight I felt better," he said. "I'm just going to keep trying to build on it and go from there."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson

Last edited by TigersForever on Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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