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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:32 pm

Verlander's mistakes costly in twin-bill opener
Righty outdueled by Royals southpaw Duffy despite eight solid innings

By Bobby Nightengale / | 8/16/2013 5:36 PM ET


DETROIT -- Justin Verlander has dominated the Royals throughout his career, and he was tough to hit again on Friday afternoon. However, Danny Duffy was even tougher, as he one-hit the Tigers through six innings in Detroit's 2-1 loss in the first game of Friday's day-night doubleheader at Comerica Park.

The loss ended the Tigers' 10-game winning streak at home and decreased their lead in the American League Central to six games over the Indians and 7 1/2 games over the Royals.

Duffy had a no-hit bid through 5 2/3 innings before Miguel Cabrera's infield single ricocheted off Kansas City third baseman Emilio Bonifacio's glove into shallow left field.

Duffy was making only his second Major League start of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. He walked three and hit a batter in the first three innings, but settled down to pitch six scoreless frames.

"He's special when he throws it over the plate -- especially when he gets his curveball or something offspeed on the plate, which he did some of that today," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's got one of those electric fastballs that hits 97 mph, but it's a different 97 mph than some of the other ones."

Meanwhile, Verlander was sharp, with his curveball dropping in for strikes and his fastball topping out at 98 mph. He struck out six in eight innings while walking two and allowing seven hits. Verlander has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his past four starts while striking out at least six in each of them.

"I feel that my stuff has been better, specifically my breaking ball," Verlander said. "I'm definitely happy where I'm heading going into the last month of the year and hopefully the postseason."

The Royals were able to capitalize on Verlander's few mistakes, with a solo home run by Eric Hosmer in the fourth inning and back-to-back doubles by Justin Maxwell and Bonifacio in the seventh.

For Duffy, Friday's game offered him a chance at some revenge against Verlander.

"He's handed me four of my losses in my career, and that was in the back of my mind, too," Duffy said. "So it was definitely nice. It was a huge one for us."

Detroit's offense finally struck against Kansas City reliever Aaron Crow with a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning by Ramon Santiago, his first home run since June 9, 2012, to cut the lead to 2-1.

"You just have to look for a good pitch to hit and try to get a base hit and get on base for the other guy," Santiago said. "I got a curveball there, put a good swing and hit it out."

In the ninth, Royals closer Greg Holland faced the heart of the Tigers' order. He struck out Cabrera, walked Prince Fielder and then was able to get Victor Martinez to ground into a game-ending double play.

"That's Major League pitching at its best, really," Leyland said. "The kid Duffy was tremendous. Right off the bat, it looked like he might be a little bit long, but he settled in and really had great stuff. And of course we know about their bullpen, and I thought JV was terrific."

Despite the loss, Verlander helped save Detroit's bullpen for the second game of the doubleheader. With closer Joaquin Benoit and reliever Bruce Rondon likely unavailable for both games on Friday, the Tigers couldn't afford to go into their bullpen early.

Though Verlander earned the consolation prize, that doesn't mean he has to be happy about it.

"You like to go eight [innings] and you like to preserve your bullpen and yada, yada, yada, but I like to win," Verlander said. "This is a pitchers' duel, it's tough, but you want to be on the winning side of those."

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 17, 2013 12:18 am

Tigers' bats stay ice cold in nightcap loss to KC
Alvarez tagged for big two-run homer; offense held to just four hits

By Jason Beck / | 8/17/2013 12:15 AM ET


DETROIT -- The last time the Tigers hosted the Royals for a doubleheader, they gave up 26 runs in the first game. That was in 2004. In that sense, Friday was an improvement.

That 2004 team, though, scored eight runs in the second game to salvage a split. On Friday, the Tigers never led at any point in either contest.

Kansas City didn't outslug Detroit. It outpitched the American League's best staff on a day when Tigers pitchers gave up five runs total. As a result, a Tigers team that had won 10 in a row at Comerica Park lost two on the same day.

"This is simple: We just didn't muster up enough offensively in either game," manager Jim Leyland said after a 3-0 shutout loss to the Royals that finished off a doubleheader sweep.

It wasn't a statement meant for shock value. Before the Tigers ran off a 12-game winning streak earlier this month, they had games like this. They didn't sound floored that they had two more, especially with James Shields on the mound for the nightcap.

Instead, the atmosphere in the clubhouse after the games was about as quiet as the offense during them.

"It happens sometimes," outfielder Austin Jackson said. "They've got a good pitching staff. You've got to give them credit."

Or as catcher Brayan Pena put it: "Sometimes it goes their way. Those guys, they drive Mercedes and nice cars, too."

Maybe so, but the Royals never allowed the Tigers' offense out of the garage. The atmosphere in the Royals' clubhouse, in turn, was vastly different.

"It was a huge day for us today," said Eric Hosmer, who homered in each game, including a two-run shot in Game 2, to outscore Detroit on his own.

The Tigers, who lost a 2-1 decision in the opener, hadn't been held to a lone run in a doubleheader in a dozen years. The White Sox held them to a Shane Halter RBI single over two games in a doubleheader sweep in Chicago on Sept. 4, 2001.

Detroit's lineups that day included Wendell Magee in center field in the opener, Randall Simon batting cleanup in the second game, Jose Macias batting second in both games, Halter batting fifth and sixth, Robert Fick as the designated hitter, Chris Wakeland in right field and Brandon Inge at catcher.

Friday's lineups had Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez in the middle of the order. Yet Ramon Santiago's first career pinch-hit homer, an eighth-inning leadoff shot off Aaron Crow in the opener, was the Tigers' lone tally.

Shields and Game 1 starter Danny Duffy threw 13 scoreless innings combined on four hits. They held Detroit's 3-4-5 hitters, all of whom played both games, to two hits combined, both of them from Miguel Cabrera. Moreover, Shields retired Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez in order with two on and no outs in the third inning of the nightcap.

Shields (8-8) stranded runners in scoring position in each of his first three innings, then allowed just a walk and a hit batter over his final 17 hitters.

"That was a huge momentum shifter," Shields said. "Those are three of the best hitters in the big leagues and if you get out of situations like that, you're going to have a good night."

The Tigers knew they could have a hard time with Shields, who has held Detroit to three runs or fewer four times this year. Duffy was the wild card Friday. They hadn't seen him in 16 months since he underwent Tommy John surgery last year. In just his second start back in the big leagues, Duffy held the Tigers hitless until his sixth and final inning.

"Their rotation is night-and-day different with [Ervin] Santana and Shields," Leyland said between games. "And if they get Duffy back, you're talking about lights-out."

Once Duffy outpitched Justin Verlander, the pressure was on Jose Alvarez to give Detroit a chance in the nightcap. Hosmer's tape-measure drive deep into the right-field seats off a hanging changeup was Alvarez's only scoring damage before he left in the sixth.

That came mere hours after Hosmer sent a Verlander curveball out to the opposite field to open the scoring in the day game. He became the first Royal to homer in both games of a doubleheader since Dean Palmer in 1998, the year before Palmer became a Tiger.

"I think this kid has got a chance to be a great player," Leyland said. "And it looks to me right now that he's swinging the bat as good as anybody they've got."

Santiago was the closest Detroit could come to that, though Cabrera and Fielder both hit line drives deep to left in the nightcap.

The total impact was the second doubleheader sweep of the Tigers at Comerica Park in as many years. The Twins swept them in a twin bill with a week and a half to go last season, costing them a chance to take over first place in the division. Detroit went on to win eight of its last 10 games and take the AL Central title.

Friday doesn't have nearly the same immediate impact, not with a month and a half left in the season and Detroit still on top. However, it vaults the Royals back into the race, knocking two games off their deficit to climb to 6 1/2 games back in the standings.

It also made a compelling argument that the Royals have the pitching to stick. With two more games left this series, they have the chance to do more.

"We just have to turn the page," Santiago said. "Tomorrow's another day."

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 18, 2013 1:42 am

Miggy delivers late again with walk-off homer
KC ties the game in the eighth before Cabrera's blast in the ninth

By Bobby Nightengale / | 8/18/2013 12:32 AM ET


DETROIT -- The crowd of 41,850 at Comerica Park was expecting fireworks after the game on Saturday night. Miguel Cabrera provided them a little early with a walk-off home run into the right-field seats during the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 6-5 win against the Royals.

Cabrera was 0-for-7 with two strikeouts in his career against Royals reliever Aaron Crow before hitting his 39th home run of the season. Three of Cabrera's past six homers have come in the ninth inning.

"I was struggling with this guy. I was 0-for-7; he always got me with a slider or a high fastball," Cabrera said. "I said to myself, 'Just wait for one pitch at a time. Make adjustments every pitch.' Early in the count I was looking for his slider, he threw me one and I missed it. So later I said, 'OK, he's behind in the count, so let's be aggressive and be ready for a fastball.'"

Cabrera didn't miss Crow's 96-mph fastball, helping give the Tigers a 7 1/2-game lead in the American League Central over the third-place Royals. Detroit leads the second-place Indians by six games.

"He's the best hitter I've ever seen," said Tigers starter Doug Fister, who allowed three runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings while walking two and striking out six. "He's pretty special. The guys lean on him for these great situations, and it's one of those things where he comes through for us all of the time."

Said Royals manager Ned Yost: "He hit a good pitch. Maybe three hitters in baseball that could hit that ball out of the park and he's one of 'em."

Cabrera has been battling a number of injuries for the past month but admitted that he's feeling better this week. Seven of his last 17 hits have been home runs. However, that's not to say it's been easy for him to take the field every day.

"It's a good challenge, man. People say the expectations are so high, so I push a little bit," Cabrera said. "Every game, every at-bat you want to do something good, because I think people pay for that. It's hard for us, because people pay for something. Not only me, but the whole team -- they want to see something special every night."

After being held to five hits and one run in Friday's doubleheader, the Tigers scored two runs on three hits in the first inning. Prince Fielder hit a two-out double to left-center to score Don Kelly, who singled earlier in the frame. Victor Martinez then scored Fielder on a single to left to give Detroit an early 2-0 lead.

Jose Iglesias helped the Tigers stretch their lead to 3-0 when he dropped a suicide-squeeze bunt to score Omar Infante in the second inning. The Royals responded with two runs in the third and another in the fourth to tie the game.

"It was a battle all night," Fister said. "It was one of those things that they have a great lineup over there. A lot of pesky hitters as far as putting the ball in play and fouling a lot of balls off."

Kansas City was able to tie the game in the fourth following a confusing play after Chris Getz hit a leadoff single. Fister threw a pitch that bounced in front of the plate, and it appeared Alcides Escobar fouled the ball. Catcher Brayan Pena asked home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski for a new ball, but Muchlinski said it was a wild pitch, and Getz advanced to third.

Manager Jim Leyland was subsequently ejected for arguing. Escobar then drilled an RBI double down the third-base line, scoring Getz to tie the game, which led to Pena being ejected for arguing.

Cabrera hit an RBI double to put Detroit back in the lead in the bottom of the fourth, before Salvador Perez tied the game at 4 with a solo home run in the seventh.

Fielder then gave the Tigers another lead in bottom of the seventh when he drilled a solo home run to right-center. The Royals responded with Getz's RBI single in the eighth inning that tied the game before setting the stage for Cabrera's heroics.

Fielder has two home runs in the past four games after going 82 at-bats without going deep. With Cabrera and Fielder playing to their full potential, combining for two home runs and four RBIs on Saturday, the Tigers will be tough to beat.

"It's a long season, it's like waves, you're down and up," Cabrera said about Fielder. "You find a wave to get out of it. You're swimming, going to battle, and you say, 'It's a long season.' He's one that leads our team. If he hits like he did today, I think we're going to be OK."

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 18, 2013 6:58 pm

Scherzer moves to 18-1 with win over Royals
Righty's eight innings backed by Miggy's historic blast, three RBIs

By Jason Beck / | 8/18/2013 5:57 PM ET


DETROIT -- Hours after Miguel Cabrera hit the last pitch out Saturday night, he sent the first pitch he saw out on Sunday afternoon. Like Saturday's walk-off homer, his two-run shot Sunday gave the Tigers a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

The way Max Scherzer was pitching on his way to his 18th win, he didn't need much more.

"When I'm able to give the team a chance to win, Miggy hits a bomb, the rest of the lineup does their job, that just makes us a great team," Scherzer said.

After four evenly matched games with the Royals, Sunday's 6-3 Detroit win in the rubber match was a reminder why the Tigers control the American League Central. While Kansas City is enjoying what could end up being their first winning season in 10 years, fans at Comerica Park are watching a potentially historic season on several levels. Sunday was a confluence of them, from Cabrera's continued Triple Crown chase to Scherzer's historic 18-1 record.

Even manager Jim Leyland got a reminder of that earlier this week from his good friend, Tony La Russa.

"He said, 'Make sure you're enjoying that, because it's unbelievable what you're doing,'" Leyland said. "When you're concentrating on managing and making out the lineup and pitching changes, stuff like that, sometimes you don't really get to enjoy it like a fan or a player."

He's enjoying it as a manager. Detroit took three out of five in the series, knocking Kansas City 8 1/2 games back in the AL Central. If not for Cabrera's last 24 hours, the Royals could have easily taken this series. If Cabrera needed any more evidence in his case for a second consecutive AL MVP award, this might be it.

Cabrera's 39th and 40th homers came hours apart, but on consecutive pitches. Saturday's shot was a walk-off homer off a 96-mph fastball from former All-Star reliever Aaron Crow that Cabrera sent into the right-field corner. On Sunday, he jumped a first-pitch 85-mph heater from crafty left-hander Bruce Chen and sent it deep to left.

"We wanted to stay aggressive today," Cabrera said. "We were ready to swing the bat. We scored early, and that was key."

Cabrera never had a base hit against Crow until Saturday. Sunday's drive was his fifth career homer off Chen.

"It was just a good fastball," Chen said. "It was a little up and it was away, and he shouldn't be pulling it, but he pulled it."

Cabrera hit his 40th homer of the year in Detroit's 124th game, a full month earlier than last season and earlier than any Tigers player since Hank Greenberg got there in just 109 games in 1938. Greenberg's 58 home runs that year stand as the franchise record.

Chen entered Sunday on a roll, having tossed 14 2/3 scoreless innings on eight hits over his previous two starts. Right-handed hitters were batting just .177 against him this season, victims of a cutter he could sneak in against them.

Chen tried throwing Cabrera one of those his next time up after a 68-mph breaking ball that registered as an eephus pitch on's Gameday application. Cabrera turned on the cutter and lined it into left field for a two-out single, scoring Torii Hunter from second base for his Major League-best 120th RBI and a 3-0 lead.

"If he lets it go, I think it's six or eight inches in," Chen said, "and he just made it look like I left it out over the middle of the plate."

Five of Detroit's eight hits against Chen went for extra bases, including back-to-back fifth-inning doubles from Jose Iglesias and Austin Jackson to set up Hunter for a sacrifice fly and Brayan Pena's sixth-inning RBI double over center fielder Jarrod Dyson's head to knock Chen out of the game.

Scherzer took that cushion and attacked Royals hitters with relative ease. It wasn't the high-strikeout form he has displayed for most of the year, fanning a season-low four batters over eight innings, but it might have been his best command. Not only did he not issue a walk, he reached just a handful of three-ball counts.

"For me, it was the command of the fastball," Scherzer said. "I really thought I did a great job of commanding it to both sides of the plate against lefties and righties. I felt like that allowed me to be successful in not walking anybody. When you combine it with I thought I was pitching with four pitches again -- slider, changeup and curveball were all really good today -- it allowed me to pitch efficiently and pitch deep into the game."

It also allowed him to pitch deeper into the record books. Scherzer became the fifth Major League pitcher since 1912 to win at least 18 of his first 19 decisions, according to STATS. He joined Roger Clemens as the only Major League pitchers to go 18-1 with all of their wins as starters.

Roy Face went 18-1 for the 1959 Pirates. Don Newcombe started out 18-1 on his way to a 20-5 season for the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers. Rube Marquard holds the standard with a 19-0 start for the 1912 Giants. All of them, though, had at least one win in relief.

Scherzer's next start is an All-Star Game rematch with Matt Harvey and the Mets on Saturday at Citi Field. A win there would move him within a victory of Clemens' 20-1 start with the 2001 Yankees.

"I've always said the win-loss record is a little flukey," Scherzer said. "Every time I go out, the guys are putting up runs for me, making all the plays. So I can't take credit for 18-1. I mean, It's just stupid if I were to take [credit]. The rest of my teammates are doing so much for me."

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   Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:21 am

Cabrera unable to summon magic vs. Twins
Slugger K's to end game; Porcello loses for first time since June

By Jason Beck / | 8/21/2013 12:39 AM ET


DETROIT -- The first eight innings looked like a scene out of April. The ninth inning looked like it has so often the last few weeks. The ending looked foreign.

In the end, the Tigers ended up with the matchup they wanted in their final at-bat on Tuesday night, Miguel Cabrera at the plate as the potential tying run. They just didn't get the result.

"You don't do it every single time. I mean, it just doesn't work that way," manager Jim Leyland said after Minnesota closer Glen Perkins struck out Cabrera to finish off a 6-3 Tigers loss to the Twins.

Cabrera had three ninth-inning home runs in an eight-day stretch. Perkins denied him another. As great as Cabrera has been lately, his manager felt like he had to remind people that his Triple Crown winner doesn't always hit game-tying homers.

At this point, Leyland is just hoping to have Cabrera back on Wednesday for the next opportunity. Cabrera grimaced swinging at the first pitch of the at-bat, creating a scene that flashed back to a week and a half ago at Yankee Stadium against Mariano Rivera. Cabrera didn't need a trainer, but he wasn't feeling right.

"That first swing, it looked like he reacted with some pain," Leyland said. "You could see it in his facial expression. I don't know what the situation is. I'll have to go check it. I could tell when he came up the steps he was hurting a little bit."

Technically, it took a leadoff single from Brayan Pena and a two-out walk from Perkins to Torii Hunter to set up Cabrera. Realistically, that setting was several innings in the making.

Justin Morneau reprised his Tiger killer role from five years ago with a four-hit, four-RBI game. He had struggled against Rick Porcello for his career, but he golfed a fourth-inning changeup into the right-field seats for a two-run homer in a three-run rally before doubling in two more runs off Phil Coke in the fifth.

Morneau once tormented the Tigers, hitting 10 home runs with 40 RBIs against Detroit from 2007-09, but he had struggled mightily against the American League Central champions since last year. His four hits were his most against Detroit since '09, his four RBIs matching his best games against them from '08.

"In our division, you get to see those guys so much, I think it's an advantage for the hitters," Morneau said. "We've seen guys like Porcello and Coke, who have been around. It doesn't necessarily mean you're going to have success, but you at least have an idea of what a guy has."

Porcello (9-7) gave up five runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings for his first loss since June 30. He failed to finish the fifth inning against a team other than the Angels for the first time all year. Coke's struggles against another left-handed hitter led to his option to Triple-A Toledo, where he'll finish out August before being recalled once rosters expand in September.

Pedro Florimon added an insurance run with a solo homer off Jeremy Bonderman in the sixth for a 6-1 lead. By the eighth inning, that extra tally loomed large.

Detroit had the potential tying run at the plate and setup man Jared Burton reeling in the eighth, but former Tiger Clete Thomas' snow-cone catch in shallow center field robbed Andy Dirks of a potential two-run single and gave Burton a chance to kill the rally by fanning Omar Infante.

On came Perkins for the ninth, and back came the Tigers, knowing two baserunners would allow Cabrera to step in. It took a miscue from Perkins, but they got it.

The way Cabrera has been hitting lately, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wouldn't have been blamed for walking him to load the bases and take his chances with the lefty-lefty matchup of Perkins and Prince Fielder, whose 20th home run of the year opened Detroit's scoring in the fourth.

Gardenhire thought otherwise.

"We hated the thought of Miggy coming up there," he said, "but I didn't like the thought of Prince coming up there as the [winning] run. It still took two swings to beat us -- even with Miggy up there -- but if you put Fielder up there, he can do it with one swing. And believe me, he can do it. We saw it earlier in the game."

Cabrera fouled off three consecutive 1-2 pitches to stay alive -- a fastball inside, a fastball high and a slider down and in. What was left of the crowd of 37,964 was anticipating something.

Finally, Perkins challenged him upstairs with a 96-mph fastball. Cabrera's foul tip landed in catcher Ryan Doumit's glove to end the game.

"This game is really hard. He makes it look really easy, but it's not easy at all," Fielder said of Cabrera. "Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't, but he just gets it more than most so it just looks like he's supposed to get it every time."

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   Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:49 pm

Hunter's two-run double keys Tigers' rally
Detroit scores four in seventh; Sanchez allows one run in 6 2/3 innings

By Jason Beck / | 8/22/2013 12:37 AM ET


DETROIT -- Hard to believe there was actually a pitching duel in the Tigers' 7-1 win over the Twins on Wednesday night at Comerica Park. For six innings, though, it was a scoreless battle.

It was close enough that No. 9 hitter Bryan Holaday laid down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning to move Jose Iglesias into scoring position.

It was close enough that on a night when the Tigers gave away posters celebrating Anibal Sanchez's franchise record 17-strikeout game from April, the strike he couldn't get on a seventh-inning full count to Pedro Florimon looked like the pitch that would doom him.

And after Brian Dozier's subsequent two-out RBI single opened the scoring, Sanchez was shaking his head on his way out.

"I just said, 'Good game,'" Sanchez said.

It was close enough in the bottom of the seventh that a 2-2 pitch from Kevin Correia to Torii Hunter -- a cutter in the dirt that Hunter barely fouled off -- was arguably the pitch that turned it in Detroit's favor. It could have easily been the strikeout pitch that got Correia into the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead.

"It was a cutter, splitty, something," Hunter said. "I was just trying to foul it off, because I was already committed. That's all you do, is foul it off and wait for that pitch."

The next pitch was the fastball he wanted, and Hunter lined it to right-center for a two-out, two-run double. Holaday, the sacrifice bunter from earlier whose two-out single started the rally, scored easily. And once right fielder Chris Herrmann couldn't cut off Hunter's ball in the gap, Austin Jackson scored from first without a throw to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

"I never had a chance to face him in his prime," Correia said, "And I'm glad, because it doesn't seem like he's lost much. He's a tough out."

Hunter busted out laughing when told of Correia's reaction.

"Really? Man, that's tough," Hunter said. "I guess I have to take that as a compliment. Go tell him that he's a great pitcher and not to worry, I'm a better hitter now than in my prime."

By the time the Twins recorded another out, that great pitchers' duel was unrecognizable.

Hunter showed himself to be a tough baserunner as well, scoring from second when Caleb Thielbar's strikeout pitch to Prince Fielder got away from catcher Ryan Doumit. An accurate throw likely would have retired Fielder at first base, but Doumit's toss pulled Chris Colabello off the bag.

Thielbar watched it all unfold, but he did not cover home plate, leaving it open for Hunter to round third and score without a throw.

"I've watched that guy since I was young," Thielbar said. "He used to do that stuff all the time. He's a smart baserunner and he took advantage of it."

Said Hunter: "I saw it right away."

The four-run, two-out rally, capped by Victor Martinez's RBI double, came with merely an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera, whose late-inning dramatics have been a regular saga lately.

Instead, Cabrera got his chance in the eighth, again with a two-out rally. This time, it was an error that extended the inning and loaded the bases, and it came from Dozier, whose single had put Minnesota ahead just an inning earlier.

"You miss your plays and there's another big inning for them," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It pretty much took us out of it."

Cabrera pulled a ball past third baseman Trevor Plouffe down the left-field line, clearing the bases. He bumped his league-leading RBI total to 123, seven ahead of Baltimore's Chris Davis, who padded his home-run lead with his 46th homer earlier in the evening.

"He's just one of those guys that seems to be set for the dramatic on a lot of occasions," manager Jim Leyland said. "You're not going to do it every single time."

All seven runs scored with two outs, padding Detroit's league-leading two-out RBI total to 244, 10 more than Texas. The Tigers remain last in the AL in runs scored in the seventh inning or later, but they moved ahead of Miami and Washington out of the Major League cellar.

They came too late for Sanchez, who took a no-decision after 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Drew Smyly (5-0) retired Herrmann to end the top of the seventh. Detroit's rally in the bottom of the inning allowed Smyly to join Oakland's Jerry Blevins and Atlanta's Luis Avilan as baseball's only 5-0 relievers this year.

Jose Veras finished the eighth inning when it was still a 4-1 game, then stayed on for the ninth after Detroit pulled away. His first save as a Tiger was his 20th on the season, and it came in a six-run game.

Hard as it might be to believe, it was that close.

"I was concerned, I'll tell you that," Leyland said.

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 22, 2013 9:43 pm

Jackson's blast brings Tigers back, but Twins earn win
Verlander labors through seven, allowing six runs in no-decision

By Bobby Nightengale / | 8/22/2013 6:05 PM ET


DETROIT -- Justin Verlander has been dominant against the Twins for the past three years. The Twins finally struck back, scoring six runs against the Tigers' ace. While the Tigers were able to tie the game following a four-run deficit, they ultimately fell short in a 7-6 loss on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Verlander was 7-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his last seven starts against the Twins and 9-0 in his last 10 starts against them before allowing six runs on 10 hits in seven innings Thursday. It was the most runs he's given up in a start since the Rangers scored eight against him in 2 2/3 innings on May 16.

"He just didn't have very good stuff today," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "When you score six runs with him pitching, you think you're going to win. But today he just didn't have good stuff."

After the Twins scored a run in the first inning on Chris Herrmann's RBI double, the Tigers responded with two runs of their own in the third. To lead off the frame, Bryan Holaday drilled a solo home run to left field, his first career homer and RBI.

"We were thrilled for him," Leyland said. "He's such a good kid. To get his first, that had to feel good. He had a big smile. There's not enough money to pay for that smile he had on his face when he came into the dugout, I can tell you that."

Holaday was given the customary silent treatment by the team in the dugout following his home run trot. Next, Austin Jackson singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on a single by Prince Fielder to give Detroit a 2-1 lead.

Minnesota tied the game in the fourth on a check-swing RBI single by ex-Tigers outfielder Wilkin Ramirez. In the fifth, Ryan Doumit gave the Twins a 5-2 lead with a three-run homer to right-center. Minnesota added another run in the sixth inning on an RBI double by Brian Dozier.

"One really good swing on the ball," Verlander said. "Other than that, Ramirez was kind of like, 'You've got to be kidding me.' I don't even think a first-base umpire would have called that a check swing, but it's just one of those days."

Verlander hasn't pitched to his usual dominance this season, posting a 12-9 record and 3.68 ERA. However, he had a 2.74 ERA in three starts in August before a "frustrating" outing on Thursday.

"It's been quite the grind for me all year, a real battle," Verlander said. "All in all, you look at the numbers and it could be a whole lot worse. I wouldn't call it good, I'd call it frustrating. When you're able to go out there and give your team a chance to win, I guess that's a positive you can take away from it."

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Holaday hit an RBI infield single to short before the Twins replaced starter Andrew Albers with reliever Josh Roenicke. With two runners on, Jackson pummeled a curveball over the left-field wall for a three-run homer to tie the game at 6.

"That was impressive," Verlander said. "A lot of teams could have let down right there, but these guys battled back and got us right back in the ballgame. It's unfortunate that we lost, but we showed a lot of resiliency and might today."

In the eighth inning against reliever Drew Smyly, Herrmann hit his second RBI double that dropped in front of Jackson in center field, giving Minnesota a 7-6 advantage.

"It was a breaking ball for a strike," Smyly said. "Probably could be lower, but they put it in play and it kind of knuckled off the bat. It was a tough play. It's baseball, sometimes it goes the other team's way."

"I know he hit it pretty good, so I was going to make the play in the gap," Jackson said. "The ball just started taking off toward right field more and just down real hard. I think me and [right fielder] Torii [Hunter] both thought it was a ball that we'd be able to get to."

The Tigers threatened in the ninth once Miguel Cabrera, who bloodied his pants after scraping his knee diving for a ball in the fourth inning, drew a one-out walk. Fielder followed with a single before Victor Martinez grounded into a game-ending double play.

"It was another crazy game here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "With that offense, it can come up quick on you. It looked like we had a pretty comfortable lead here. We had two outs and they had a couple of balls roll through, and next thing you know, a three-run homer and it's a tie game again. Fortunately for us, Herrmann came up with a big hit for us."

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 24, 2013 12:38 am

Trio of homers helps Fister cruise against Mets
Miggy unloads No. 41 off Dice-K; Hunter, Jackson add to Tigers' haul

By Chris Iseman / | 8/24/2013 12:05 AM ET


NEW YORK -- The Tigers stepped to the plate on Friday not knowing what to expect. Daisuke Matsuzaka hasn't pitched on a Major League mound since October, and until Friday spent this season pitching for Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate. The type of arsenal Matsuzaka currently possesses was a mystery.

Detroit found out quickly and took advantage.

"I didn't know what to expect," Torii Hunter said. "I just went up there and tried to see how his ball was moving and different things like that. I was able to capitalize on some mistakes that he made."

Hunter's first-inning solo home run sparked the Tigers' offense, which followed the right fielder's lead. Detroit scored five runs in the first two innings, including a long three-run home run off the bat of Miguel Cabrera, to cruise to a 6-1 victory over the Mets.

Austin Jackson also had a solo home run in the seventh inning, his 11th of the season.

Doug Fister hardly needed all that support. The right-hander allowed one run on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked two batters while striking out four to earn his 11th win of the season.

The Mets signed Matsuzaka on Thursday after the Indians granted him his release Tuesday and immediately slid him into the rotation to start Friday's series opener against the Tigers, who provided Fister with a cushion before he took the mound.

"For me, it's constantly a 0-0 ballgame in my head, but it's definitely a team lifter and definitely a confidence booster for the team," Fister said. "Everybody is able to play loose and play together."

With one out in the first inning, Hunter homered into the left-field stands. Then Cabrera and Prince Fielder each singled, but Matsuzaka retired Victor Martinez and Don Kelly to end the inning.

But Detroit continued slugging in the second.

Omar Infante led off the frame with a single, and two batters later, Fister moved him over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Jackson walked, and Hunter hit a ground-rule double to drive in Infante, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Then Cabrera delivered the hit that would essentially seal the win for Detroit.

"Cabrera is a tough hitter to face for any pitcher," Matsuzaka said. "It was hard to figure it out how to face him."

Matsuzaka said he threw a two-seam fastball that wasn't necessarily a bad pitch, but Cabrera's simply a remarkable hitter. The third baseman crushed the offering into the left-field stands for a three-run home run -- his 41st of the season -- to put Detroit up, 5-1.

"We focus on that," Cabrera said, "getting run support to our pitchers and trying to get a chance to win."

This was Cabrera's 19th game this season with three or more RBIs, which leads the Major Leagues and is tied for fourth most by a Detroit player in a season since 1916. It's also the most in the big leagues since Ryan Howard finished with 21 three-plus RBI games in 2009.

"Cabrera came through with the big three-run homer to give us a little cushion," Hunter said. "It was a comfortable lead, but in baseball, no lead is safe."

The way Fister pitched, though, this lead was plenty safe.

The Mets scored their only run against Fister on an RBI single by Marlon Byrd in the first inning, limited by the right-hander the rest of the way.

Fister allowed consecutive two-out singles to Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares in the fourth inning, then retired Travis d'Arnaud to end the inning. Fister also allowed a leadoff double to Byrd in the sixth and gave up a single to Flores two batters later.

But Fister again worked out of trouble by getting Lagares to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Starting at catcher for the first time in two years, Martinez showed no signs of rustiness behind the plate. He and Fister were in sync, and it showed as Fister stifled the Mets' lineup.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland started Martinez -- normally the team's designated hitter -- so the team didn't lose his bat in the National League ballpark.

"He did great," Leyland said. "He caught the ball well, he made a couple nice plays, he blocked the ball well. He did fine."

Matsuzaka has had success against Detroit during his career. Entering Friday's game, he was 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six starts against the Tigers. But those starts were back when Matsuzaka was a solid starter for the Red Sox. His last win against Detroit came on June 2, 2009.

The hot-hitting Tigers made sure he didn't pick up another win against them.

"You never know when you haven't seen a guy for a while, but I thought we did a good job," Leyland said. "We did what we do when we're pretty good: We hit it in the gaps and over the fence, and that's what we did."

Chris Iseman 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 24, 2013 11:01 pm

Scherzer's gritty effort in duel nets win No. 19
Righty issues season-high four walks, but triumphs in ASG rematch

By Chris Iseman / | 8/24/2013 9:08 PM ET


NEW YORK -- Max Scherzer wore a wide smile as he spoke in front of his locker. Teammates tossed jokes around, teasing their starter about his performance on Saturday. Scherzer said he was sending text messages out about his latest accomplishment.

It had nothing to do with his stellar work on the mound in the Tigers' 3-0 win over the Mets at Citi Field.

With one out in the second inning, Scherzer laced a 96-mph fastball from Mets ace Matt Harvey into the gap in left-center field for an RBI double to give the Tigers an early lead.

"They were going nuts. They were laughing so hard," Scherzer said of his teammates. "They're laughing at me because I got the hit, but they also realized it was an important part of the game to get a hit in that situation."

On the mound, Scherzer threw another gem. Scherzer allowed three hits over six scoreless innings. While he walked four batters for the first time this season, he struck out 11.

Some long at-bats, including a 12-pitch battle with Juan Lagares that resulted in a walk, ran up Scherzer's pitch count, and the right-hander departed the game after throwing 118 pitches.

But with the victory, Scherzer is 19-1. He's the third pitcher in Major League history to win 19 of his first 20 decisions, joining Rube Marquard (1912) and Roger Clemens (2001).

"For me, every time I go out, I seem to pitch well. More importantly, our defense makes plays behind us," Scherzer said. "We always seem to get the big hit. Everybody through the lineup plays well every time I take the mound, and that's the reason I'm 19-1 -- not because I'm pitching well, but because everyone else is stepping up and doing their job."

On Saturday, Scherzer represented one half of a historic pitching matchup. The other half stood in the form of Harvey. For the first time, a pair of All-Star Game starters opposed each other in the same regular season.

Harvey, though, couldn't match Scherzer.

The Tigers jumped on Harvey, who allowed a career-high 13 hits over 6 2/3 innings, quickly. Omar Infante and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back singles in the first inning, but Harvey managed to retire the next two batters to escape trouble.

But he couldn't do the same in the second.

Andy Dirks led off with a double, and Brayan Pena singled. Two batters later, in his first plate appearance of the season, Scherzer came through with his double. It was Scherzer's first hit since 2009, when he was pitching for Arizona.

Austin Jackson then drove in Pena with a single to make it 2-0. The Tigers tacked on another on a sacrifice fly by Don Kelly in the ninth inning.

"I thought the hitters did a good job of executing, because you know Harvey's going to attack. That's what he's going to do," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "We just tried to counterattack. We tried to be aggressive and attack back. We did enough -- it wasn't like we did a lot."

After allowing a leadoff single to Ike Davis in the second, Scherzer retired the next eight batters he faced. Seven of those outs came on strikeouts.

Scherzer ran into trouble in the sixth inning. Still, he never broke completely.

"If you get a strike, you've got to put a swing on it. Because against guys like Max Scherzer, you're not going to get many of them," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You're not going to get many good pitches to hit. When you get a good one, you better swing at it."

Daniel Murphy led off the frame with a single, and Davis doubled two hitters later. Scherzer walked Wilmer Flores to load the bases with one out. With his pitch count past 100, Scherzer seemed to be losing effectiveness.

But he found it again in the biggest spot of the game. Scherzer struck out Lagares, and induced a popout by John Buck to work out of the bases-loaded jam.

"I pitched well today, but I didn't pitch efficiently," Scherzer said. "There were too many times where I was pitching deep into a count, leading myself to 3-2, issued four walks and that's something that always frustrates me. Throughout the game, I continued to make good pitches when I needed to. I made big pitches there in the sixth."

Jose Alvarez, Jose Veras and Joaquin Benoit combined for three scoreless innings in relief.

Scherzer started the game as half of history, but finished it with his own historic accomplishment of becoming 19-1.

And that doesn't even account for his production at the plate.

"Max played the game himself," Torii Hunter said. "He pitched, he hit. He's the modern-day Babe Ruth."

Chris Iseman 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 25, 2013 7:14 pm

Dirks, Miggy power Tigers to Big Apple sweep
Cabrera hit No. 42; Porcello pitches seven solid innings against Mets

By Chris Iseman / | 8/25/2013 6:01 PM ET


NEW YORK -- In two of their three games this weekend at Citi Field, the Tigers opposed two of the Mets' top starters. On Saturday, Detroit turned Matt Harvey into a hittable pitcher for at least one day. Then on Sunday, the Tigers drew Dillon Gee, a pitcher who features a different style than Harvey and thrives on precision rather than velocity.

"I really think that the matchup yesterday really got the hitters pumped up, because they knew it could be a real tough day," manager Jim Leyland said. "I thought it really -- not to say that they don't concentrate other times -- but I think they really locked in with their concentration and I think it carried over to today."

Just as it did against Harvey, Detroit jumped on Gee early to continue its hot hitting in an 11-3 win over the Mets to complete a three-game sweep. While they took a one-run lead into the ninth inning, the Tigers broke the game open against LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison to turn the game into a blowout. Eight straight batters reached in the frame, including seven on singles.

Despite the victory, the Tigers couldn't pick up any ground on Cleveland in the American League Central, as the Indians beat the Twins on Sunday to remain six games behind Detroit.

Gee allowed a season-high tying 10 hits to the Tigers, one day after Harvey gave up a career high of 13. Overall, Detroit had 15 hits Saturday and 18 on Sunday. The last team to have consecutive 15-hit games against the Mets in New York was Montreal in 1986.

"You're talking about Matt Harvey -- he's one of the best pitchers in the game, and we were able to get two runs off of him," Torii Hunter said. "Gee is no slouch, either. I think he knows how to pitch. He has a clue of what's going on up there."

While Rick Porcello wasn't quite as stifling as Doug Fister and Max Scherzer in the previous two games, he pitched well enough to limit the Mets. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits over seven innings. He walked three batters while striking out four.

The Tigers gave him immediate run support.

In the first inning, Miguel Cabrera slugged a 2-0 pitch from Gee into the second deck in left field for a two-run home run to give the Tigers a quick 2-0 lead. It was Cabrera's 42nd home run of the season.

"You can't get them out the same way twice. You have to keep trying to mix and match, and keep them guessing," Gee said. "It helps when you can command, too, and you're not behind a lot. I feel like I was behind a lot of guys, wasn't throwing any of the off-speed stuff for strikes, and it makes it tough facing a team like that."

The Mets scored their first run in the third inning, when Daniel Murphy hit an RBI single to cut Detroit's lead to 2-1.

In the bottom of the fourth, Porcello gave up a two-run home run to Travis d'Arnaud -- his first Major League homer -- that gave the Mets a 3-2 lead.

Both of those innings began with Porcello giving up leadoff walks. The New Jersey native, who had family, friends and former coaches in the stands at Citi Field, said that was something that bothered him.

"Really frustrating. I want to make them hit the ball and put the ball in play," Porcello said. "They get a hit, then they earned it. But giving them free passes is something I look at myself tonight, and the runs I gave up were a result of walking guys."

But the Mets' lead turned out to be brief.

Victor Martinez, who was Detroit's starting catcher for the second time in three games, led off the sixth inning with a single. Andy Dirks then turned around an 0-1 offering from Gee, hitting it over the right-field wall to push the Tigers back ahead, 4-3.

That's how the score would stay until the Tigers' big ninth. A one-run lead turned into an eight-run lead, punctuating a strong offensive series for Detroit.

"When it's clutch time, I think these guys are very professional," Hunter said. "They bear down and try to get some insurance runs, because no lead is safe until that last out."

For three games, the last two especially, the Tigers grinded out at-bats and put together huge performances at the plate. Leyland said the consistency of his entire lineup was as good as it's been all year.

Detroit saw two of the Mets' best starters, but looked anything but overmatched.

"I thought Gee was really good. He really knows how to pitch. He's not overpowering but he has a great feel for pitching," Leyland said. "I was very impressed with him, and of course, the kid yesterday.

"We were pretty fortunate."

Chris Iseman 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 27, 2013 2:00 am

Tigers get power, but pitching falters in loss to A's
Cabrera, Infante, V-Mart homer; Indians gain half-game in AL Central

By Jason Beck / | 8/27/2013 12:49 AM ET


DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera once again showed the power to tie a game up for the Tigers. He has very little control over getting a shutdown inning afterwards. And that's what Detroit lacked against Oakland on Monday night.

Yes, they had a few more chances to come back late before finally falling to an 8-6 loss at Comerica Park. But it was always about coming back. It was never about pulling ahead, though the Tigers had the potential go-ahead run at the plate in back-to-back innings.

It was about trying to hold the A's down.

"We just didn't pitch good tonight," manager Jim Leyland said. "Plus we let them add on runs."

In some variation, that was Leyland's answer to most of the questions at his postgame media session. He said the first part eight times in just under three minutes. It was fitting after how regularly the A's answered Detroit's rallies.

Cabrera's 43rd home run of the year in the fifth was the second game-tying two-run homer of the evening. Just as with Omar Infante's homer earlier, the A's answered with runs the very next inning, using a two-run sixth to pull ahead for good.

A couple runs later, the A's had the highest run total off Tigers pitching since July 9, when the White Sox put up 11 runs off Justin Verlander and the bullpen. Six of the runs on July 9 came off relievers; the four runs off the Tigers' bullpen on Monday was the most runs allowed since.

Detroit's fifth loss in its last eight home games whittled its lead in the AL Central by half a game, down to 5 1/2 games over idle Cleveland.

"They fought through the end. There's no question about what happened with us today," said starter Anibal Sanchez. "We're in a big series right now. We're in the first game of four games. We have to continue to play hard. We're winning a lot of games right now and we need to continue to play hard."

The numbers off Sanchez showed just how rare his night was. He hadn't given up more than two runs in a game since July 11, a seven-start stretch in which he gave up two runs or fewer over six innings or more every time out. The stinginess had dropped his ERA to 2.45, lowest in the AL.

Three first-inning hits led to two runs and forced Detroit to play catch up from the outset. Two big swings off Oakland starter A.J. Griffin were equalizers, but temporary.

Griffin came to town with a 3.84 ERA despite leading the Majors with 30 home runs allowed. A two-strike fastball up to Infante, who had barely fouled off a 68 mph breaking ball on the previous pitch, bumped up that homer total. It also tied the game at 2.

The deadlock lasted one batter into the third before Coco Crisp sent a Sanchez pitch into the right-field tunnel for his fourth homer in five games and his 14th on the year.

"He's a smart guy," Sanchez said. "I think he waited for one pitch and hoped we'd throw it, especially in a bad location."

Sanchez hadn't walked more than two batters in a game since he walked five on July 19. His consecutive walks in the fourth, plus a leadoff walk in the fifth, reflected both his struggles with command and a patient approach from Oakland hitters to wait him out.

"With the way that he's been pitching lately, I think it was big for us to be selective and lay off his changeup out of the zone," said Daric Barton, whose RBI single was the only ball put in play against Sanchez among the last nine batters he faced, buried among three walks and five strikeouts.

"He was just totally out of sync for whatever reason," Leyland said. "Certainly you're allowed to have those. He's been absolutely fantastic. That's one of those games where it just wasn't his day."

Sanchez used up 112 pitches over five innings, but kept it a 4-2 game. It wasn't enough to convince Griffin to walk Cabrera on a 3-1 count with two outs in the fifth. Griffin tried to put a breaking ball around the outside corner, but it wasn't far enough off the plate for Cabrera, who sent it out to right to tie it again.

Cabrera's third home run in four days moved him within three of Baltimore's Chris Davis for the AL lead in the only Triple Crown category he still trails.

With Sanchez off the hook and a combination of left-handed batters and switch-hitters due up for Oakland, lefty Jose Alvarez entered hoping to hold the game in the sixth. The A's pounced for four singles, including another RBI each for Barton and Crisp. Oakland's only out off Alvarez (1-4) came on a sacrifice-bunt attempt.

Alberto Callaspo's seventh-inning RBI single off Al Alburquerque stretched the lead to 7-4, yet it still almost wasn't enough. As Cabrera stepped to the plate again in the bottom half, he represented the potential tying run thanks to a two-out walk to Austin Jackson and a Torii Hunter bloop single off Danny Otero. This time, the A's walked Cabrera after he watched two pitches off the outside corner.

Oakland took its chances with Prince Fielder, sending in lefty Sean Doolittle to face him. Fielder's brief pause at the plate when he hit his ball to left-center raised some hopes that it might carry into the gap. Crisp, cutting across center field after playing Fielder to pull, dashed those hopes quickly.

"I hit it good," Fielder said. "Well-hit ball, but just better defense."

Victor Martinez, who had just missed a home run in the sixth, hit his 11th of the year in the eighth to cut the lead back to three, setting up Hunter as the potential go-ahead run in the eighth before Ryan Cook struck him out. One more rally in the ninth plated Fielder before Grant Balfour left the tying run at the plate with Matt Tuiasosopo and Infante groundouts for his 33rd save.

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   Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:33 am

Verlander off his game in rain-shortened loss to A's
Righty allows four hits, but three plate runs; contest called after delay

By Jason Beck / | 8/28/2013 12:28 AM ET


DETROIT -- Justin Verlander's opening inning lasted 25 minutes and 44 pitches, the most he has thrown in a single inning in his career. His actual downfall Tuesday night took longer than that.

By the time A's cleanup hitter Brandon Moss hit his go-ahead home run with two outs in the fifth, it felt much later. The way the rain was falling, it felt like a go-ahead homer in the ninth.

If the pace didn't give off enough of that feeling, the steady rain did. It began in the second inning and continued until the umpires called the game in the sixth for a 6-3 Tigers loss.

"We both had our chances," manager Jim Leyland said. "They took advantage."

Detroit's second consecutive defeat to Oakland sent Verlander to double-digit losses for the first time since 2008, yet it felt more like a 2010 type of outing for him. He had long early innings seemingly with regularity that year, only to recover with quick middle innings.

Verlander averaged around 6 2/3 innings a start that year. He averaged better than seven innings a start in 2011 and '12. With Tuesday's five innings, he's averaging just over six innings a start this season.

In the end, as rough as Verlander looked in the outset, the difference came down to Moss' two-run homer on a hanging changeup Verlander was struggling to grip.

"I felt like I got in a pretty good groove there, getting some quick outs. And then, unfortunately, a changeup didn't do anything," Verlander said. "I was drenched. Literally my fingers were like I just got out of the bathtub."

Cleveland's loss in Atlanta meant Detroit didn't surrender any ground in the AL Central. The Tigers remain 5 1/2 games up in the division.

Verlander (12-10), meanwhile, remains an enigma for the defending AL champions. After a stretch in which the former Cy Young and MVP seemed to regain his old form, Tuesday marked his second consecutive non-quality start, and sent him to double-digit losses for the first time since 2008 and just the second time in his career. Unlike last Thursday against the Twins, however, his damage wasn't an abundance of base hits, just big ones when the A's needed them.

Oakland totaled four hits on Verlander over his five innings. Three of those hits drove in runs. All three plated a runner that had reached base without a base hit.

His stuff wasn't particularly good, which explains the three walks, two of which set up runs. On this night, at least, neither was his luck, which is partly why he paid so dearly for the stuff.

"You never quite know what's going to happen until you step on the rubber in the game, no matter how good your control is in the bullpen," Verlander said. "That could always be different in the game, and today was one of those examples. (I) was pretty sharp in the bullpen, then came out there and wasn't quite able to find it."

The A's fouled off 13 of Verlander's 44 first-inning pitches, six fouls coming during the three-batter sequence that put Verlander on the defensive from the outset. He was ahead on Coco Crisp, Josh Donaldson and Jed Lowrie and ended up watching all of them reach base.

Crisp worked out of a 1-2 count for a walk. Donaldson escaped an 0-2 hole to line a single to right. Lowrie fouled off three pitches before his popup fell just inside the foul line in short right field for a two-run double.

By the time Verlander took the mound for the second, he had a lead to protect, thanks to Prince Fielder's two-run single and an Alberto Callaspo error on Omar Infante's two-out ground ball. Verlander sent down the side in order in the second and recorded two quick outs in the third, seemingly in command.

It was a throwback to the pitch-conservation mode that had saved Verlander so many times a few years back. In this case, it allowed Verlander to feel his mechanics were in order.

"When I started slowing down a little bit and just trying to pitch to contact and lower my pitch count -- and [pitching coach Jeff Jones] said he saw it, and I felt it -- there were times when it felt great," Verlander said. "There's a series of pitches where it's like, 'That's it.' And then there'd be one or two where I feel like my arm's a little late."

That two-out situation in the third inning was one of those, with Verlander falling victim to two hitters he struck out in the first. He had a 1-2 count on Moss, who fouled off back-to-back fastballs to stay alive, then lost a curveball off the plate and a fastball up to walk him.

Yoenis Cespedes fell back into an 0-2 count, setting himself up to chase another 96-mph fastball high. This time, however, Verlander didn't get it in, putting it over the plate instead. Cespedes lined it into the left-field corner for an RBI double and a 3-3 game.

"When you're a starting pitcher, everything's about consistency. You need to be able to repeat," Verlander said. "I know that, and it's just a matter of getting there."

Moss came back up in the fifth thanks to an Infante error with one out on a Donaldson grounder. The Tigers had retired Donaldson at second on a Lowrie ground ball, but couldn't get the double play.

The first changeup to Moss was down and away. The second one wasn't.

"The second at-bat did a lot for my confidence against him, as far as knowing I was able to battle him a bit," Moss said. "There was a changeup first pitch, a really good one, and he came back with one that didn't have that same bite to it. It just stayed up, and I swung as hard as I could, and luckily it got out at least by a few feet."

Given the weather, it was a fifth-inning homer that felt like a game-winner. Four batters and a Seth Smith homer into the sixth, with Bruce Rondon slipping off the mound and tweaking his back, the umpires called for the tarp. Like Verlander's fateful changeup, they never came back.

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 29, 2013 12:01 am

Tigers can't slow down red-hot A's in Detroit
Fister allows seven runs in loss, and bullpen doesn't fare any better

By Bobby Nightengale / | 8/28/2013 11:40 PM ET


DETROIT -- It was the same story, but a different day. The Athletics were able to knock around a Tigers starter for the third time this series -- this time scoring seven runs on Doug Fister -- on their way to a 14-4 win over Detroit on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

The 28 runs scored by Oakland in this series are the most allowed by Detroit in any three-game stretch this season. The Tigers' starting pitchers have given up 14 earned runs on 22 hits in 15 innings in the three games.

The bullpen hasn't fared any better against the Athletics this week, allowing 12 earned runs on 18 hits in eight innings. It has raised the bullpen's team ERA from 3.68 at the beginning of this four-game set to 3.89.

"The last couple games have been like nightmares," catcher Alex Avila said. "With the rain yesterday, and then today we just got our butts kicked."

Oakland was able to bash 21 hits on Wednesday, including five doubles and two home runs. It was the second-highest amount of hits the Tigers have given up this season, exceeded only when Detroit allowed 23 hits to the White Sox on July 9.

"You credit them a lot, and to be honest with you, we've made a lot of bad pitches and they've hit some good pitches," manager Jim Leyland said. "They're swinging the bats right now. They're hot. They came in here real aggressive and they've beat up on us for the first three games, to say the least."

The A's used five consecutive singles to begin the second inning -- scoring runs on base hits by Eric Sogard and Kurt Suzuki as well as a sacrifice fly by Josh Donaldson -- to take a 3-0 lead.

Fister entered Wednesday with the fourth-highest groundball/flyball ratio (2.39) in the Major Leagues, but he wasn't able to force A's hitters into a single ground ball, on a hit or out, until his 14th batter into the game.

"Fister today was just a little up, not as sharp with the sinker as he has been pretty much the last few months," Avila said. "It definitely was not one of his best starts and not like him today. It was kind of like a hiccup. Get it over with and move on from there. For a guy that relies on ground balls, he was up in the zone a little bit too much."

Torii Hunter responded in the third inning with a solo blast to left field, his third career homer against Oakland starter Dan Straily. Hunter has eight home runs after the All-Star break, topping his total of seven in the first half.

Hunter singled in the first inning and doubled in the fifth, falling a triple short of the cycle for the second time this year.

"Well, we lost. That's all that matters," Hunter said. "No matter what I did on the field, or what anybody did, we lost. The 'W' is all I care about. We got beat down real bad. It was an ugly game."

It was a 3-1 game until Oakland drilled six more hits against Fister in the fifth inning, including an RBI double by Brandon Moss and RBI singles by Yoenis Cespedes, Alberto Callaspo and Sogard.

"I can't explain what the problems were or what went wrong," Fister said. "I just know I've got to do a better job. I can't go out there and give up seven runs in five innings. I have to give our team a chance to win, and that's not doing it."

Fister allowed a season-high seven runs on 13 hits over five innings. It was his shortest outing since a disastrous start against the Red Sox on June 21, when he gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings.

The Athletics added three more runs off reliever Jose Alvarez in the sixth to increase their lead to 10-1. Suzuki scored after a leadoff single on a two-out double by Jed Lowrie. Next, Moss hit a two-run home run to right-center. In the eighth inning, Oakland scored four more runs, capped by a three-run homer by Moss.

"We've been struggling for those add-on runs all year, and these last three games, we've been really good about keeping the pedal down and putting together quality at-bats throughout, crooked numbers," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It can be contagious at times. I don't know how we're doing it against starters we've faced here the last three days, but we'll take it."

The Tigers entered this series coming off a three-game sweep against the Mets, while Oakland had lost four of its past five games.

"When a team is hot, that's what it looks like," Hunter said. "We've had our stints where we were playing pretty well, we were pretty hot, and right now it's just our turn. Right now we're the bug and not the windshield."

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   Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:19 am

Torii stuns A's, picks up Scherzer in walk-off
Vet knocks two-out, three-run shot; righty gets no-decision

By Jason Beck / | 8/29/2013 7:36 PM ET


DETROIT -- Max Scherzer has spent weeks insisting his historic win-loss record is a team accomplishment. His no-decision Thursday might have been his best evidence yet.

He was in the video room, watching the ninth inning of a game he left with a five-run deficit, when Torii Hunter hit the walk-off, three-run homer that completed the Tigers' largest comeback of the season and a 7-6 win over the A's.

"Torii bailed me out," Scherzer said.

He heard the crowd reaction before he saw the shot. His reaction was similarly delayed. Hunter had already been mobbed on the field and doused during a postgame television interview when he climbed the steps to the clubhouse and found Scherzer.

"He was jumping up and down when I came upstairs," Hunter said. "He hugged me so tight I couldn't even breathe, so I'm sure he's excited."

He wasn't the only one.

"Justin Verlander actually told me before that inning that I was going to hit a walk-off home run to win the game," Hunter said.

The Tigers were an out away from suffering their first four-game series sweep at Comerica Park since 2004 and heading into a weekend series against Cleveland with the Indians potentially back in a race for the American League Central. Hunter's shot salvaged a game in the series, and it gave Scherzer another chance at a 20-1 record when he takes the mound against the Red Sox Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Yet that walk-off homer arguably meant a lot more than that.

Three weeks after they tormented Mariano Rivera twice in three days at Yankee Stadium, they teed off on another All-Star closer. And the team that couldn't seem to hit the opposing bullpen for the first half of the year gave another reminder that they play until the last out, whether Miguel Cabrera's batting or not.

"You just can't give up," Hunter said. "We're still professional players. You just can't give up. You have to keep battling.

"Baseball is a crazy game. Anything can happen. As long as you have outs left, anything can happen, and we had some outs left, and we were able to capitalize on them."

Hunter's homer ranks fairly high on the craziness scale. The last walk-off homer he hit was off former Indians closer Joe Borowski five years ago. He hit a walkoff shot against the Tigers in 2004, and he hit a walkoff single for the Tigers on August 4. This, however, was something else.

The A's had the Tigers down -- not just for eight innings, but for the 24 that preceded. Detroit led for just three of the 36 total innings in this series, and the 34 runs Oakland scored marked the most off Detroit pitching in any four-game stretch since July 2011.

The A's thumped Scherzer more than any team had this year, including six extra-base hits, and Brandon Moss' fourth home run in three days. Scherzer left after just five innings, his quickest exit since April 24, with a 6-1 deficit.

"That's probably the best baseball I've seen the A's ever play, and that's major kudos to them," Scherzer said. "They made the playoffs, beat Texas last year [for the AL West title], and I thought what they were able to do the first three games was absolutely remarkable. Even what they were able to do against me, I tip my hat to them. They hit some good pitches. They hit some bad pitches, as well."

Luke Putkonen, recalled from Triple-A Thursday morning to provide a fresh arm in the bullpen just in case, was left to fill some innings and try to hold down an A's offense no one else could contain. He struck out four batters over two innings while stranding two runners after singles.

"I just wanted to come in and put up a couple zeroes," Putkonen said.

The Tigers, meanwhile, began to hit once Bartolo Colon left after five innings of one-run ball. Prince Fielder's 21st home run of the year started a sixth-inning rally that included a Ramon Santiago RBI single to make it a 6-3 game.

The rest of the damage came in the ninth off Balfour, who had converted 33 of his previous 34 save chances. A four-pitch leadoff walk to Austin Jackson, though, set him up for trouble.

"I had nothing," Balfour said later. "I didn't have a good fastball. I didn't have a breaking ball. I went out there with nothing, to be honest. I knew that warming up in the 'pen. I just had to tell myself, 'All right, let's go.'"

Balfour fell behind both Andy Dirks and pinch-hitter Alex Avila, but retired both to leave the Tigers to their last out and no Cabrera, who left after five innings with abdominal discomfort trying to stretch a single into a double. He is day to day and expects to play Friday.

Fielder represented Detroit's last hope, but he didn't see a strike from Balfour in a four-pitch walk that brought up Victor Martinez as the potential tying run. He fell into an 0-2 hole, but lined an RBI single into short center field.

"I was one pitch away," Balfour said. "I had him looking away there, and I came in, and thought I made a pretty good pitch, but he fought it and dumps it into center field."

Martinez knew it.

"Just put the ball in play, that's it," he said of his aim. "I didn't want to strike out looking."

Up came Hunter, who was supposed to be off. He had pinch-hit and grounded out as the potential tying run in the seventh. He knew Balfour as a division rival for the previous couple of years, and he knew what to look for.

A hanging slider on a 1-1 pitch gave him his chance. It wasn't what Hunter was looking for, but it was something he could pull.

"I was looking fastball," Hunter said, "and I saw the spin and just made the adjustment from there."

Said manager Jim Leyland: "When he first hit it, I thought it was out. But when I saw the left fielder looking kind of strange, I thought, 'That ball has to be gone, doesn't it?' Obviously, it was."

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 31, 2013 1:39 am

Tigers still have Tribe's number, even without Miggy
Bourn's misplay on V-Mart's double highlights scoring before delay

By Jason Beck / | 8/31/2013 1:30 AM ET


DETROIT -- The Tigers have had their issues this week, and they might have a major one if Miguel Cabrera's abdominal discomfort continues to hamper him. In the end, though, they still have the Cleveland Indians' number.

And with Friday's 7-2 win at Comerica Park -- called after an hour, nine-minute rain delay that ended play after seven innings -- the Tigers now have a 7 1/2-game lead on Cleveland in the American League Central with AL ERA leader Anibal Sanchez set to face the Indians on Saturday night.

A win Saturday would mean Detroit's largest lead of the year. Even if it's too early to discuss magic numbers, the Tigers have a spell on their closest pursuers.

"I said before the game, we have to just play these games. Cleveland's here," manager Jim Leyland said. "We won the first one, but we just have to keep grinding. There's a lot of baseball left. It's nice that we got a win, but that's just what it is."

They're 14-3 against the Indians this year, and the lopsidedness is the difference in the division race. If it was 10-7 instead of 14-3, the Tribe would be on top. Against all other opponents, Cleveland has outplayed Detroit.

Against each other, the results are no contest.

"They're a good team," Tribe center fielder Michael Bourn said. "I'm not going to take anything away from them. It's not like they're getting lucky all of the time. They're good. They got a good team. That's why they're at the top of the division. We just have to find a way to try to beat them.

"It's not like we lose by a lot. It got open a little bit tonight, but most of the time we play them, it's a 3-1 game, a 5-3 game. One little play is the difference."

The Tigers' four-game sweep in Cleveland a few weeks ago had plenty of those, from Alex Avila's go-ahead home run off Chris Perez to Cabrera's tape-measure shot off Danny Salazar a couple nights later. On Friday, Bourn's misplay on Victor Martinez's two-run double in a four-run third inning might well be a microcosm for the way these two teams have matched up.

Austin Jackson's RBI single had already broken a 1-1 tie in the third inning before Martinez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. His fly ball on a 2-0 pitch from Tribe starter Zach McAllister (7-8) sent Bourn, who has run down several drives off Tiger bats this season, heading to right-center field.

Bourn raised his arms in confusion as he looked up to try to find the ball, but the degree of that confusion didn't become apparent until the ball fell in left-center, several yards away. Martinez rolled into second base as Jackson and Andy Dirks, who entered the game in Cabrera's spot, scored easily.

"That's one of those unfortunate things that went in our favor," Leyland said. "That happens. We remind our guys all the time about helping, pointing out. I'm sure they did. It's just one of those things. You can talk about that all the time, but sometimes that just can't be helped."

A fielder's choice grounder from Avila two batters later scored Prince Fielder, building a 5-1 lead that Rick Porcello (11-7) protected over 5 2/3 innings despite flu-like symptoms.

If Martinez's double doesn't signify the rivalry enough, though, the play on which the Indians opened the scoring might suffice.

Back-to-back hits from Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley in the second put runners at the corners with nobody out, giving the Indians an opportunity for a breakout inning. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a ground ball toward the hole on the left side of the infield, but his Detroit counterpart at shortstop, Jose Iglesias, made a diving stop to his right and threw from his knees to start a double play.

Santana scored a run, but the double play prevented at least another.

"That's probably going to be second and third again with nobody out, or first and third at worst," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That was just an unbelievable play. Good players sometimes make good plays. That hurt."

Iglesias, who played for Francona two years ago in Boston, didn't downplay the importance.

"It was a good play, a good double play for us," he said. "We got out of it."

Nor did his current manager.

"That turned the whole game around for me," Leyland said. "It was an unbelievable play."

Porcello gave up a second run after Al Alburquerque replaced him in the sixth and allowed an inherited runner to score on a bases-loaded walk, but two more Tiger runs in the seventh put the game away before an hour of heavy downpours halted the game for good.

Even Mother Nature, it turned out, had seen enough.

"We're all aware of what our record is," Francona said. "I don't think we ever go into a game thinking we're not going to win. There's a reason they beat us. It's because they're good."

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 Sep 01, 2013 12:54 am

Infante plays hero as offense steps up against Tribe
Tigers secure series win against Central rivals, even with Miggy sitting

By Jason Beck / | 9/1/2013 12:40 AM ET


DETROIT -- The names on the lineup card change. The Tigers' success against Cleveland does not.

While Miguel Cabrera was helping the Tigers take four straight in Cleveland a few weeks ago, plugging through his various injuries, Omar Infante was working his way back from the ankle sprain that cost him a month. With Cabrera out, Saturday was Infante's turn to do the heavy lifting.

They still needed add-on runs to finish off the Indians, using a four-run eighth to finally put the Tribe away for a 10-5 win at Comerica Park, but Infante's five RBIs in his first two-homer game as a Tiger since 2006 provided a pretty good start.

As a result, the American League Central race is moving closer to a finish.

"We're in a good position," Infante said after the Tigers extended their division lead to 8 1/2 games. "We have to keep playing like we're playing the last month. They have a good team too, but these two wins are very big for us."

Detroit's seventh consecutive win against Cleveland and 15th win in 18 meetings this season gave the Tigers their largest lead of the season in the AL Central and dropped their magic number for clinching a third consecutive division title to 19.

The one-sided season series is essentially the difference in the division. The Indians have a better record against everyone else in baseball. However, after pitching well and getting swept in Atlanta thanks to offensive struggles, the Indians needed to make a statement in Detroit to change their fortunes in this race.

The Tigers, coming within one out of being swept in a four-game series against Oakland before Cleveland arrived, instead picked up where they left off a few weeks ago in Cleveland.

Like those games at Progressive Field in early August, the Indians kept fighting, only to realize the Tigers always had an answer. Saturday ran through the cycle several times. The Tribe's late rally -- including a Carlos Santana inside-the-park home run on a scary collision for Austin Jackson at the center-field wall in the eighth -- couldn't overcome the lead the Tigers built early against Scott Kazmir and extended twice against the bullpen.

"They just kept coming at us," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We fought back, which was really good to see. But they kept coming, and we couldn't keep them from scoring."

That held, even on a night when they didn't have to keep down Cabrera; his abdominal injury did it for them. He played through it so effectively for so long, it was nearly forgotten. If Friday was a reminder of what they lose with Cabrera injured, Infante's performance showed what he can do when he's healthy.

Infante's two-homer game was the eighth of his career, but his first since coming back to Detroit last summer. The last time he did it in a Tiger uniform, he was a utility player backing up Placido Polanco at second base. Saturday's outburst showed again why his return has been so important for this team, now 9-1 in games Cabrera hasn't started.

"That's why I was so upset when [Infante] got hurt," Torii Hunter said, "because I knew how important he was to our lineup. Now that he's back, you see the results."

Infante's first homer was the crushing blow in a 42-pitch second inning that nearly knocked out Scott Kazmir (7-7). The one pitch Kazmir had to regret was the 0-2 slider that hung up for Infante to pull.

"I was looking to bury a slider," Kazmir said, "and I ended up throwing a cement mixer."

Infante said he has been focusing his work in batting practice on line drives. His three-run shot was a launch, erasing an early Cleveland advantage for a 3-1 Tigers lead.

"I was waiting, trying to make contact," he said. "The slider stayed hanging and I make good contact."

It looked like the start of a long night for Kazmir. Instead, the veteran lefty retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced and lasted five innings, giving the Indians a chance to chip away. Once Bryan Shaw entered, however, Infante struck again.

His first homer was a no-doubter compared to his second shot, a sixth-inning, two-run loft that sent Michael Brantley to the fence in left, trying to keep it in the park. Instead, the ball hit Brantley's glove, then rolled on top of the fence and over.

"When I didn't see it, I thought he caught the ball," Infante said. "When I looked at it [on replay], he was very close to catching the ball. Lucky day. Good day for me."

Coming a night after Victor Martinez's fly-ball double that Michael Bourn lost in the lights for two runs that allowed the Tigers to pull away Friday, it seemed like a continuation. Then came a bizarre eighth inning.

Anibal Sanchez (12-7) came within a batter of finishing the seventh before Yan Gomes took a pitch deep for his ninth homer on the year. Drew Smyly retired Bourn to end the seventh, but Jason Kipnis' one-out double in the eighth started a wild rally off Jose Veras.

Santana's drive to straightaway center sent Jackson crashing into the wall as he tried to make the catch. He couldn't hold onto the ball, instead clutching his arm in apparent pain as Santana rounded the bases to make it a 6-5 game.

It looked like a shoulder injury on impact. It turned out to be a scare.

"I was concerned about a separated shoulder when I saw it," manager Jim Leyland said. "I think it more knocked the wind out of him than anything else."

Jackson didn't catch the ball, but he eventually caught his breath. Then he got his revenge, tripling in two runs in the bottom half to help Detroit pull away again. Once Jose Iglesias jumped at a 94-mph high fastball to put down a squeeze bunt, Jackson beat a play at the plate.

"It was not easy," Iglesias said. "Fortunately I got it down."

It finally put Cleveland down once again. For another night, they did it without Cabrera.

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 Sep 01, 2013 6:57 pm

Verlander looks like old self as Tigers fall to Tribe
Ace throws seven shutout frames but Benoit surrenders slam

By Jason Beck / | 9/1/2013 6:45 PM ET


DETROIT -- On a lot of days, this would've been a game to regret. Sunday wasn't one of them. The Tigers' success against the Indians has been too frequent, and Justin Verlander's gems have been too few.

The Tigers never did score a run. They'll take Verlander's rebound as the consolation in a 4-0 loss. Cleveland moved back within 7 1/2 games of the Tigers' American League Central lead with four weeks to go, but no games remaining against Detroit. Verlander moved back to his top form.

"He had that determined look on his face," manager Jim Leyland said. "You couldn't pitch any better. He shut them out for seven innings. You can't ask for any more than that."

Leyland isn't saying the old Verlander is back, and neither is Verlander, but it was recognizable.

Verlander felt it in the fourth inning on his way to striking out Asdrubal Cabrera. After a 35-pitch opening inning, he was trying to pick up some quick outs and save his pitch count, slowing down his delivery, and he was dealing.

He was firing his fastball at 95, but it was the mechanics that sparked him more than the results.

"It was on one pitch, and it was like, 'Ah, that felt good. Let me keep doing that, or try to do that, be consistent with it,'" Verlander said. "It had a really good effect."

His catcher, Alex Avila, saw it the next time through the order. The fastball was picking up, but it was the delivery that stood out.

"Not so much the velocity," Avila said, "just the way he looked from the start of his leg kick to the follow-through once he released the ball. I mean, I've seen him a lot from that angle, and it just looked fluid to me. It looked like a natural motion for him."

He told Verlander about it after the inning.

"It just looked like you," Verlander said Avila told him.

Verlander could sense it as well.

"I feel like the last couple innings in particular was probably the closest I've felt to being right," Verlander said.

By the time Verlander escaped a seventh-inning jam, stranding Michael Brantley on third, fans could see what he meant. It was obvious. Like the Verlander of the past two years, he saved his best fastball for last.

After missing with back-to-back 97-mph fastballs, he challenged Jason Kubel with high heat for three consecutive pitches, each one harder than the last, until Kubel swung and missed at a 99-mph offering on Verlander's 115th pitch.

Once Mike Aviles grounded out on Verlander's 116th and final delivery, the sellout crowd of 41,557 at Comerica Park gave Verlander a standing ovation on his way to the dugout.

"I've been very pleased with the way the fans have my back," Verlander said. "The fans here in the ballpark and the fans around town have been fantastic knowing that I've been dealing and working my butt off. They've shown their support every day I've come out to pitch, and they cheer like they always have."

They could give him an ovation. They couldn't give him a run. Neither could the offense behind him. Though the Tigers put up 11 hits, three of them off closer Chris Perez once Aviles' ninth-inning grand slam put Cleveland ahead, they couldn't push across a run.

The Tigers were shut out on 11 hits for the first time since July 17, 1964, and just the second time since 1916.

"When we had our chance, we didn't get that golden hit today," Leyland said. "We had quite a few of them, but we just didn't get that golden one."

What began as a pitching duel between Verlander and Tribe rookie Danny Salazar became a battle of the bullpens decided by one of the rare bad days Joaquin Benoit has had this season. Aviles, who missed his chance to pull Cleveland ahead against Verlander in the seventh, made Benoit pay.

Back-to-back walks to Carlos Santana and Brantley allowed Asdrubal Cabrera to move them over on a sacrifice bunt. With first base open, Benoit intentionally walked Kubel and took his chances with Aviles, 2-for-5 against him for his career.

Aviles fouled off two mid-90s fastballs before pouncing on a hanging pitch, sending it deep to left for his ninth home run of the year.

"I think he was probably trying to go away with the cutter," Aviles said. "It just stayed on the middle, and I was able to get a good swing on it. Off the bat, I knew for sure it was a sacrifice fly, and the way [left fielder Nick] Castellanos was going back, I was hoping that it kept going out."

Once it did, it was just the fourth homer of the year off Benoit, who gave up 14 in 2012, and it handed him his first loss since Aug. 9, of last season.

"He just struggled a little bit with control," Leyland said. "That's very uncharacteristic of him. That's just one of those things. He's not going to do it all the time."

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   Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:14 pm

Fister outduels Lackey as Tigers shut out Red Sox
Righty allows four hits over seven; Dirks' triple in seventh breaks tie

By Jason Beck / | 9/2/2013 6:44 PM ET


DETROIT -- The Tigers went 16 innings between runs from Saturday night at Comerica Park to Monday afternoon at Fenway Park. They trailed in only one of those innings.

Get ready, because this is what the postseason feels like. For the Tigers and Red Sox, baseball's two highest-scoring teams, and owners of the American League's two best records, it already has that feeling.

"At this time of the year, you can tell every game you're playing is a little more [intense]. It's almost like the playoffs have started," catcher Alex Avila said after the Tigers' 3-0 victory.

For the only teams in baseball averaging five runs a game, it was a Labor Day chore to get a run across, stranding five runners in scoring position over the first four innings. By the time the Red Sox put up a seventh-inning rally on Doug Fister, they were willing to send up Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- 5-for-10 lifetime against Detroit's lanky sinkerballer -- to lay down a sacrifice bunt with runners on first and second. They'd seen ex-teammate Jose Iglesias turn enough double plays already.

"That kid, he's got great hands and moves all over the diamond," Fister said. "It's such a blessing to have him. The things he brings to this team, it's astounding."

Avila smelled out the bunt from behind home plate and threw out the lead runner at third. Instead of runners at second and third and one out, the Red Sox still had them at first and second for the bottom two hitters in the order, whom Fister retired on groundouts to finish of his seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball.

The Tigers, with Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera out for a third game with abdominal issues, took their risks, too. In the same inning as Saltalamacchia's sacrifice, they were willing to send Victor Martinez -- surgically repaired knees and all -- on a hit-and-run play with Andy Dirks up, and it very nearly backfired. As Martinez stood near second base, waiting to see if Jacoby Ellsbury might run down Dirks' liner to the 420-foot mark in right-center field, Dirks had to wait and see if Martinez would be able to round third.

"We were kind of stagnant there. We weren't doing much offensively," manager Jim Leyland said. "With Victor, you didn't figure they expected him to run, so we just put him in motion and fortunately Dirks came through and did the job."

Once the ball fell just out of Ellsbury's reach, Martinez made a mad dash home, not only beating the throw to the plate, but leaving enough time for Dirks to land on third. Dirks scored on the next play.

The quiet reaction from much of a sellout crowd of 36,188 sounded like a four-run lead rather than two. Austin Jackson singled and scored in the eighth on Prince Fielder's line-drive sacrifice fly to right field for a three-run cushion.

A day after the Tigers were shut out on 11 hits by Cleveland at Comerica Park in a game decided on a ninth-inning grand slam, they went 0-for-8 with a runner in scoring position over the first four innings against John Lackey. Still, they survived.

"They had some chances. I'm sure they're kicking themselves," Leyland said. "And we had some chances, and we were kicking ourselves early in the game. And finally we broke loose."

Fister (12-7) walked three of the first six batters he faced and hit another, but induced ground-ball double plays in the first and second innings. Another double play thanks to an acrobatic turn from Iglesias erased a leadoff single in the sixth.

Iglesias whirled to tag Shane Victorino on his way by, then threw against his momentum to first base with enough on the toss to beat Dustin Pedroia busting down the line.

"I knew I had time at first, so I tried to tag him," Iglesias said.

For him, it was no big deal. For his teammates and manager, it was another piece of mastery.

"He's made about three already that I've never seen before," Leyland said.

The bullpen, despite closer Joaquin Benoit having the day off, carried it with similar flair at the end. Bruce Rondon overpowered David Ortiz, topping out with a 103-mph fastball on the Fenway Park radar gun before fanning him on a 102-mph heater with a runner on to end the eighth. Jose Veras worked the ninth for his second save as a Tiger and his 21st on the year.

With that, the Tigers had their first shutout at Fenway in four years, and just their second since 1987. Perhaps bigger than that, it draws Detroit within a half-game of Boston for the best record in the AL.

It's too early to think about playoff seeding, the club insists. It's clearly not too early for playoff style baseball. Consider this a rehearsal.

"You know they're in a race as well," Jackson said. "The battle for the top spots, it's going to be a tough matchup each and every time."

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   Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:37 am

Lack of support sends Scherzer to second loss
Iglesias' RBI double all the damage for Detroit off Lester

By Jason Beck / | 9/4/2013 3:04 AM ET


BOSTON -- Jim Leyland is tired of the criticism being thrown at Max Scherzer for the run support he has been getting.

"Some people can find a flaw in Bo Derek," Leyland said on Tuesday afternoon.

Perhaps what followed on Tuesday night, then, was destined to happen. Scherzer wasn't flawed in the Tigers' 2-1 loss to the Red Sox. He was just fated.

"Max certainly pitched good enough to win tonight," Leyland said. "We just didn't win."

On the night Scherzer had a chance to join Roger Clemens as the only pitchers in Major League history to go 20-1, and with Miguel Cabrera back in the lineup supporting him, the Major League leader in run support lost a duel to Jon Lester, a pitcher the Tigers had hit around for most of his career and pounded at Comerica Park in June.

Scherzer had given up two homers and five runs in five innings against Oakland five days earlier and escaped defeat when Detroit put up a four-run ninth. He gave up four singles and a double over seven-plus innings at friendly Fenway Park and had to lament one ground ball through the middle, on a hanging slider to Will Middlebrooks.

"I pitched well," Scherzer said. "I did some really good things tonight. But I got beat on one pitch."

Scherzer has insisted throughout his historic start that wins and losses can be fluky for a pitcher. This one might be his best evidence yet.

In striking out the top three hitters in order in the opening inning, and five of Boston's first 10 batters through three, Scherzer looked as dominant as he has since the All-Star break. He not only powered his fastball, he commanded it so well that he needed little else early. His secondary pitches simply set it up.

"I thought early on he was as good as we've seen all year," Leyland said.

Scherzer had a lead to protect after the second inning thanks to Jose Iglesias' RBI double deep into the gap, which easily scored Omar Infante from third. A potential second run was left between third and home when Stephen Drew easily threw out Brayan Pena at the plate.

It was an aggressive call from third-base coach Tom Brookens to test Boston's defense, and it backfired.

"I'd have sent him, too," Leyland said. "I thought it was a great call. To me, when the ball gets by the outfielder, make them make two good relays. You know he's dead by 10 to 15 feet if they make them. If they didn't, we'd have scored a run on that play. With two outs, I have absolutely no problem with that call."

Brookens appreciated the sentiment, but said in hindsight that he was too aggressive.

"It's on me," Brookens said. "I didn't make a very good call on that one, quite honestly, no two ways about it."

The way the Tigers were hitting Lester early, with four hits the first time through the order -- two of them off the Green Monster -- it looked like a brief reprieve for Lester, 1-2 with a 5.26 ERA against Detroit in six previous meetings. Once he struck out the top of the Tigers' lineup in order in the fourth, though, the pitching duel was on.

"He was totally different than the first time we faced him," Torii Hunter said. "He was stronger. He was the Jon Lester of old."

Lester induced a groundout from Cabrera to leave the bases loaded in the fifth, left runners on first and second in the sixth, and struck out nine over seven innings of one-run ball. He stranded a runner in scoring position in three of his seven innings.

In short, Lester (13-8) earned his win. But that doesn't mean Scherzer earned his loss.

Three of Boston's five hits off Scherzer came in that fateful fifth inning. And yet even the one extra-base hit seemed to be a stroke of fortune for him.

Scherzer (19-2) hung a changeup to Drew but seemingly had a lucky bounce when the liner to deep right-center cleared the fence on the bounce for a ground-rule double, forcing Jonny Gomes to stay at third base. It left runners at second and third and just one out, but with the eighth and ninth hitters due up.

David Ross was no match for Scherzer, who overpowered him on three fastballs to take away the chance for a sacrifice fly. Scherzer then caught his breath and readied for Middlebrooks.

Not only was Middlebrooks hitless in four chances against Scherzer, he hadn't put a ball in play, striking out each time.

"In that situation you realize there's two outs, all you need is one more," Scherzer said. "I know Middlebrooks. I'm thinking about how he's going to approach me in that situation, what pitch I need to execute.

"Pena put down slider and I believed that was the right pitch, because I could see the sequence beyond that, not just the slider first-pitch. I believed in it. I just didn't execute it. It's as simple as that. It just caught too much of the middle of the plate."

It was also just the pitch Middlebrooks was looking to find. He was thinking about Scherzer as much as Scherzer was thinking about him.

"You find out how a guy's going to come after you," Middlebrooks said. "He likes to get ahead of me with off-speed because he knows I'm looking for a heater. I just changed my approach a little bit, and with the situation, guys in scoring position, I figured he'd flip up a slider."

That was that. One big hit from the Tigers, one closer play at the plate, and Scherzer could have had a bigger escape from Fenway than Ben Affleck's character did in "The Town." It wasn't scripted that way.

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 Sep 05, 2013 1:35 am

Porcello, bullpen mauled by homer-happy Red Sox
Pitching staff surrenders franchise-record eight blasts in blowout

By Jason Beck / | 9/5/2013 1:33 AM ET


BOSTON -- The Tigers and Red Sox had two days of pitching duels. They bid farewell for now with the kind of Fenway Park slugfest the Tigers had never seen.

Actually, they'd never seen this type of power display in any park.

No American League pitching staff has given up fewer home runs this season than the Tigers, even after Wednesday's 20-4 loss, and it's not even close. The gap between Detroit's AL-low total of 117 and Kansas City's next-lowest total of 129 is bigger than the franchise record-setting eight-homer total they allowed Wednesday.

This game put a dent in that foundation for the Tigers' success like the dents in the Green Monster. In the end, like so many balls the Red Sox hit over the Monster -- including a no-doubt Will Middlebrooks grand slam off Al Alburquerque that removed any doubt of the outcome -- the Tigers couldn't get out of here soon enough.

"The Green Monster's one thing," manager Jim Leyland said. "But right field, you normally don't see them going out like that. But they were going out like ping-pong balls."

The Tigers held the Red Sox scoreless for the first 13 innings of the series, then capped the three-game set with the highest single-game home run total in Detroit's 113-year history. The Tigers had given up seven home runs in a game four times, most recently on Sept. 11, 2007.

The 20 runs, meanwhile, marked the highest total allowed by a Detroit pitching staff since a 26-5 loss to the Royals on Sept. 9, 2004. The Tigers gave up only one home run in that contest at Comerica Park, but Rule 5 Draft pick Lino Urdaneta gave up six runs on five hits without recording an out in what ended up being his only appearance in a Detroit uniform.

Urdaneta's ERA as a Tiger remains infinite. Rick Porcello's ERA on the season only jumped from 4.44 to 4.76 after Wednesday's debacle. Yet until his sixth and final inning, he was still in a competitive game.

"He was pitching well and we were in the game," catcher Alex Avila said of Porcello. "All of a sudden, [Shane] Victorino got on, I made a throwing error and it just unraveled after that."

Porcello went 145 Major League starts without giving up more than two homers in a game, but he gave up homers to three of the first 13 batters he faced. All three came from left-handed hitters who pulled the ball to right, not from hitters lofting fly balls over the Green Monster in left. Stephen Drew hit a two-run shot down the right-field line and around the Pesky Pole in the second inning, followed by solo homers from Jacoby Ellsbury down the line in the third and David Ortiz towards the gap in the fourth.

Left-handed hitters have always hit Porcello, including a .309 average this year. By working inside to them, and by developing his curveball, he had kept their home run total low, just seven over 301 at-bats entering Wednesday -- a lower rate than he had allowed to right-handers.

Wednesday became the correction.

"Ricky was trying to get the ball up a little higher and in," Leyland said, "and got it down and in. A lot of times, lefties just drop the head of the bat and hit home runs, and that's what they did."

Porcello was still battling in a tie game after four innings because the three homers resulted in just four runs. He didn't begin to give up extra baserunners until the middle innings, and even then, it didn't doom him to defeat until the sixth. Victorino's stolen base and an errant throw from Avila made the go-ahead run in the fifth an unearned tally off Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly.

In the end, Porcello's fate wasn't tied so much to a career high in home runs as to a season high in walks. He hadn't walked more than three batters in a game since 2010, his second year in the big leagues. Porcello walked three out of four batters he faced in the sixth -- one to Daniel Nava to lead off the inning, another intentionally to Drew to load the bases after Mike Napoli's double, the last one unintentionally to pinch-hitter Mike Carp.

"Obviously leadoff walks come around to score pretty frequently in this league," said Porcello, who gave up nine runs (eight earned). "I think failure to get anybody out after that is pretty big, too. Napoli hits a double off the wall and I put myself in a tough position, second and third with nobody out."

The last two walks were an effort on Leyland's part to try to keep the game close. If Porcello could get a double play from Carp, they'd face a three-run deficit, but they would still be in it.

"I was trying to come out of that with one [run] or nothing," Leyland said. "Drew had smoked a home run off of him. I didn't want to give up another run or two. If we could come out with one, it's OK. … You figure with the lefty, if he could get the ball on the ground and get the double play, they've got one run and then you've got Middlebrooks behind him. But when he walked him, it just looked to me like he was spent, so you brought Alburquerque in to go for the strikeout."

Alburquerque, the strikeout specialist with a nasty slider his previous two seasons, didn't give up a home run over his first 71 career regular-season appearances. He has now given up five homers in his last 19 1/3 innings, including Middlebrooks' homer to make it a 10-4 game and Daniel Nava's two-run shot to make it 13-4.

"The ball was carrying here tonight, obviously," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "The lead changed hands a couple of times until we got to the sixth, and Will's grand slam gave us a little breathing room and we kept going."

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 Sep 07, 2013 1:08 am

Tigers march past Royals behind 26-hit parade
Infante sets career highs for hits, RBIs; Anibal goes seven strong

By Robert Falkoff / Special to | 9/7/2013 1:55 AM ET


KANSAS CITY -- The Tigers did to the Royals on Friday night what the Red Sox had done to the Tigers on Wednesday.

This time, Detroit was on the positive side of a 16-2 blowout and it came in an unlikely setting against a Kansas City club that started the night ranked No. 1 in the American League in ERA (3.46) and ace James Shields on the mound.

Go figure.

Just two days after taking a 20-4 drubbing at Fenway Park, the Tigers flexed their offensive muscles by batting around in both the second and fourth innings.

"It was just one of those freak games," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "James just didn't have it tonight and we were able to take advantage."

Andy Dirks and Omar Infante, who have lockers side-by-side in the Kauffman Stadium visitors' clubhouse, each went 5-for-5 and established career highs for hits. Infante also had a career-high six RBIs.

Shields came into the game with a 1.53 ERA over his last five starts. He got through the first with little problem, but then the Tigers began spraying hits all over the ballpark. Shields wound up allowing 14 hits and 10 earned runs over 3 2/3 innings.

"That's a good hitting team over there and I didn't do my job tonight," Shields said. "Obviously, we've got to move forward but that was a terrible job by me." The Tigers didn't let up when Kansas City went to the bullpen. The 26 hits were their most since May 27, 2004, against the Royals.

"Whether you win by 20 or by one it counts the same," Dirks said. "We've got to come out [Saturday] and try to do the same thing."

Right-hander Anibal Sanchez was the recipient of the lavish run support. His biggest problem was staying loose as the Tigers batted around in a pair of five-run innings.

Sanchez went seven innings, allowing just one run on seven hits.

"You can talk about the hits until the cows come home, but Sanchez shut their offense down and that's the key to the game," Leyland said.

The Tigers (82-59) maintained their 6 1/2-game lead over Cleveland in the American League Central, while reducing their magic number to 16 and pushing the third-place Royals (73-68) nine games back.

The Royals actually jumped on top in the first against Sanchez on a Billy Butler RBI single. But from that point on, it was all Tigers.

With one out in the second, five consecutive Tiger hitters reached. Infante contributed an RBI single to tie it and Ramon Santiago's RBI double put Detroit on top. A two-run double by Austin Jackson and an RBI single by Miguel Cabrera finished the five-run rally.

Detroit put up another five-spot in the fourth and Infante added a three-run double in the fifth.

"They're a smart team," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It looked to me like they were really sitting soft and when they got it, they didn't miss it." Dirks, who had a walk to go with his five hits, couldn't have picked a better place for a career night at the plate. The Tigers' left fielder lives in Burrton, Kan., and his parents were able to make the short trip to see it.

"When I hit it, it went in the holes," Dirks said. "You have nights like that and you have nights where it goes the other way, too."

Sanchez lowered his ERA to 2.61 and picked up his 13th win, matching a career high. Since he was facing the Royals for the third time, Sanchez felt the need to change his pitching patterns and he worked hard to keep an aggressive running game under control early. Sanchez picked off Emilio Bonifacio in the third inning.

"I felt strong today," Sanchez said. "I knew I had to make adjustments because this [Royals] team was coming in pretty hot. My team gave me a lot of runs today and I was able to do my job." The Tigers feel they're riding the roller coaster after a 16-run loss was followed by a 14-run win.

"They don't happen very often, but they do happen," Leyland said.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to 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 Sep 08, 2013 12:30 am

Verlander's pitch for win over KC goes awry
Righty gives up decisive home run in sixth; Tigers' lead is 5 1/2

By Robert Falkoff / Special to | 9/8/2013 1:15 AM ET


KANSAS CITY -- If he had it to do over again, Justin Verlander insisted he would throw the same pitch that Salvador Perez crushed for a go-ahead two-run homer in the Royals' 4-3 win over the Tigers on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Tie game, runner at second and two outs in the sixth inning. Verlander wanted to go down and in to Perez with a quality fastball. The Tigers' right-hander executed, but the Royals' catcher simply executed to a high degree.

The 407-foot homer by Perez, which easily cleared the left-field wall, put the Royals up 4-2 and the Tigers couldn't muster enough offense to catch up.

"It was 98 [mph], it was down and it was in," Verlander said. "It was a good pitch, but he was able to get the barrel on it. Sometimes, you have to tip your cap. These guys are the best hitters in the world. Occasionally, they are going to hit well-executed pitches. It doesn't happen too often. Most of the time, when you execute the pitch that you want, they might find a hole for a base hit but it's not going to do damage necessarily. Looking back on it, I wouldn't throw a different pitch."

If the Tigers' offense had been a little more potent, that one blow by Perez might not have proven so costly. One night after ringing up 26 hits, Detroit managed just five in the loss. The Tigers had early chances to get separation with Kansas City starter Danny Duffy walking five and lasting just 4 1/3 innings because of the command issues. But the Tigers couldn't deliver the big blow and Kansas City was able to even the series at one game apiece.

"Duffy was a little wild and that's what we were hoping for," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We had some opportunities but really didn't take advantage of it."

With Cleveland's win over the Mets, the Tigers' lead in the American League Central shrunk to 5 1/2 games. Although it was the Perez homer in the sixth that proved decisive, momentum began shifting in the fifth when the Royals, trailing 2-1, got the tying run on a Jarrod Dyson walk, a stolen base and an RBI single by Alcides Escobar.

The Tigers had a pitchout working as the speedy Dyson broke for second, but catcher Bryan Pena dropped the ball as he was preparing to make his throw.

"[Dyson] is a guy you want to keep off the basepaths," Verlander said. "Hindsight is 20-20. I wasn't trying to walk him."

The Tigers trimmed their deficit to 4-3 in the seventh on a Miguel Cabrera RBI single. That left two on for Prince Fielder, but Fielder flied to right against reliever Luke Hochevar. The Tigers went down in order in the eighth and in the ninth against closer Greg Holland.

One individual silver lining came in the fifth when rookie left fielder Nick Castellanos got his first Major League hit and wound up scoring the run that temporarily push Detroit ahead, 2-1. Castellanos hit a ball off the end of the bat to the right side and second baseman Emilio Bonifacio made a quick flip to first baseman Eric Hosmer as Castellanos was flashing by. Hosmer couldn't hold onto the throw and Castellanos no longer had to worry about breaking the ice in the hit category.

Castellanos and Hosmer were high school teammates in Florida.

"He jokingly said 'chalk up your first hit to me.' Then, he congratulated me," Castellanos said.

Castellanos just wished his first Major League hit had come during a win.

"You can't solely focus on your individual accomplishments," Castellanos said. "This isn't just a regular September callup. We're trying to clinch [a playoff spot] as fast as possible."

Although Verlander has had some strong outings, in the season series the Royals have managed to win in all five of his starts against them.

"They've all been nip-and-tuck tight games," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We've managed to come out on top and that's all that matters."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to 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 Sep 08, 2013 6:25 pm

Early lead slips as Tigers fall to Royals in finale
Fister allows three-run homer, but division lead stays at 5 1/2 games

By Robert Falkoff / | 9/8/2013 6:46 PM ET


KANSAS CITY -- Too bad the Tigers couldn't distribute their weekend allotment of hits in a more even fashion.

After getting 26 hits on Friday, Detroit managed only five hits and six hits the next two games. Those numbers don't compute to winning a series, and the Tigers didn't. With Eric Hosmer providing the big blow, a three-run homer off Doug Fister in the fifth inning, the Royals claimed the rubber game with a 5-2 victory on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

The Sunday script went much like the Saturday script.

The Tigers jump ahead, but then the offense goes into stall mode. Meanwhile, a Detroit starter gives up a go-ahead homer in the middle innings. On Saturday, it was Salvador Perez getting the best of Justin Verlander with a two-run homer. On Sunday, it was Hosmer taking a 2-2 pitch over the center-field wall with two men on.

Once the Royals pulled ahead, it was cruise control the rest of the way. Detroit just wished it could have put some of that Friday offense in the freezer and warmed it up for another day.

Royals veteran left-hander Bruce Chen had the Tigers lauching fungo-like fly balls to the outfield and weak grounders to the infielders by changing speeds and keeping the Detroit hitters off-balance.

Right fielder Torii Hunter, who went a combined 0-for-8 with four strikeouts over the final two games of the series, knew going in that trying to time Chen's pitches would be a tough challenge.

"He's very, very frustrating," Hunter said. "You think it's there, and then right when you swing, it cuts or sinks out of the zone. He's not nasty, he's just frustrating. I'd pull my hair out, but I don't have any."

After scoring 16 runs on Friday, the Tigers had just three and two runs respectively in the final two games.

"Baseball is a crazy game," Hunter said. "Once you think you're [riding high], it slaps you in the face and brings you back down. Then you've got to crawl back up there. Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. You just try not to be the bug all the time."

The day began with promise for the Tigers as Jose Iglesias returned to the lineup and hit a two-run homer in the third. But even with that home run, there was a problem. Iglesias has been bothered with shin splints and manager Jim Leyland noticed that he wasn't moving smoothly as he rounded the bases.

Iglesias finished the game, but Leyland said he will monitor how Iglesias is feeling when the Tigers open a three-game series against the White Sox on Monday.

The Royals chipped within 2-1 in the fourth thanks to Emilio Bonifacio's walk, a single by Hosmer and an RBI single by Billy Butler. Hosmer's hit came on an 0-2 pitch and bothered Leyland, who has seen a trend of opponents getting too much done on 0-2 pitches.

"We've been doing way too much of that," Leyland said. "It's not just the last two days. We've been doing that for awhile and that's something that we've got to stop."

Fister had two outs and nobody on in the fifth when Alex Gordon hit a bouncer wide of first. Victor Martinez -- who was playing first so that Prince Fielder could get off his feet for a day -- had the ball carom off his glove for a single. Bonifacio followed with a single and Hosmer delivered the crushing three-run homer to straightaway center.

"It was right where he wants it," Fister said. "I was trying to get him to roll it over or pop it up. I left it middle of the plate too much. Trying to make him use the big part of the ballpark and that's what he did."

The Tigers are 56-24 when they score first this season, but 0-2 in the last two days.

"It shows a lot of character in our team after they put up 26 hits and 16 runs in the first game to bounce back and take the next two," Hosmer said.

With Cleveland's loss on Sunday, the Tigers (82-61) still lead the Indians by 5 ½ games. The Royals (75-68) are seven games back in the American League Central.

"We've got a fight on our hands," Leyland said. "That's the way it is supposed to be."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to 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 Sep 10, 2013 12:52 am

Scherzer's quest for No. 20 denied by White Sox
Righty allows five runs over four innings; Miggy ejected in first AB

By Jason Beck / | 9/10/2013 1:10 AM ET


CHICAGO -- The first-inning exit from Miguel Cabrera, three pitches into his at-bat after disputing a checked swing with plate umpire Brian Gorman, wasn't a good sign for the Tigers' evening in the Windy City.

"We're in the race," Cabrera said afterward. "You don't want to get thrown out of the game."

The two White Sox runs in the bottom half off Max Scherzer, who had given up just seven first-inning runs all season, probably suggested worse.

"I made too many mistakes," Scherzer said. "I left the ball up, elevated the ball. I wasn't able to get the ball down and it cost me."

By the time Scherzer left the mound after four innings, flummoxed by an infield single from No. 9 hitter Josh Phegley that turned into a two-run play and a five-run lead on Scherzer's throwing error, the feeling was unmistakable. The question now is whether the Tigers' current struggles, including Monday's 5-1 loss, are a sign of a bigger late-season concern.

Around the same time lefty Jose Alvarez replaced Scherzer for the bottom of the fifth inning, Scherzer's earliest exit in a start this season, Indians closer Chris Perez stranded the bases loaded in the ninth inning in Cleveland against the Royals to finish off a 4-3 Tribe win.

The two results moved the Indians to within 4 1/2 games of the Tigers in the American League Central. The gap in the division hasn't been this small since Aug. 5, just as the Tigers were beginning a four-game sweep in Cleveland to take command of the race and move 23 games over .500.

They're now 14-17 since that series, having lost five of their last six on this three-city road trip. The Indians, meanwhile, have won five of their last six, cutting four games off the Tigers' division lead in just over a week.

Four of Detroit's losses have come against left-handed starters, whom they have struggled to hit off and on throughout the year. Chris Sale has given them troubles for most of the year and continued that Monday.

If there was concern about Cleveland on the Tigers' part, they weren't showing it. The concern about their own game right now is obvious.

"I'm not concerned about Cleveland. I'm concerned about the Tigers," manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't worry about the other team. We've got to take care of our own business. If we do that, we'll be fine. If we don't, we won't win. It's pretty simple."

Scherzer isn't overly concerned.

"Right now, we're not quite playing our best baseball," he said, "but that can change in a heartbeat. We can come out tomorrow and play and get on a streak. There's too much talent in this clubhouse to really get frustrated with how we've been playing."

Two of those Tigers losses have been in starts from Scherzer, whose 19-1 record, 2.73 ERA and consistent quality starts had made him nearly impossible to beat a couple weeks ago. The Red Sox finally beat him Tuesday in Boston only because Jon Lester outdueled him in a 2-1 game.

This was different. Scherzer never gave up a crushing hit; only one of Chicago's six hits off him went for extra bases, and he struck out six over his four innings. However, he never quite looked comfortable with his command, even as he cruised through the third inning and into the fourth.

He nearly worked his way out of his opening-inning jam, retiring Alexei Ramirez and Adam Dunn with two men on, but Paul Konerko lined a 2-2 pitch into shallow center field for a two-run single as Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter struggled to collect the ball.

"Give Konerko credit in the first for battling me," Scherzer said. "He had a good AB against me. I threw him three quality sliders, and the third one was a really good pitch that he fouled off. That's why he's always put up good ABs against me. That was my pitcher's pitch that he fouled off.

"I tried to go with a fastball down and away and I left it up over the middle of the plate. He's too good of a hitter to make a mistake like that to in that situation."

The three-run fourth-inning rally that doomed Scherzer (19-3) came entirely with two outs, starting with Conor Gillaspie's double before continuing with consecutive singles from Dayan Viciedo, Jordan Danks and Phegley, the bottom third of the White Sox order.

"With Viciedo, it was just kind of a hanging slider," Scherzer said. "He seemed like he was a little fooled too, and he just was able to get barrel to it and shoot it down the line. And then Danks had a good AB against me, and he hit a fastball. And then Phegley, swinging-bunt slider, it was a do-or-die play for me at that point in time. I just picked it up and threw it. Obviously, it wasn't the best throw."

The throw went into right field, adding on an unearned run.

That was too much for the Tigers to overcome against Sale (11-12), who blanked them for six innings until Victor Martinez homered in the seventh. Sale struck out eight Tigers over as many innings for his third win in four starts against Detroit this season.

Losing Cabrera arguing a checked swing in the opening inning, he admitted, gave him some comfort.

"The best hitter to ever walk the planet leaving after the first," Sale said. "It doesn't get any easier after that. You still have to make pitches and stuff because they have a heck of a lineup up and down. Just try to stay on the game plan and get through 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   Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:02 am

Porcello's first complete game boosts Tigers' lead
Five unearned runs help Detroit move to 5 1/2 games ahead of Indians

By Jason Beck / | 9/11/2013 1:08 AM ET


CHICAGO -- For a split second after Avisail Garcia swung and missed for the final out in Tuesday night's 9-1 Tigers victory over the White Sox, Rick Porcello looked like he didn't know what to do. He walked toward home plate to congratulate his catcher, Alex Avila, then eventually went back to the mound for the line of handshakes.

"He's not out there at that point in the game," Avila said.

He knows the end-game routine after a win. He knows the view of it from the mound, because he finished out a Tigers win in relief in Oakland back in April. He just had never been out there at the end of a game he started.

"It did look like that," Torii Hunter agreed with a laugh.

It was one of the rare looks of uncertainty Porcello had on a night that ended with the first complete game of his career. It couldn't have come at a bigger time for the Tigers, and maybe not for him either.

"I had a big smile on my face at the end of the game," pitching coach Jeff Jones said, "and I saw he had a big smile on his face."

Porcello was the starting pitcher in the 20-run debacle in Boston last week that seemingly encapsulated the Tigers' run of five losses in their previous six games, slashing four games off their division lead.

After Tuesday's win and an Indians loss to the Royals, the Tigers are back where they were coming into this series, up 5 1/2 games in the American League Central. Their magic number, meanwhile, is down to 13 to clinch their third consecutive division title.

Porcello rarely shows a whole lot of emotion, and he didn't gush by any stretch Tuesday. Still, his smile made it clear this outing meant something to him on many levels.

"The last outing was a rough one, and I really wanted to bounce back," Porcello said. "So it was a good sign on a personal level and also on a team level. We really needed this win. It's been kind of a rough road trip."

His stuff wasn't necessarily his best of the season; he arguably dominated more in an eight-inning, 11-strikeout no-decision against the Pirates back in May. However, the longer he pitched, the stronger he grew, until it looked like he and Avila were playing catch for the final few innings toward the third complete game by a Tigers pitcher this year, and the first complete-game win since Anibal Sanchez nearly no-hit the Twins on May 24.

"From the middle of the game to the end of the game, it was a good rhythm," Avila said. "That's a credit to him. He had such good command toward the middle and end of the game that he was just locked in."

Porcello escaped two early jams, including three straight fourth-inning singles that brought in the lone run, and didn't allow another hit after that. He retired 14 in a row and 16 of his last 17, the lone baserunner a ninth-inning walk that he erased with a double-play grounder.

He took a commanding lead, built in part on an error-laden outing on the home side, and used it against a White Sox lineup that was swinging early and often to try to hit its way back into the game. Time and again, they hit their way into early outs.

It wasn't just Porcello (12-8) pounding hitters with his sinkers.

"Early on, I was really struggling to get the breaking ball down with two strikes," Porcello said. "I gave up a bunch of two-strike hits. That was one of the bigger adjustments I've been able to make this year, get the breaking ball down in the zone, especially late in the count, and not give up those two-strike hits, and get ahead of guys."

Like Porcello commanded the White Sox, the Tigers are still in command in the Central. The White Sox, meanwhile, remain in last place. The reasons behind both were evident Tuesday evening.

Chicago made four errors in the first five innings, two of them wayward throws from third baseman Conor Gillaspie that allowed runs to score. The Tigers added their share with four-hit games from Prince Fielder, who hit a third-inning solo homer, and Avila, who doubled in two runs in that same inning.

For all the Tigers' struggles to pounce on left-handers over the past week, from Boston's Jon Lester to Chicago's Chris Sale to Kansas City's Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen, they've still hit right-handers. They'll still have a challenge ahead Wednesday night against lefty Jose Quintana, but rookie righty Erik Johnson was not.

"We didn't help him at all," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But he was fine. Pitch count-wise, if we're making a few plays here and there, it's probably a different story. Porcello, he kind of scattered his hits, where for Detroit, they bunched together and scored some runs and it was ugly."

Detroit's lone defeat to a right-hander in their stretch of five losses in six games leading into Tuesday came against Ryan Dempster last Wednesday in Boston. That was the loss Porcello took, and the one he wanted badly to overcome.

As he finished the eighth inning with 94 pitches, it was clear he was going to get the chance to finish it out. His manager, Jim Leyland, has pulled the plug on other complete-game bids of his, but this one wasn't in doubt for him.

"That's not a time to get sentimental," Leyland said. "He deserved to be out there because he was getting them out. I thought he more than deserved it."

Not even a leadoff walk would change that decision. And as Porcello gave Avila a hug after striking out Garcia, few were happier.

"We came up together," Avila said. "We were both rookies the same year. Getting to catch his first complete game is 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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