Detroit Tigers Sweep Indians, Verlander Wins #22
Justin Verlander only gave up three hits today in six innings of work. Two of them were two-run homers to Shelley Duncan, and Verlander finished the sixth trailing 4-2. You don't win 20+ games in the big leagues without a little help, and that help showed up in the top of the seventh in the form of a five run Tiger rally. Victor Martinez hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw from reliever Tony Sipp to give the Tigers the lead for good.
Cleveland would rally to make a game of it with another two run homer off Tiger reliever Phil Coke, but Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde shut down the Tribe in the 8th and 9th and the Tigers win 8-6. Valverde got his 42nd save in 42 opportunities. The win over Cleveland drops the Indians to 9.5 games behind the first place Tigers, Chicago is in second place, 8.5 games out. The Tiger magic number is now 13. That means that any combination of Tiger wins and Chicago losses totaling 13 will clinch the division title for Detroit. Chicago plays at Minnesota later tonight.
Detroit will enjoy an off day tomorrow before beginning a three game series at Comerica Park Friday night against Minnesota. Brad Penny is scheduled to start for the Tigers, the Twins starting pitcher is still undecided.