Justin Verlander Wins #24, Detroit Tigers Blank A’s 3-0
Justin Verlander is having a special season. Oakland pitcher Guillermo Moscoso matched zeros with Verlander until the 6th inning when Austin Jackson drilled one over the wall in dead center for the first Tiger hit of the day, and suddenly Verlander and the Tigers had the lead. Verlander would not give the Athletics any hope after that. JV pitched 8 innings and only gave up three hits in earning his 24th win against 5 losses. Jose Valverde worked a 1-2-3 9th to put this one away and earn his 46th save in 46 attempts.
Brandon Inge drove home the Tiger’s second run with a pinch-hit double in the 8th, and Ramon Santiago put down a difficult bunt on a suicide squeeze play in the 9th to score Alex Avila with Detroit’s 3rd and final run.
Verlander has now won 12 straight starts and is the first Tiger pitcher since Mickey Lolich in 1971 to win 24 or more games in a season. With 9 games left on the regular season schedule, Verlander should start just one more time before the playoffs.
The Tigers are now 89-64 and are chasing the Yankees for the best record in the American League. New York is 91-60 after losing to Toronto today. With the East and West division races and Wild Card still undecided, the Tigers will have to wait a little longer before they find out who they will face in the first round of the postseason.
Detroit will enjoy a day off tomorrow before heading to Kansas City for two games with the Royals. Brad Penny will start Tuesday for the Tigers as they try to win their 90th game of the 2011 season.