Monday, August 21, 2006

Tigers Maul White Sox

The Tigers came into the 4 game series against the second place White Sox having lost 9 of their last 12 including 3 in a row in a horrible weekend versus the Rangers. In the process, they saw their AL Central division lead cut from 10 games to 5 1/2 games. Furthermore, they had lost 9 of 12 in the season series against the Sox and seemed unusually tentative whenever they faced last year's World Champions. Rookie sensation Justin Verlander had been struggling as of late and recently missed a game with a tired arm. Plus, he had not solved the Pale Hose all year long and there was talk that he was tipping his pitches. It did not appear to be a promising game for the Tigers...But it turned out to be perhaps the most satisfying game of the year - a 7-1 thrashing of their nemesis.

The Tigers did everything right tonight, just as if it was July again. Verlander showed that he is not a toasted rookie ready to be shut down for the season. He allowed just one run (a home run by Jermaine Dye in the second) on 5 hits in 7 innings. Joel Zumaya pitched a scoreless 8th including an exciting strikeout of Jim Thome. Leyland was so proud that he hugged the 21 year old hurler in the dugout after the inning. Todd Jones finished it off with a scoreless 9th despite allowing 2 hits. Defensively, they were flawless for the first time in a while.

Offensively, they pounded out 12 hits off Jose Contreras and 3 other pitchers. Surging Craig Monroe hit his 21st home run of the year and Sean Casey had 3 hits to pace the attack. Carlos Guillen, Ivan Rodriguez and Brandon Inge each added a pair of hits.

It was a great game tonight all around, the best win of the year so far. The Tigers are now 6 1/2 games up on the White Sox and 7 games up on the idle Twins:

AL Central Division Standings


W

L

PCT

GB

Detroit

80

45

.640

-----

Chicago

73

51

.588

6 ½

Minnesota

72

51

.585

7

Cleveland

56

67

.455

23

Kansas City

45

81

.357

35 1/2

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