Justin Verlander pitched 8 strong innings to lead the Tigers past the Mariners 6-1 tonight. Verlander was not dominant (12 fly balls and only 3 strikeouts) but had great control and was very efficient using just 92 pitches in limiting Seattle to 1 run on 7 hits and 0 walks. It was the first time he had gone more than 7 innings since his no hitter against the Brewers on June 12. Joel Zumaya did not have good control but got through a scoreless 9th to close it out.
The Tigers got all the runs Verlander needed with a 2 run first. Curtis Granderson led off with an infield single and scored on a double by Placido Polanco. Magglio Ordonez then singled home the second run of the inning. They scored another run in the second and added 3 more later in the game against Mariners starter Miguel Batista.
The Tigers had a total of 10 hits and the attack was highlighted by a couple of individual seasonal feats. Curtis Granderson hit his 20th homer in the second inning to leave him one stolen base short of the quadruple 20. Magglio Ordonez went 2 for 4 to retake the lead in the batting race over Ichiro Suzuki who went 0-4. Ordonez is at .354 and Suzuki at .352. The surprising Timo Perez also had 2 more hits tonight.
For the first time since July 19, the Tigers have a 3 game winning streak. They have now moved past the Mariners in the wild card race and are 2 1/2 behind the Yankees who lead 3-2 in the 7th inning as I type. In the AL Central race, they are 5 1/2 behind the Indians who are playing the Angels in a west coast game tonight. The Tigers take on the Mariners again tomorrow night with Nate Robertson facing Jeff Weaver.