After losing three excruciating one run games to the Twins, the Tigers avoided a sweep with a 4-2 victory this afternoon. Justin Verlander pitched seven strong innings allowing two runs on four hits and striking out eight. After an awful start which saw his ERA climb above 6.00 in early May, Verlander has posted a 2.71 ERA and 63/27 strikeout/walk ratio in his last 73 innings.
The two rookies outfielders - Clete Thomas and Matt Joyce - led the way offensively. Thomas smashed a two run homer, the first of his major league career, in the second and later added a double. Joyce continued his robust hitting by belting his fourth home run in five games. This time, it was a monumental 430 blast to center field in the eight inning. Matt now has nine homers and 17 extra base hits in just 94 at bats.
The win, combined with a White Sox loss to the Rangers, leaves the Tigers at 47-47 and seven games out of first place at the all-star break. So, they are right where they were at the beginning of the week before their six game home stand. It's nice that they didn't lose ground but at this point a 3-3 home stand is not good enough. After the break, they have a six game road trip to Baltimore and Kansas City.