Thursday, August 11, 2011

Valverde's Record Breaking Save Gives Tigers Big Win

When Austin Jackson laid down a perfect suicide squeeze scoring Alex Avila in the second inning, the Tigers took a 4-0 against Indians starter Fausto Carmona .  With ace Justin Verlander on the mound, it looked like it would be an easy win for the Tigers.  Nothing hass been easy for the Tigers lately though and this one would be no different. 

Verlander allowed a solo homer to Indians catcher Carlos Santana in the second to make it 4-1.  He then uncharacteristically walked two batters in the third ahead of an Asdrubal Cabrera double.  The score was 4-3 at that point and that's where it would stay.  Santana gave the Tigers fans another scare when he blasted a 400-foot fly ball to center field with a man on the sixth.  Fortunately, Jackson made a long run and a leaping grab against the wall to save the Tigers lead.

Verlander went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks - a good game for an ordinary pitcher, but a somewhat disappointing one for him (until they held on for the victory).  Joaquin Benoit held the lead with a scoreless eighth leaving it up to closer Jose Valverde.  Valverde retired the Indians without incident to register his 33rd save in 33 opportunities.  That broke the Tigers previous single-season record of 32 by Willie Hernandez in 1984. 

The win broke a 13-game Tigers losing streak at Cleveland's Progressive Field and it couldn't come at a better time.  The Tigers now have a three-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central.  The White Sox beat the Orioles tonight leaving them four games back.

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