Friday, June 29, 2012

Rays Go Solo on Justin Verlander

This one was billed billed as a classic pitchers duel between two aces - right hander Justin Verlander for the Tigers and southpaw David Price of the Rays.  It did not quite turn out that way as Verlander was not sharp tonight and the Rays won 4-2.  Tampa Bay cracked three solo home runs off Verlander, two by left fielder Desmond Jennings and one by right fielder Ben Zobrist.

It took Verlander 120 pitches, but he continued his well-publicized streak of six or more innings per start.  He now has 59 consecutive starts of six or more innings, the fourth longest such streak since 1918 (the first year full seasons of box scores are available).  Tonight he passed Hall-of-Fame right hander Walter Johnson.  The only three ahead of Verlander are Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, and Catfish Hunter, who did their work in the 1980s or earlier.

The Tigers hitting star was designated hitter Delmon Young, who had a solo homer and a single in three trips.  Young now has 9 hits in his last 26 at bats over a span of six games.  The only other Tigers run came on a double by Ramon Santiago and two ground ball outs in the seventh.

The loss leaves the Tigers 4 1/2 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central.  With the White Sox up 13-7 late over the Yankees tonight, it could be up to five by the end of the night.  If the Tigers want to win any championship trophies in 2012, they better get moving soon.

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