Through 8 innings Justin Verlander pitched shut out baseball, had 6 strike outs and had only thrown 91 pitches. (MyBayCity Photo by Tom Baird)
Detroit Tiger Game Goes South In a Hurry
Verlander, Bullpen faulter in the ninth
For 8 innings on a cool sunny afternoon, things went great at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. Current A.L. MVP and Cy Young award holder Justin Verlander was doing everything right like he did for most of 2011. The game was flying along time-wise also with the Tampa Bay Rays coming to bat in the top of the 9th inning with the game only 2 hours and 10 minutes old.
Through 8 innings Justin Verlander had pitched shut out baseball, had 6 strike outs and had only thrown 91 pitches. The Tigers could only come up with a couple of runs for Verlander but that is usually enough for the ace.
A good crowd of 28,180 would see the unbeaten Tigers lose their first game of the season to the Rays 4-2. The Tampa Bay team should be a contender for the American League East division this season and return to the playoffs.
Manager Jim Leyland decided to let Verlander start the ninth inning to see if his ace could get the complete game shutout. However that thought would backfire. The inning started with the 2nd Tampa base hit of the game followed by Verlander's 7th strike out.
But then the roof fell in on the Tigers as a single, walk and another single by Tampa forced Leyland to make the trip to the mound and pull his ace. Daniel Schlereth came in and walked another batter which then brought in Jose Valverde. When the inning was done, the damage was done with four runs scored all charged to Verlander.
After the game Verlander said "I told the skipper that I was still strong and wanted to finish the game." Verlander continued, "I was the one that didn't get the ball across the plate and I was responsible for the loss."
Miguel Cabrera led the Tigers with 2 hits who would only have six hits on the day. No one expects the Tigers to run the season undefeated but this team looks very strong for the 2012 season.
Expect the Tigers to make a run into the World Series.
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