Justin Verlander pitched 6.1 IP of strong baseball, allowing three runs on nine hits, as he struck out seven batters and walked none. Verlander got into a bit of a jam in the seventh with two outs, but Drew Smyly was able to get the Tigers out of it. In the eighth, Smyly and Jose Veras ran into a little trouble as they combined to walk two batters and hit one. Jim Leyland was forced to call on his closer, Joaquín Benoit, a bit earlier than he usually likes, with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth. Benoit got the Tigers out of the jam with an inning ending strikeout though, and then took care of business in the ninth to close out the win and help the Tigers shave another game off their magic number.
The Tigers’ magic number now sits at ten games with fifteen games left to go. The Tigers will have to hope Chicago takes a couple games from Cleveland in order to clinch the division at Comerica Park; otherwise, it looks like the Tigers may wrap up the division on their final roadtrip of the season.
More after the jump
Prince Fielder came through in a big way tonight, and is posting a .374/.431/.582/1.014 line in the last 28 games, not including tonight (h/t http://twitter.com/johnmoz). Fielder hit a key two run homer off Bruce Chen in the bottom of the fourth inning after Kansas City had come back to tie the game in the top of the fourth, and the Tigers never really looked back after that (save a couple late KC uprisings).
things of note
- The Tigers haven’t made the playoffs in three consecutive years since ’07, ’08, and ’09—that is, 1907, 1908, and 1909! (Via Dan Dickerson)
- Fielder’s three RBI tonight give him 102, and it’s the sixth time in his career he’s driven in 100+ RBI.
- Verlander picks up his thirteenth win of the season on Friday the 13th. Verlander has five consecutive seasons with at least thirteen wins now.
- Benoit gets his nineteenth save. He still hasn’t blown one since taking over closer duties full time in June.
- The Tigers currently enjoy a six game division lead with fifteen games to go.
Doug Fister (12-8, 3.77 ERA) goes for the Tigers tomorrow against Ervin Santana (8-9, 3.35 ERA). Game time is 7:08pm as per usual