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Verlander shines as Tigers top Mariners

Sep 8, 2007 - 3:15 AM DETROIT (Ticker) -- The Seattle Mariners have not figured out Justin Verlander yet.

Verlander dazzled through eight innings as the Detroit Tigers coasted to a 6-1 victory over the Mariners in the opener of a critical weekend series on Friday.

The Tigers (76-65) have won three games in a row for the first time since July to draw within 2 1/2 of the New York Yankees (78-62) in the American League wild card race.

"We're starting to get our confidence level high, like it was last year, as we feel the excitement of trying to get in like last year," Detroit's Curtis Granderson said. "This is exactly where we want to be."

The loss did not help the postseason hopes of the Mariners (74-65), as they fell 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the race for the wild card. New York played Kansas City on Friday.

"We just don't feel good about ourselves right now," Seattle manager John McLaren said.

The 24-year-old Verlander (16-5) yielded one run and seven hits for his fifth win in six outings overall. He improved to 4-0 all-time against Seattle in four career starts.

"I didn't have my best fastball or changeup," Verlander said. "But I was aggressive early and got some ground balls and popups."

The righthander has been outstanding of late, allowing just two runs over his last three outings with the hopes of making a late surge at the AL Cy Young Award.

"We just get spoiled," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You expect the guy (Verlander) to go out there and be perfect every time."

Verlander was coasting along until things got interesting in the seventh. Kenji Johjima singled over the head of third baseman Brandon Inge to load the bases. But Verlander struck out pinch hitter Jeremy Reed and got Yuniesky Betancourt to fly out to end the threat.

"Good pitchers, they have to step it up. That's what we have to do, step it up," Seattle first baseman Ben Broussard said. "I was on second, I saw the pitches he was throwing. They were good pitches."

Detroit wasted little time supplying Verlander with some early offense.

All-Star Placido Polanco laced an RBI double to the left field corner and later scored on Magglio Ordonez's single off Mariners starter Miguel Batista for a 2-0 lead in the first.

Ordonez finished with two hits to raise his average to .354 and surpassed Ichiro Suzuki, who went 0-for-4, in the chase for the AL batting title. They entered the contest tied.

Inge had a run-scoring single in the second, Ivan Rodriguez added an RBI in the sixth and Granderson belted his 20th homer one frame later to make it 5-1.

Granderson's home run made him just the sixth player since 1900 with at least 20 homers, 20 triples and 20 doubles in a season. Kansas City's George Brett was the last to accomplish the feat in 1979.

"(Granderson's) a special player," Detroit designated hitter Gary Sheffield said. "As he goes, this team goes."

Batista (13-11) was tagged for six runs and nine hits with three strikeouts through 6 2/3 innings. The Dominican righthander is 0-3 in his past four starts.

"We can't blame anybody for our situation," Batista said. "We just have to battle through it and get the best out of it."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    SEATTLE 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 1
    DETROIT 2 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 x 6 10 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: SEA - MIGUEL BATISTA, SEAN WHITE (7TH) AND KENJI JOHJIMA
    DET - JUSTIN VERLANDER, JOEL ZUMAYA (9TH) AND IVAN
    RODRIGUEZ

    HOME RUNS: SEA - NONE
    DET - CURTIS GRANDERSO

    Sep 7 9:51 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS GUILLEN SCORED PLACIDO POLANCO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C GUILLEN ON FIRST, M ORDONEZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1
    DETROIT 6 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: I RODRIGUEZ (.278, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Mariners vs. TigersSep 7 9:24 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CURTIS GRANDERSON (20) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 7TH OFF MIGUEL BATISTA.
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1, DETROIT 5
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: P POLANCO (.340, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Mariners vs. TigersSep 7 9:17 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY IVAN RODRIGUEZ SCORED MAGGLIO ORDONEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, I RODRIGUEZ ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1
    DETROIT 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: T PEREZ (.400, 1-FOR-2)

    Mariners vs. TigersSep 7 8:57 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY RAUL IBANEZ SCORED JOSE VIDRO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1
    DETROIT 3 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: A BELTRE (.280, 1-FOR-1)

    Mariners vs. TigersSep 7 7:57 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRANDON INGE SCORED TIMO PEREZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B INGE ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 0
    DETROIT 3 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: C GRANDERSON (.297, 1-FOR-1)

    Mariners vs. TigersSep 7 7:39 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MAGGLIO ORDONEZ SCORED PLACIDO POLANCO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M ORDONEZ ON FIRST, G SHEFFIELD ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 0
    DETROIT 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: C GUILLEN (.297, 19 HR, 92 RBI)

    Mariners vs. TigersSep 7 7:21 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY PLACIDO POLANCO SCORED CURTIS GRANDERSON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, P POLANCO ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 0
    DETROIT 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: G SHEFFIELD (.277, 24 HR, 71 RBI)

    Mariners vs. TigersSep 7 7:17 PM