Verlander, Ordonez shine as Tigers beat RangersSep 13, 2007 - 3:06 AM DETROIT (Ticker) -- It's hunting season and Justin Verlander has his cannon locked and loaded.
Verlander dazzled once again and Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez both homered as the Detroit Tigers posted a 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers in Wednesday's three-game series finale.
Detroit (80-67) has won seven of its last nine games but still remain four games behind the New York Yankees (83-62) in the AL wild chase.
"It's going to still boil down to pitching," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That's what always makes the final decision for you. Whoever pitches the best is going to end up winning. Right now, the Yankees are pitching real good and scoring some runs.
"I don't want to mislead anybody like some schoolkid trying to be overly optimistic, but we've got a shot. We do, but obviously we need some help now. No. 1, the main thing is we've got to win our games. There's not much margin for error and obviously, those two teams have a little more margin for error."
Verlander (17-5) yielded one run and seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings to capture his sixth win in seven tries. He became the first Tigers hurler since to win at least 17 games in consecutive campaigns since Jack Morris (1986-87).
"When you have Verlander, you only have to score a few runs," Ordonez said. "But it was still a close game - when we scored three more runs, it's going to be more comfortable for him."
The 24-year-old righthander continues to make a strong late-season push for the AL Cy Young Award, posting an impressive 0.95 ERA through his last four starts.
"I think when I got my mechanics back in order, I have better life on my fastball and better off-speed stuff and really better control overall," Verlander said. "With those three things, when you do better at all those aspects, I don't think you can do anything but get better results."
Verlander's lone mistake came in the sixth inning, when David Murphy laced a two-out RBI single to left to help Texas slice the deficit to 2-1.
Joel Zumaya and closer Todd Jones both logged a scoreless frame for the Tigers, who are now 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.
"We picked up a game on Cleveland," Leyland said. "What you're hoping for is to get into Cleveland next week, hopefully cut it down to even four. If you cut it down to four going in there, then you have to have a (heck) of a series.
"I just want to win games. Then whatever happens, happens. We put ourselves in this position. So if they keep winning and we keep winning, they're going to get in and we're not."
Detroit hits the road for six game, concluding with a critical three-game series at Cleveland.
"From now on, every series is important," Ordonez said. "Everybody knows that we're a few games behind other teams. We're going to keep pushing and keep winning ballgames. It's the only way we can make it to the playoffs. Hopefully they lose some ballgames. The key is to win."
Rangers starter Edison Volquez (2-1) issued consecutive walks to Placido Polanco and Sheffield before Ordonez blasted his 27th homer over the left-center field fence to make it 5-1.
In the first, Polanco doubled to the left field corner and came home when Sheffield belted his 25th home run off Volquez (2-1) for a 2-0 lead.
"I felt good. I think (Wednesday) is probably the first time I was able to swing like I really wanted to and repeat it," Sheffield said. "I've swung hard before and when I swing hard, it kind of tweaks it a little bit and then I kind of lay back a little bit. I'm not the type of person that can swing soft and be successful."
Volquez gave up a season-high five runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked four.
"I didn't think I pitched a bad game," Volquez said. "I just missed two pitches, if it wasn't for those pitches, it might have been a different game. Every game is a learning experience and I learned at lot (Wednesday)."
"Volquez handled himself really well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He fought hard to get out of the sixth inning after the Ordonez homer. He wasn't shaken up and kept his cool. This was a good learning experience for him."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
TEXAS 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7 0
DETROIT 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 x 5 8 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: TEX - EDINSON VOLQUEZ, LUIS MENDOZA (7TH) AND GERALD LAIRD
DET - JUSTIN VERLANDER, JOEL ZUMAYA (8TH), TODD JONES
(9TH) AND IVAN RODRIGUEZ
HOME RUNS: TEX - NONE
Sep 12 9:21 PM
AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY MAGGLIO ORDONEZ (27) TO LEFT CENTER
WITH 0 OUT IN THE 6TH OFF EDINSON VOLQUEZ SCORED PLACIDO POLANCO AND
CURRENT SCORE: TEXAS 1, DETROIT 5
DUE UP FOR DETROIT: C GUILLEN (.295, 1-FOR-2)
Rangers vs. TigersSep 12 8:36 PM
AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY DAVID MURPHY SCORED MICHAEL YOUNG.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D MURPHY ON FIRST, M BYRD ON SECOND, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: TEXAS 1
DETROIT 2 TOP, 6TH
DUE UP FOR TEXAS: G LAIRD (.217, 0-FOR-2)
Rangers vs. TigersSep 12 8:27 PM
AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY GARY SHEFFIELD (25) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
IN THE 1ST OFF EDINSON VOLQUEZ SCORED PLACIDO POLANCO.
CURRENT SCORE: TEXAS 0, DETROIT 2
DUE UP FOR DETROIT: M ORDONEZ (.358, 26 HR, 129 RBI)
Rangers vs. TigersSep 12 7:18 PM
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