Twins
Tigers
2 - 4 Final
  for this game

Verlander, rookies help Tigers avoid sweep

Jul 13, 2008 - 10:15 PM DETROIT (Ticker) -- Justin Verlander's great start is something that the Detroit Tigers have grown accustomed to in the last few years. The power supplied by rookie Clete Thomas and Matt Joyce was not.

Verlander threw seven strong innings and Thomas and Joyce both homered as Detroit avoided a four-game sweep with a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

The Tigers' leader in wins each of the previous two seasons, Verlander (7-9) continued his rebound from a tough start to the season, allowing two runs and four hits with eight strikeouts.

"He pitched really well, did a heck of a job," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's a nice win for us to take off on the break. Obviously we needed it very bad."

It was the fifth straight win for the 25-year-old righthander, who has yielded two earned runs or less in his last seven starts.

"It was a big win for us going into the break, having lost the first three and a couple of really close ones that we could have pulled out," Verlander said. "It would have been pretty demoralizing for us to go into the break having lost four. We got the job done today as a team."

For the second time in three starts, Verlander picked up a win a day after a loss by Detroit, helping the Tigers enter the All-Star break at 47-47.

"I don't really think about it at all," Verlander said. "When it comes my turn to take the mound, go out and do all I can to get us a win. That's all it really boils down to. I don't think about me being a stopper, really. When it's my turn, I go out there and do what I can."

Offensively, Verlander was backed up by Thomas and Joyce, who both homered to put an end to Detroit's three-game losing streak. Thomas hit a two-run shot in the second inning for his first career home run and Joyce added a solo shot in the eighth for insurance.

"They've (young kids) done an excellent job," Leyland said. "They really have. The one that Joyce hit had a really loud sound to it, that's a different sound. I couldn't believe it was going out because it didn't get any help from the wind. That's a long way out there."

Minnesota rookie Nick Blackburn (7-5) allowed three runs - two earned - and five hits in seven innings to absorb his first loss since June 6.

"All my pitches were working and I had a real good fastball," Blackburn said. "I made a couple of mistakes and it cost me. I'll take a start like this anytime."

Despite having a personal three-game winning streak snapped, the 26-year-old is upbeat heading into the All-Star break.

"I'm happy with my first half. I don't see myself making any kind of changes," he said. "So we'll just see what happens."

Filling in for an injured Magglio Ordonez in right field, Thomas opened the scoring when he followed up an error by Minnesota third baseman Brian Buscher with a shot to right field for his memorable blast. Prior to Sunday, the 24-year-old Thomas had been slugging just .366, collecting nine extra-base hits in 112 at-bats.

Looking to claim their sixth win in their last seven games against the Tigers in the last two weeks, the Twins rallied in the fourth to tie the game, as Joe Mauer scored on a wild pitch and Brendan Harris added an RBI single a batter later.

It was the fourth hit in five official at-bats up to that point for the shortstop Harris, who homered and drove in four runs in Saturday's 6-5 victory for Minnesota.

However, Detroit pulled back ahead in the fifth, as Curtis Granderson drew a leadoff walk and Placido Polanco singled to put runners on first and second. After Granderson advanced to third a batter later, Miguel Cabrera lined a shot up the middle that a diving Harris could only get a glove on, deflecting it to second baseman Alexi Casilla, whose only play was to throw out Cabrera at first.

Joyce added some insurance in the eighth, blasting a shot off reliever Brian Bass for his fourth homer in the last five games.

"I'm speechless," Joyce said. "I don't know if it's anything special I'm doing. I'm not trying to put any added pressure, I'm not trying to hit home runs, I'm just trying to go up and get a pitch I can drive. Fortunately I've been hitting it on the sweet spot and they've been up in the air. It's been fun."

Joel Zumaya worked around two walks in the eighth for the Tigers and Todd Jones worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save of the season.

Justin Morneau, who was named as the last participant for Monday's Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, had a double and scored a run for the Twins.








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

    BATTERIES: MIN - NICK BLACKBURN, BRIAN BASS (8TH) AND JOE MAUER
    DET - JUSTIN VERLANDER, JOEL ZUMAYA (8TH), TODD JONES
    (9TH) AND BRANDON INGE

    HOME RUNS: MIN - NONE
    DET - CLET

    Jul 13 3:35 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MATTHEW JOYCE (9) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF BRIAN BASS.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 2, DETROIT 4
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: M THAMES (.265, 0-FOR-3)

    Twins 2, Tigers 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 13 3:23 PM
  • 2
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    Twins 2, Tigers 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 13 3:23 PM
  • 37
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Twins 2, Tigers 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 13 2:58 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY MIGUEL CABRERA SCORED CURTIS GRANDERSON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C GUILLEN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 2
    DETROIT 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: M JOYCE (.261, 0-FOR-2)

    Twins 2, Tigers 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 13 2:39 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRENDAN HARRIS SCORED JUSTIN MORNEAU.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, B HARRIS ON FIRST, J KUBEL ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 2
    DETROIT 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: B BUSCHER (.313, 0-FOR-1)

    Twins 2, Tigers 2  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 13 2:07 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY JUSTIN VERLANDER ALLOWED JOE MAUER TO
    SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MORNEAU ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 1
    DETROIT 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J KUBEL (.264, 0-FOR-1)

    Twins 1, Tigers 2  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 13 2:02 PM


  • AL
    AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CLETE THOMAS (1) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF NICK BLACKBURN SCORED MARCUS THAMES.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0, DETROIT 2
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: B INGE (.224, 6 HR, 23 RBI)

    Twins 0, Tigers 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 13 1:33 PM