Tigers' Verlander outpitches Indians' Lee, 1-0May 9, 2009 - 9:10 AM CLEVELAND(AP) -- Justin Verlander pitched a two-hitter for his third career shutout, yet the hard-throwing Detroit starter still needed one small misplay by Cleveland and one great catch by Curtis Granderson to earn a win.
Verlander struck out 11 and outpitched reigning Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee for the second time in a week, as the Tigers beat the Indians 1-0 on Friday night.
"Discounting postseason play, I don't think you'll ever see a regular-season play any better," Verlander said of Granderson's leap that took away Grady Sizemore's bid for a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
"Neither starting pitcher should lose that game," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "If you make that catch in the first inning, it's a great catch. If you make it in the ninth, it's a great catch, but if you make it in the ninth inning of a 1-0 game with one guy on, that makes it a better catch."
Lee (1-5) didn't disagree.
"It was out of the park and he brought it back," said the left-hander, who already has two more losses than he did going 22-3 a year ago. "I felt like I did everything I could to help my team win, but some things are out of my control."
The Tigers scored in the eighth when Cleveland second baseman Luis Valbuena couldn't get the ball out of his glove.
Granderson walked with one out, stole second and took third on a groundout. Valbuena then fielded a slow grounder, but double-clutched the throw - too late to get Clete Thomas at first as Granderson scored.
"The ball just got stuck," Valbuena said.
Valbuena walked to open the Indians' ninth, but Verlander fielded Kelly Shoppach's bunt and threw out Valbuena at second. Sizemore, in a 3-for-23 slump, drove a fastball to deep center that Granderson caught with a leap, his glove extending well above the 9-foot high wall.
"That's as big a thrill as making the crowd goes nuts when you hit a walkoff home run," Granderson said.
Verlander fanned Cabrera with his 118th pitch for his fourth career complete game.
Detroit made a few other good defensive plays, too. Shortstop Adam Everett made a diving backhand stop of a line drive by Shin-Soo Choo and easily doubled Martinez off second to end the seventh. In the fifth, left fielder Ryan Raburn made a diving catch of a liner by Ben Francisco.
Otherwise, Verlander was in command for the second straight game against Cleveland. He had allowed one run and two hits with 11 strikeouts over seven innings in a 3-1 win over Lee in Detroit on Sunday.
"He might have been better tonight," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
Lee gave up seven hits and one run over eight innings, walking two and striking out five.
Yankees 4, Orioles 0=
At Baltimore, Alex Rodriguez announced his return to the Yankees by hitting a three-run homer on the first pitch of his late-starting season.
Rodriguez stepped to the plate in the first inning against Jeremy Guthrie (2-3) and, with a dozen fans waving plastic foam syringes a few rows behind the plate, sent a fastball soaring into the left-field seats. It was his 554th career home run.
CC Sabathia (2-3) tossed a four-hitter as New York ended a five-game losing streak, their longest under second-year manager Joe Girardi.
Rangers 6, White Sox 0=
At Chicago, Matt Harrison threw a four-hitter in his second career shutout for Texas.
Ian Kinsler and Omar Vizquel each drove in two runs, and David Murphy scored three runs for the Rangers, who have won six of seven.
Harrison (3-2) hasn't allowed a run in 19 straight innings.
Jose Contreras (0-5), who helped the White Sox win the 2005 World Series, allowed five runs, three earned on six hits. He also hit one batter, threw two wild pitches and walked two.
Twins 11, Mariners 0=
At Minneapolis, Scott Baker pitched seven shutout innings, and the Twins broke it open with three homers in the fifth inning to hand the Mariners their fifth straight loss.
Baker (1-4) gave up five hits and struck out five for Minnesota.
Chris Jakubauskas (1-4) gave up nine runs on eight hits in 4 1-3 innings for Seattle.
Red Sox 7, Rays 3=
At Boston, Jason Bay and J.D. Drew homered during another big sixth inning as the Red Sox stopped the Rays' three-game winning streak.
All of the damage was against James Shields (3-3), while Boston improved to 17-5 in its last 22 games. Brad Penny (3-1) got the win.
Athletics 5, Blue Jays 3=
At Oakland, Calif., Ryan Sweeney hit a two-run homer and four relievers combined two wrap up the Athletics' third win in eight games.
Sweeney's homer came in the second inning when the A's did all of their scoring off Toronto rookie starter Scott Richmond (4-1). Jack Hannahan and Kurt Suzuki added run-scoring doubles.
Michael Wuertz (2-1) pitched 1 2-3 shutout innings for the win, and Andrew Bailey worked the final two innings for his first save in two tries.
Angels 4, Royals 1=
At Anaheim, Calif., Howie Kendrick's two-run, inside-the-park homer helped the Angels put a stop to the Royals' six-game win streak.
In his third start of the season, Angels rookie Matt Palmer (3-0) allowed one run on two hits in 5 1-3 innings, giving him one earned run allowed in each of his last two outings.
Gil Meche (2-3) gave up four runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings for the AL Central-leading Royals, who lost for just the second time since April 28.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
DETROIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 0
CLEVELAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: DET - JUSTIN VERLANDER AND DANE SARDINHA
CLE - CLIFF LEE, RAFAEL BETANCOURT (9TH) AND KELLY
HOME RUNS: DET - NONE
CLE - NONE
May 8 9:25 PM
AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY CLETE THOMAS SCORED CURTIS GRANDERSON.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C THOMAS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
CLEVELAND 0 TOP, 8TH
DUE UP FOR DETROIT: M CABRERA (.388, 1-FOR-3)
Tigers 1, Indians 0 Top 8, 0 OutsMay 8 8:56 PM
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