Justin Verlander became the first pitcher to reach the 20 win plateau yesterday during the Detroit Tigers 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Verlander has his offense to thank after Saturday’s win, as it wasn’t one of the right hander’s better efforts of the season. Verlander gave up 4 earned runs on 8 hits over his 6 innings of work, while striking out 6 and walking 3.
Minnesota pressed Verlander from the start, as two of the Twins first 3 batters reached base in the game’s opening inning. After a pair of singles and a two out walk, Minnesota loaded the bases against Verlander before he was able to escape the jam.
Verlander went on the face the minimum number of batters over his next 3 innings before the Tigers gave him an even greater lead. A Ryan Raburn double and Austin Jackson single extended Detroit’s margin to 4-0, and it began looking like Verlander would be able to breeze to 20.
But Minnesota broke through against Verlander in the 5th with back-to-back home runs by Luke Hughes and Jason Repko. Hughes struck again the following inning for a 2 run double that knotted the game at 4 all.
It took Verlander 112 pitches to get through 6 innings and it was left up to the Tigers’ offense to collect the win for the AL Cy Young candidate.
Verlander came back out for the 7th, but was removed after giving up his 8th and final hit of the night. Detroit’s pen came on the close out the win, as the reliable duo of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde worked perfect 8th and 9th innings for the Tigers.
Saturday’s game marked Verlander’s first that he failed to go 7 or more innings since July 15th. You have to go all the way back to May to find the last time Verlander gave up 8 or more hits. But, on a night in which he didn’t have his best stuff, Verlander still managed to win his 8th straight start and notch his first career 20 win season.
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Topics: Alex Avila, Austin Jackson, Cy Young Award, Delmon Young, Detroit Tigers, Jason Repko, Joaquin Benoit, Jose Valverde, Justin Verlander, Luke Hughes, Miguel Cabrera, Minnesota Twins, MLB, Ryan Raburn, Wilson Betemit