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 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:59 am

Anibal fans 10, Tigers stretch AL Central lead
Infante's late RBI helps Detroit move 6 1/2 games ahead of Tribe

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/12/2013 1:40 AM ET


BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- These are the games that the Tigers traded for Anibal Sanchez to help them win. These are the performances that led to him being re-signed in the offseason.

A year later, it's the deal that keeps on giving. And with his latest effort, 7 1/3 shutout innings in a 1-0 victory over the White Sox, he helped put the Tigers back into firm command of the American League Central race.

"We snuck one out," manager Jim Leyland said. "It ended up being a good day for us. I'm worried about the Tigers, but the fact that Cleveland lost today, it does push us up a little bit."

Detroit's magic number is down to 11 for clinching their third consecutive division title as it improved to 6 1/2 games over second-place Cleveland, which lost to Kansas City earlier in the day. The Royals visit the Tigers at Comerica Park for three games beginning Friday night.

After five losses in six games, the Tigers gained a game in the standings in each of the last two nights, coupled with Indians losses. Between Sanchez and Rick Porcello, Tigers starting pitching essentially took over the series and salvaged the last stop of a three-city road trip, delivering 16 1/3 innings of one-run ball.

"That's how you get out of a little funk," said catcher Alex Avila, who was behind the plate for both. "Our pitchers have been good all year. We've struggled on this road trip, and the way to get out of a little funk is by having good pitching. Guys go out there and give you a chance."

Porcello's complete game on Tuesday came in a 9-1 rout. Sanchez's gem came with no room for damage. It was the 11th shutout of the season for the Tigers, third-most in the AL, but it was the first 1-0 win.

It couldn't have come at a better time.

"You have to win one-run games, whether it's 1-0 or 4-3," Avila said. "Normally, you'll see the good teams that are getting to the playoffs, those teams have one-run wins. They win those close ballgames. They're able to find a way to win. In the playoffs, that's what the games are going to be like."

If the Tigers face more tough left-handed starters in the postseason, they might well have to win duels like this. They didn't so much hit their way to a victory against a lefty starter as they used Sanchez's performance to outlast Jose Quintana before Omar Infante's RBI single in the eighth broke the duel.

Sanchez was the starting pitcher behind two of the previous 10 shutouts, from his record-setting 17-strikeout performance against Atlanta on April 26 to his no-hit bid against the Twins on May 24. He had no history on the line on Wednesday, but with 16 games left, his 10-strikeout performance over 7 1/3 innings might have been bigger.

He overmatched some of Chicago's aggressive young hitters, but not all. Three of the five hits he allowed were to rookie leadoff man Leury Garcia, two of them infield singles. Another was a leadoff single from rookie catcher Josh Phegley.

Where Sanchez (14-7) dominated was the middle of the White Sox order, where their veterans had run-scoring opportunities. Alexei Ramirez, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn combined to go 0-for-9 with five strikeouts and nothing hit out of the infield.

That included three opportunities in the first five innings with runners in scoring opportunities and less than two outs. All three times, Sanchez kept in command. He escaped a first-inning rally by getting Paul Konerko to ground into a double play, then used Ramirez groundouts to foil threats in the third and fifth, the latter with the bases loaded after Jordan Danks battled his way to a walk.

The first pitch to Ramirez in that situation was a 95 mph fastball down and in for a called strike that sent Ramirez into vehement protest. The next pitch, and 96 mph fastball up and in, sent him swinging into a grounder to short.

All the time, Sanchez said, he was simply trying to extend the duel.

"When you have that situation, that's my mantra all the time out there," he said. "I try to keep the score close, just waiting for the team to give me the run support or give me the lead. That happened today.

"But in the end, I give a lot of credit to Quintana. He had bases loaded in the first inning. He didn't allow any runs. He's pretty good, pretty impressive. I'm happy to be part of that. That's a good game."

For a long while, that bases-loaded chance in the first looked like a golden opportunity wasted that let Quintana settle in. He walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder after Torii Hunter's one-out single, but induced a Victor Martinez popout before striking out Nick Castellanos.

From there, Quintana essentially picked up where fellow Sox southpaw Chris Sale had left off two nights earlier. He just never got a lead to protect.

The game was still scoreless when Quintana left to start the eighth, having thrown 114 pitches over seven innings of five-hit ball. He took his 17th no-decision this season.

"It was a close game," Quintana said. "We faced a very good pitcher. I don't control the results, I control what I go out and do. That doesn't affect me."

Sanchez has been there, having battled run support issues during his days with the Marlins. He finally came out ahead thanks to his old Marlins teammate.

Matt Lindstrom replaced Quintana and induced a Cabrera groundout, but back-to-back singles from Fielder and Victor Martinez created a one-out scoring opportunity.

Lindstrom (2-4) retired Castellanos on a fly ball and put Infante in a 1-2 count before he hit a ground ball through the left side slow enough that Dayan Viciedo didn't have a play at the plate as Fielder charged around third.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:48 pm

Verlander paces Tigers with magic No. at 10
Prince's homer, three RBIs helps righty beat KC for first time in '13

By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com | 9/14/2013 12:05 AM ET


BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- All is right in Justin Verlander's world. The right-hander, who has tormented the Royals until this season, was back to his usual ways. With the help of Prince Fielder's bat, Verlander and the Tigers rolled to a 6-3 win on Friday night at Comerica Park.

Verlander struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits. He had been 0-3 in five previous starts against the Royals after entering the season with a 15-2 career record against them.

"I felt good, stuff was good," Verlander said. "That was the main thing I've been working on is getting my stuff back to where it needs to be and worrying about executing it and honing it in."

Along with focusing on hitters, Verlander was able to limit the speedy Royals, who lead the Majors with 139 stolen bases. In the fourth inning, Emilio Bonifacio reached on a single and was thrown out attempting to steal second by Alex Avila. An inning later, Jarrod Dyson bunted for a single, and was picked off on Verlander's fourth attempt over to first base.

"It was one of those situations where a guy bunts his way on with two outs, on a ball that was just borderline fair or foul," Verlander said. "He was kind of toying with me at first base, and I caught him. Obviously that was uplifting."

Verlander has set a deadline to be at his best by the start of the postseason and admitted he's getting "pretty doggone close" to where he wants to be.

"Same old Verlander, he competes, he comes at you, he mixed [his pitches] well," Royals outfielder Alex Gordon said. "But today, he threw a lot of fastballs and came right at us, and we just didn't do enough to support [Royals starter Bruce Chen]. We've seen him plenty of times, we know what to expect."

The Tigers reduced their magic number to 10 for clinching their third straight American League Central title, and they hold a six-game lead over the second-place Indians.

With the game tied at 1 in the fourth inning, Miguel Cabrera hit a leadoff double to right-center. Fielder followed by drilling a 2-0 changeup into the right-field seats, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Fielder's 24th home run pushed him above 100 RBIs, his sixth year with at least that many.

"We know what he's capable of doing once he gets going on a roll," center fielder Austin Jackson said. "He gets pitched really tough with the type of power he has. He's one of those guys, at any given moment, he can bust out."

This month, Fielder is hitting .405 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. While the numbers are looking better for the slugger, who has struggled at times this season, Fielder isn't worried about his averages, home runs or RBIs.

"I'm over stats," Fielder said. "I'm into playing hard, and if I'm healthy, that's my main stat. I'm out there playing every day and I think that's all you can ask for."

Detroit added three insurance runs in the fifth inning. With Avila on first, Jackson hit a ground-rule double to left. Next, Torii Hunter hit an opposite-field single to right, scoring Avila and Jackson. After an intentional walk was issued to Cabrera and a balk by Chen, Fielder singled to right, scoring Hunter and stretching Detroit's lead to 6-1.

It was quite the difference for the Tigers' offense after being held to two runs over seven innings in Chen's last start on Sunday. The veteran gave up five earned runs on seven hits in just 4 1/3 innings in this loss.

"It's tough, but they prepared themselves really well," Chen said. "They have the two best hitters in the Majors and you can't make mistakes, you can't leave the ball up and if you do, you're going to pay, and today I didn't make my pitches and I paid for it."

The Royals scored two runs in the sixth inning with a two-out RBI single by Billy Butler and an RBI double by Salvador Perez.

Drew Smyly relieved Verlander in the seventh and pitched a scoreless two-thirds of an inning with two strikeouts. In the eighth inning, Kansas City loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batsman off reliever Jose Veras. But with two outs, closer Joaquin Benoit came on and struck out David Lough to end the threat. Benoit added a scoreless ninth to earn his 19th save.

"I really don't like to have four-out saves, but obviously there's a lot at stake," manager Jim Leyland said. "I just felt like it gave us the best chance to win the game."

For Verlander, it was a chance to beat a team that's been tough against him all year, but also an opportunity to inch another step closer to the postseason.

"Obviously it's nice whenever you're playing a team that's trying to catch you," Verlander said. "To be able to put a little bit more separation between you and them is key."


Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:48 pm

Tigers aren't safe at home in tight loss to KC
Prince cut down at plate to end game as magic number remains 10

By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com | 9/15/2013 12:10 AM ET


BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The Tigers and Royals have played close games against each other all season long. None was closer than Prince Fielder being tagged out as he slid into home plate for the final out in a 1-0 loss on Saturday at Comerica Park.

With two outs and Fielder on first base after a leadoff walk, Omar Infante lined a double to left field off Royals closer Greg Holland. But Alcides Escobar caught the relay from Alex Gordon and fired a strike to the plate to nail Fielder for the final out.

"They executed that play to perfection and the only thing was when I saw the throw come in, I thought Perez might get a bad hop, but he made a terrific pick on that ball and the tag," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You have to tip your cap to them, they made a big defensive play when they had to."

Fielder was rounding third base before Escobar caught the relay and was more than a third of the way down the line by the time Escobar could make his throw. But he fired to the left side of the line and Perez was able to tag a sliding Fielder.

"I didn't see the ball for like two seconds," Perez said. "I stayed in front of home plate and the ball was behind him so I had to go to one side and, for one second, I didn't see the ball so I just guessed that the ball was going to be right there."

Leyland said there's no question third-base coach Tom Brookens made the right decision to send Fielder, especially when facing Holland, who has only given up two runs since the end of June.

"This was a huge win for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We had to have this win tonight. We haven't had a ballgame all year where we had to win. Tonight was it. We had to win this ballgame. And the manner and fashion in which we won it was pretty exciting."

The strong defensive play was a fitting end for a pitcher's duel that saw Doug Fister and Royals starter Ervin Santana baffle opposing hitters.

Fister allowed one run on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings while walking four and striking out six. Santana went 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and one walk with five strikeouts.

With the loss and the Indians' 8-1 win over the White Sox, the Tigers' lead in the American League Central standing dropped to five games and their magic number for clinching their third straight division title remains at 10.

The Royals scored their run as Gordon singled on the first pitch from Fister. He scored two batters later on Eric Hosmer's triple off of the wall in right-center.

"There were a few I didn't execute, I got the ball up and they hit them," Fister said. "Whether it was the Hosmer ball off the wall or the first ball in the corner. I really have got to come out and be a little better out of the gates and shut them down."

Fister allowed one hit over the next three innings and was able to work himself out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, the Royals loaded the bases with two outs through two singles and a walk before a flyout to center. In the sixth, Fister gave up back-to-back two-out singles, but ended the threat by striking out Lorenzo Cain.

"After the first inning, Fister was terrific because he made an adjustment," Leyland said. "He started mixing in other pitches because you could see that their game plan was to charge first pitch. He was trying to get ahead, and they were looking to whack that first one."

The Tigers had leadoff singles in the second, fourth and sixth innings against Santana, but weren't able to push any runner further than second base.

"[Santana was] locating his fastball and he has like an invisible slider," Alex Avila said. "He throws it real hard, it's tough to pick up and he gets a lot of swings and misses with it."

In the seventh, Victor Martinez hit a one-out single to left, and moved to second on a single to right field by Andy Dirks. Both players moved up on a groundout, before left-hander Will Smith relieved Santana. Nick Castellanos pinch-hit for Avila, but flied out to center.

In the ninth, Holland retired Martinez on a flyout and struck out Dirks before Infante's screamer to left set up a dramatic finish.

"Against [Holland] you're not going to get much," Leyland said. "It was one of those great plays to end the game. It just wasn't a play for us."


Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:46 pm

Avila's two blasts help Tigers edge Royals
Scherzer narrowly misses 20th win, fans 12 in dominant no-decision

By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com | 9/15/2013 6:00 PM ET


BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Max Scherzer sparkled and dazzled all afternoon, but it was Alex Avila who provided the magic, with two home runs, in the Tigers 3-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park. The win lowered the Tigers' magic number to clinch the American League Central to nine.

Avila drilled a solo shot to right in the eighth inning to put the Tigers in front after the Royals tied the game at 2. He also hit a two-run homer to left in the second inning. It was the fourth multi-homer game of his career.

"I'm happy for him," manager Jim Leyland said. "Like I've said, if you look at Alex, it's been kind of a freak year. The average hasn't been where he wanted, but he has done damage with his hits."

Avila, who is hitting a career-low .222 this season, is batting .320 with a .921 OPS after the All-Star break. After battling injuries and a concussion, he seems to have found his groove at the plate.

"I'm just trying to hit the ball hard," Avila said. "There's nothing that I changed. There's no magic or secret to it. I'm just having some luck, some good swings, and I'm hitting the ball hard."

Scherzer took a no-decision in his fourth attempt to earn his 20th win, despite tying his season-high with 12 strikeouts over seven innings. He allowed one run on five hits, and was able to throw a first-pitch strike to 19 of the 26 hitters he faced.

"It doesn't matter about strikeouts, it matters about success," Scherzer said. "If you throw strike one, you're going to be successful in this league. When you can do that, it puts you in good situations and forces their hand."

Scherzer's only mistake was a 2-0 pitch in the fourth inning to Alex Gordon, who hit a solo home run to right field, cutting the Tigers lead to 2-1.

"With him, if he gives you a pitch to hit, you better go get it -- because he really has good location this year, and with his pitches, it makes it tough," Gordon said. "That's what I got 2-0 -- just got [a fastball] to hit and didn't miss it, so I was fortunate."

In the seventh inning, Salvador Perez hit a one-out single before Mike Moustakas lined a double to right. With runners on second and third, Scherzer was able to get Lorenzo Cain on a shallow flyout to right and an inning-ending groundout by Jarrod Dyson. Scherzer pounded his glove in celebration as he exited the game to a standing ovation.

"You're going to get hit, and you're going to get hit multiple times. But sometimes, it's how you pitch with runners on base," Scherzer said. "Today, I was able to pitch pretty well in those situations."

Scherzer was in line for the win, but the Royals were able to tie the game at 2 in the eighth. Alcides Escobar hit a leadoff double off reliever Drew Smyly. Two batters later, he stole third, and eventually scored on a wild pitch in the dirt that bounced down the first-base line.

Avila wasn't able to chase the wild pitch in time to preserve the Tigers' lead, but it set the scene for his heroics in the eighth.

"A slider that didn't have any depth, didn't get to where it was trying to get," said Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie, who allowed three runs on 13 hits in a complete game. "[Avila] puts a good swing on pitches in the zone like that."

Joaquin Benoit came on to pitch a scoreless ninth inning, earning his 20th save of the season.

Though Scherzer didn't get the win, he was back in rhythm after going only four innings in his last start, his shortest outing of the season.

"You could tell that Max was locked in," Leyland said. "He was absolutely terrific. It's a shame [he didn't get the win], but that's the way it goes. We almost had a chance to get one out of there, and maybe get him a win. But he was just as happy that the team got the win. That's Max."

Scherzer will have to wait for his next start to get another chance at his 20th victory, but he's focused on a different goal.

"I'm not sitting here chasing personal stuff down, I'm trying to win for the team," Scherzer said. "This is all about trying to get us into the postseason. I don't care if I win another game. If we win our division, that's all that matters."


Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:52 am

Behind Porcello, magic number falls to seven
Righty fans 10 as Tigers get go-ahead RBI single from V-Mart in sixth

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/17/2013 12:46 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The Tigers are looking to finish strong, Torii Hunter says. That doesn't mean they're going to overwhelm opponents.

The more the games dwindle, now down to 12, the more these Tigers look poised to pitch their way to a third consecutive division title.

On Monday, they took a big step closer to clinching it. After going essentially three games without a hit with runners in scoring position, they came up with three RBI singles from the sixth inning on to pull out a Rick Porcello pitching duel over Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders for a 4-2 Tigers victory.

It wasn't dominant, but it was Detroit's fifth win in six games. With Royals ace James Shields sending the second-place Indians to defeat in Kansas City, the Tigers' magic number in the American League Central dropped to seven.

"We control our own destiny," said Victor Martinez, whose sixth-inning single broke open what had been a 1-1 game. "We don't need to worry about anybody else. We're just focusing day by day, game by game, pitch by pitch. If everybody does their part, we'll be OK."

That was partly the point of Hunter's talk with his teammates last week in Chicago, after Chris Sale and the White Sox had dropped Detroit's lead to 4 1/2 games. Hunter didn't want them to tighten up thinking about the standings, didn't want them worrying about Cleveland at their heels.

"It was all positive, just to rally the troops," he said.

Two of their five wins since then have come behind Porcello, the starting pitcher in the 20-4 loss in Boston two weeks ago. He struggled to retire left-handed hitters in that game and paid for it with three home runs. He has allowed two runs on 12 hits over 15 innings since.

"I think as a ballclub we're really coming on strong here," Porcello said. "Guys are coming in with energy. I mean, it's September. Everybody's had a long season, but everybody's coming in with good energy and we're focused and we're playing good hard baseball."

Much like he did six days earlier against the White Sox, Porcello faced a lineup that featured young, aggressive hitters, and he used it against them. On Monday, however, he did it in a completely different fashion.

Against Chicago, Porcello pitched with a big lead early and induced one quick out after another. On Monday, Porcello sent down Seattle swinging, and ended up with double-digit strikeouts for just the second time in his career. The way Saunders flustered Detroit's hitters, it's what Porcello had to do to match him.

Porcello went to his changeup and curveball time and again, keeping a Mariners lineup with seven left-handed and switch-hitters off balance to set up a fastball he could locate for strikes. Manager Jim Leyland said it might be the best changeup he has seen from his young sinkerballer all season.

"He was using his changeup early in the game," catcher Alex Avila said. "Then we went off to the curveball as the game went on in the middle towards end of the game. The sinker was always going to be there."

The curveball has been a big pitch for Porcello at different times this season. The difference Monday was consistency.

"My breaking ball, I think, was the biggest key to the success tonight," Porcello said. "Alex did a really good job of calling it in the right situations to throw it. We were in sync the whole night and I think that rhythm we got going was big."

Seven of Seattle's first 19 hitters struck out, three of them against the breaking ball, before Porcello struck out the side in the sixth inning to strand two on base.


The groundouts Porcello usually thrives on, evidenced by baseball's third-highest groundball/flyball ratio this year, were hard to find. Just four of his 18 outs came on the ground. Instead, Porcello's 10 strikeouts fell one shy of his career high set against the Pirates on May 28.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge was in Cleveland when Porcello was a rookie in 2009. He sees the maturation process.

"He's more of a complete pitcher now than he was three or four years ago when he was younger," Wedge said. "He just has more weapons."

The only scoring damage against Porcello came from a hanging slider to rookie outfielder Abraham Almonte, who sent it out to right for his second home run of the year. That was enough to keep the Mariners in the game for most of the evening behind Saunders.

Like a few other lefty starters to have faced Detroit recently, Saunders limited his early damage and got rolling, allowing a first-inning run on a wild pitch before settling in. He retired five batters in the first two innings with a runner in scoring position, stretching Detroit's hitless streak in those situations to 0-for-19 since Prince Fielder's fifth-inning RBI single Friday night against Kansas City.

A two-out rally in the sixth, fueled in part by Fielder's bloop single following a Miguel Cabrera walk, provided Detroit its first opportunity since those early innings. Martinez's single down the right-field line allowed Cabrera to jog home from second, avoiding a throw when Almonte struggled to pick up the ball. Omar Infante plated Fielder from third with a line-drive single to left.

"I was just making sure that he brings the ball up," Martinez said. "He's got a pretty good two-seamer and I just want to make sure that he brings the ball up."

Saunders (11-15) entered Monday allowing a .341 batting average and .964 OPS to right-handed hitters on the season. Fielder's single, however, bucked his trend against lefties, who were batting just .220 against him.

Hunter added an insurance run in the eighth with a two-out single through the middle off Seattle's former closer Tom Wilhelmsen.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:56 am

Tigers lower magic number to 6 to clinch AL Central
Miggy hits No. 44 before bullpen preserves the lead in late innings

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/18/2013 1:21 AM ET


BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- One line from Jim Leyland on Tuesday afternoon might well have summed up a Tuesday evening in the life of a manager in a playoff race.

"My stomach hasn't been too good lately, to be honest with you," Leyland said. "I don't know what's wrong with it. It's not too good when the highlight of your day is getting up at seven in the morning to get to the grocery store to get prune juice."

It couldn't have felt any better Tuesday night.

Hours later, Leyland was more than five minutes into his postgame media session, having answered questions about just about every situation that came up in Tuesday's 6-2 Tigers win over the Mariners, when he finally let out a brief sigh of relief. His office was nearly empty by then. His nerves were still going.

Their magic number to clinch the American League Central, now down to six, wasn't at the front of Leyland's mind, even though the television in his office showed second-place Cleveland pulling ahead on Kansas City to stay six games back. He had his own problems.

"That was a tough game to manage," Leyland said, leaning back a bit in his office chair. "I mean, that's what baseball at this time of year is all about. The kid [Jose] Alvarez, you just can't say enough about what he did."

It was a mid-September matchup against a Seattle team that has looked overmatched offensively on its way to an AL-low .239 average on the year. The look on his face didn't show it. The records didn't make it any easier on him as he watched Alvarez battle fellow rookie Mike Zunino with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning of a 3-2 game.

Alvarez earned raves in June as a spot starter. He rejoined the team in August as a long reliever, then returned as a September callup for bullpen depth. On Tuesday, he was the spot reliever on the line, a Minor League free agent last winter facing one of Seattle's top prospects and the third overall pick from last year's Draft.

Leyland replaced lefty Phil Coke with another lefty, something he rarely ever does, to set up a matchup against a righty, knowing it could backfire. It was his second consecutive inning that led to an all-or-nothing matchup with lead-changing runners in scoring position. He had just watched Al Alburquerque retire the top two hitters in Seattle's order with the potential go-ahead run at third in the seventh inning.

That was different, a matchup that favored a strikeout specialist like Alburquerque, if only he could execute, and he did. This eighth-inning showdown was a lefty against a righty, and it lasted 11 pitches.

"I don't like those usually, because when a hitter sees that many pitches, he usually hits it hard somewhere," Leyland said. "I wasn't very comfortable, but I knew it was going to be [Endy] Chavez [pinch-hitting] against a right-hander, and you couldn't double up Chavez. I just took a chance with his repertoire of pitches that maybe he could get him out front and get a ground ball."

Leyland dreaded it. Alvarez welcomed it.

"It was a big opportunity," Alvarez said. "I wanted it and they gave me the opportunity."

However, his counterpart wanted it, too. Never mind that the Mariners' fate this season was decided long before Zunino came back from the disabled list two weeks ago. This was a chance to prove himself as well.

"It was one where you try to get in defense mode and just battle," Zunino said, having fallen into a 1-2 count. "I was able to see all his pitches, but in that situation, a ground ball is the last thing I wanted to do. All I could do was hustle it out."

The shortstop behind Alvarez was welcoming a chance, too. It was Jose Iglesias' error on what looked like a double play that put the second of three consecutive runners on with one out against Coke, whose two walks allowed Seattle to load the bases without a hit.

"As soon as you drop the ball, it's over," Iglesias said. "You have to be ready to catch another one."

Zunino fouled off five two-strike pitches -- changeups, sliders and a fastball -- to extend the at-bat, each time leaving Alvarez and catcher Alex Avila to come up with something else. Eventually, he changed the game plan.

"I was trying to call pitches to where we can get the strikeout, but I was looking more for the ground ball," Avila said. "I took a couple of shots at maybe striking him out with the fastball or the cut slider going in, maybe trying to get him to swing over top of it. But he had a pretty good at-bat, just getting a piece of it, which I think kind of helped set up that two-seamer away to get the ground ball. We just showed him a little bit in to get him thinking about it and then backed away."

One more pitch, one different bit of contact off the bat set everything in motion. Omar Infante scooped the ball and flipped it towards second as Iglesias darted over, taking the throw high with a clear view of Prince Fielder at first because Michael Saunders had stopped to avoid a tag. Zunino lunged for the bag, hitting with the front of his foot, but the throw barely beat him.

"Big double play for us, giving us the momentum to come back and get some more runs," Iglesias said.

It wasn't just the final margin of victory that overshadowed what Alvarez did. Miguel Cabrera's first home run since Aug. 26, ending a streak of 47 at-bats between homers, and Avila's first triple in 13 months had a part in that as well. Anibal Sanchez got a no-decision, but struck out 10 over 6 1/3 innings. But the reaction from Leyland and the clubhouse showed Alvarez wasn't overlooked.

A two-out walk in the ninth denied Alvarez a chance at his first save, but for a Minor League signing who had never been in Triple-A before this year, the first four outs were big enough.

"Oh man, it's a good feeling for me," Alvarez said. "I'm just doing anything to win it."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:12 am

No help for Verlander, but Tigers close in on playoffs
Offense shut down; magic number down to five with Indians' loss

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/19/2013 12:35 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The 98-mph fastball on Justin Verlander's 123rd pitch of Wednesday night looked familiar, as did the curveball that dropped over the plate for a called third strike to end his seventh and final inning. The end results continue to fluster.

After snapping his six-game winless streak last time out, Verlander's winning ways didn't last long. The Tigers' 8-0 loss to the Mariners, however, wasn't much on him. He was outpitched by Hisashi Iwakuma, no question, but he wasn't outmatched.

"He didn't give up many hits," manager Jim Leyland said. "He gave us a chance to win. We just didn't do much with their pitcher."

They scored none. Despite Verlander's high run support total for the season, that has happened a few times.

Thanks to Cleveland's loss in Kansas City Wednesday night, the Tigers still crept closer to a third consecutive division title. Their lead in the American League Central remains at six games, now with 10 games left to play. Their magic number to clinch is down to five.

The impact of the loss on the playoff race was negligible. What the outing means for Verlander's mission to get his pitching in order for postseason play is a little less definitive.

"I think the stuff has been getting better just about every time out," Verlander said. "How I'm going to be in the postseason, we'll see. You never want to say anything is clinched or anything until it is."

Verlander can expect more tough matchups like these in October, no matter how the Tigers order their postseason rotation. With the high caliber of postseason pitching looming, whether it's from Oakland or elsewhere, it's difficult to expect an abundance of run support. But he'll have to keep it close. And the Tigers, regardless of who's pitching, will have to convert chances.

Until four add-on runs in the eighth off Phil Coke, the loss was looking similar to the 2-0 shutout defeat Verlander took when he opposed Iwakuma on April 18 in Seattle. By game's end, that duel was difficult to recognize.

The Tigers were blanked for the 11th time this season and the fourth in a Verlander start. It's hard to draw pity when the Tigers have also scored nine or more runs in five of his other starts, but it's hard to center the blame on Verlander, either.

He wasn't dominant, especially early on his way to three-ball counts to five of Seattle's first 12 hitters. He overcame a leadoff walk in the opening inning, but he paid for one in the second with back-to-back RBI hits into the gap in left-center field. Michael Saunders doubled home Justin Smoak and scored on Nick Franklin's single.

"I wasn't able to execute fastball to my glove side," Verlander said. "I tried to go in on both those guys and left it middle, middle away, and that played in obviously to what they were trying to do at that point, because they both drove the ball to the left side. If I get that ball in, it might be a totally different situation."

An infield single and a one-out walk in the third inning had Verlander (13-12) looking for outs to keep it close, not just the game but his pitch count. He found it with the curveball that has been almost as frustrating for him to nail down as the fastball.

Verlander retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced. Smoak's 17th home run, a drive to right off the fastball, was the exception. Four of Verlander's six strikeouts came on curveballs, three of them called. He didn't overpower the M's much except for the fastball late, but he found a mix with which he was comfortable.

He threw a curveball on the corner to Franklin that froze him for a strikeout leading off the seventh. It was the kind of curveball he was spotting while ahead in the count when he's been on the last couple years.

"That felt really, really good," Verlander said. "That's what I was so good at was throwing that backdoor curveball with regularity and having it be right on the corner and hard for guys to foul it off or anything."

Verlander threw 22 curveballs in the game. Seventeen of them went for strikes, according to data from MLB.com Gameday and brooksbaseball.net, despite just two swings and misses.

In the end, it only mattered on his pitching line. With the way Iwakuma attacked a Tigers lineup he shut out for six innings in April, two bases-loaded chances in the first four innings were their only shots to get runs.

The first came in the second inning when Franklin mishandled a Don Kelly infield single, followed by a two-out double from Prince Fielder. Iwakuma (13-6) intentionally walked Victor Martinez to face Matt Tuiasosopo, who got the start over Andy Dirks in left because right-handed hitters have fared better against the pitcher. Iwakuma sent down Tuiaosopo swinging at a slider, as he did to a few other right-handed hitters on the night.

Another infield single, this one from Martinez, started a fourth-inning rally that reloaded the bases once Tuiasosopo walked and Kyle Seager booted an Alex Avila grounder to third. Iwakuma used a splitter to get an inning-ending double play from rookie second baseman Hernan Perez.

Iwakuma retired 11 in a row from there, extending his streak to 25 consecutive scoreless innings on the road. After the game, he said through a translator that it was "probably my best game of the season."

Said Avila: "It definitely was a little frustrating. He was very good today. He didn't throw any mistakes and he was just lights-out. We've had trouble with him in the past, and he's just a good pitcher. He doesn't have a [2.76] ERA for no reason."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:48 pm

Tigers lower magic number behind late rally
Prince's RBI single and Martinez's RBI double pick up Fister in finale

By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com | 9/19/2013 6:09 PM ET


BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The Mariners elected to intentionally walk Victor Martinez twice, but Martinez made them pay when he did get a chance to hit. His RBI double in the seventh inning gave the Tigers a lead they wouldn't relinquish in a 5-4 win on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

With Prince Fielder on first base, after he singled home Torii Hunter to tie the game at 4 in the seventh inning, Martinez drilled a double to the left-field wall, scoring Fielder in a close play at the plate.

Detroit's magic number now sits at four to clinch a third consecutive American League Central title, while increasing its lead in the division to 6 1/2 games above the Indians.

"Victor is still Victor," Hunter said. "He's a professional hitter. He waits for his pitch, and if he gets one in the zone where he's looking, he's going to capitalize on it. He's been doing it all second half."

Martinez is batting .367 with an .899 OPS and 28 RBIs following the All-Star break. After struggling through the first three months of the season, he's been able to show his ability to protect Miguel Cabrera and Fielder in the lineup.

"I've known him a long time, and I know all the ways he can beat you," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "The last time, there was nowhere to put him because Prince was on first, and he did what he's done for years. He's just a great hitter."

Meanwhile, Doug Fister allowed four runs on nine hit in 7 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out 10. Of the 23 outs he recorded, 20 were by groundout or strikeout. It was the fifth game of his career with at least 10 strikeouts.


"He was good," said Martinez, who was making his third start of the season as a catcher. "He was working at a pretty good pace, working all of his pitches. He left a couple pitches up in the zone that got hit hard. Other than that, another great outing, and he gave us a great chance to come back and win this game and that's all that matters."

The Mariners scored in the first inning before Hunter hit his 16th home run of the season in the bottom half, tying the game at 1. Later in the inning, Martinez hit a double to the warning track in left that bounced off Raul Ibanez's glove to score Fielder from first, putting the Tigers in front, 2-1.

Cabrera hit a two-out single in the third inning, and Fielder followed with a double. The Mariners then intentionally walked Martinez, which led to an Omar Infante walk with the bases loaded, pushing the Tigers' lead to 3-1.

"You're taking one risk that you've got a young pitcher that might walk the next guy," manager Jim Leyland said. "And unfortunately for them, that's what happened. But that was a no-brainer. The strategy of it was absolutely right."

After retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, Fister gave up two singles to begin the fifth inning. He then left a changeup over the plate that Dustin Ackley drilled over the right-field wall for a three-run homer, giving the Mariners a 4-3 lead.

"You've got to be aggressive and not fall behind because he has some chase pitches with the cutter and curveball," Ackley said. "You have to try to get that guy in as early as you can and not get into a battle and just put something in play."

Hunter hit a leadoff double in the seventh inning to right-center, and moved to third on a flyout. Fielder then followed with a single to left before Martinez's double to the left-field fence. While the Mariners set up a quick relay and the throw beat Fielder to the plate, similar to the final out in Saturday's game against the Royals, Fielder slid past the tag and slapped the ground in celebration.

"I know I got him, that's without a question," Mariners catcher Mike Zunino said. "I know I tagged him, but it was one of those where he said his foot got in there. [Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa] gets the final say-so, so that's all you can do."

After Fister exited with two outs in the eighth inning, it was up to the bullpen. Drew Smyly struck out the only batter he faced and Joaquin Benoit earned his 22nd save of the season by pitching a perfect ninth inning.

" "Benoit, you know he has been lights out like all year," Hunter said. "Smyly has been huge for us. We need a lefty to come out, and Smyly has been doing that. He's been picking us up big time. Our bullpen has been doing a great job."

It was the Tigers' seventh win of the season when trailing after six innings, and it puts them another step closer to the postseason.

"We have a job to do, and that's what a team does is trust one another," Fister said. "I think that's what kind of sets us apart right now. We're trusting one another, we're playing well together, and kind of getting some momentum."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:12 am

Scherzer secures No. 20 as Tigers cut magic number
Allows three runs over six innings; Hunter has four hits, three RBIs

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/21/2013 12:38 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Max Scherzer spent all summer insisting that his league-leading win total was a team accomplishment, not his own. Fitting, then, that on the night of his milestone victory, becoming the second Tigers pitcher in 22 years to reach 20 wins, it was a team celebration.

They supported him for six innings, from another offensive onslaught toward his league-leading run support to a couple of key defensive plays in a 12-5 win over the White Sox. Then they toasted him.

"We had a nice little champagne toast to kind of celebrate 20 wins," Scherzer (20-3) said. "It's definitely nice to celebrate with your teammates because they're the ones that got me here."

The Tigers are on the verge of another celebration. Despite Cleveland's rain-shortened 2-1 win over Houston on Friday night at Progressive Field to take over one of the American League Wild Card spots, the Tigers' victory took them one step closer to deciding the AL Central, reducing the magic number for Detroit's third consecutive division crown to three.

That celebration could happen as soon as Sunday's home finale, though it would require at least one Astros win over the second-place Indians. That will be more about the team than this one.

Friday's toast, in part, was the Tigers' way of getting Scherzer to enjoy this.

"He appreciates it. I know he does," said catcher Alex Avila. "And he understands that sometimes you can pitch really well and not get a win. Obviously, luck has to be involved, but for a pitcher to win 20 games that means a lot of things are going right for you in a season. It's extremely difficult to do, an incredible milestone.

"So while he believes in what he says, that it's more of a team number, it's definitely something I know he appreciates and we appreciate. It's not an easy accomplishment."

The last four weeks with Scherzer stuck on 19 wins showed that. He had taken two losses and two no-decisions since his 19-1 start, including two well-pitched seven-inning performances that went unrewarded against Boston and Kansas City.

Friday was not one of those performances. In terms of effectiveness, this one trended toward the other end, in part because the long break he had sitting through Detroit's four-run, six-hit third inning. It was an issue that haunted him early in the season, but he has learned to handle it relatively well.

All those runs -- seven in 2 2/3 innings off spot starter Dylan Axelrod -- will make this win look like a relative cruise, giving critics another reason to overlook his other numbers. The two pitches he made with the game on the line, with Paul Konerko up as the potential tying run in the fifth inning, will be tougher to remember. He'll recall them, though.

It happened quickly enough that it snuck up on many in the announced crowd of 39,643 at Comerica Park who saw Detroit take a 7-1 lead in the third inning. Former Tigers teammate Avisail Garcia chipped away at that with a two-run homer in the fourth. A leadoff double from Gordon Beckham and one-out single from Alejandro De Aza ignited the rally in the fifth as the middle of the White Sox lineup -- and its two veteran power hitters -- loomed.

Once Scherzer lost Conor Gillaspie to a five-pitch walk, there stood Konerko with the bases loaded. He entered the night just 5-for-29 -- all singles -- with 15 strikeouts against Scherzer since 2010, but on a rainy night with a wet mound, Scherzer was a mistake away from a new game.

Scherzer went to the approach that has gotten him to this point.

"I had shown him a lot of fastballs," he said, "and I thought I needed to show him a good slider. I led him off with a good slider, was able to generate a swing and miss. And seeing how he swung at that, I thought if I threw another good one, that would be a good pitch in that count. Fortunately, I threw another good one down and away and was able to get a tapper to [second baseman] Omar [Infante]."

Said Garcia: "He's a great pitcher, because he has so many ways to get you out. Most of the time, no matter what you do, he gets you out."

Five Detroit runs in the bottom half of the inning, two of them on Victor Martinez's 13th homer, put this one away. And after four weeks waiting for Scherzer's 20th win, the countdown was on.

Scherzer left with three runs allowed on six hits. His three strikeouts marked his lowest total of the season, but Detroit's offensive onslaught didn't leave him needing many on his way to becoming the Tigers' second 20-game winner in three years. Justin Verlander won 24 games on his way to taking AL Cy Young and MVP honors in 2011.

Unless Scherzer loses in his final regular-season start Wednesday at Minnesota, he'll be the Majors' first 20-game winner with as few as three losses since Cliff Lee went 22-3 for Cleveland in 2008.

"It's special," Scherzer allowed, "but at the same time, I also have to give credit to some of my teammates. This is also their moment, too. It would be naive for me to take all the credit for this. They're the ones out there playing great defense. They're the ones scoring the extra hits. They've had such great years at the plate, every time I take the mound.

"As much as I have pitched well this year, I also have to give credit to the rest of the guys in the clubhouse, because they're the ones that helped me get there."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:19 am

Improbable rally cuts Tigers' magic number to two
Dirks hits three-run homer in six-run ninth; Infante wins it 12th

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/22/2013 1:38 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The Tigers have a chance to clinch their third consecutive division title in front of their home fans Sunday afternoon, their magic number whittled to two. If they do, it might still be hard to top the atmosphere they had Saturday night after pulling off a 7-6 win in 12 innings over the White Sox.

They've felt pretty confident all year in their chances at winning the American League Central. They couldn't say the same for their chances at hitting Chris Sale.

"Anytime he leaves the game, everybody usually gets pretty happy," said Andy Dirks, who was on the bench waiting for a chance to hit whenever Sale left the game.

Even when he did, the manager who preaches 27 outs couldn't blame some among the 41,772 for leaving when they faced a 6-0 deficit in the ninth.

"I don't blame people," Leyland said. "I could see some people leaving. It's getting late. They're getting the kids home. I'm just happy for the ones that did stay."

It looked like they were about to watch Sale pick up his fourth win against the Tigers. Instead, they were watching a setup for history. Once the Tigers sent the middle of their order up in the ninth against the White Sox bullpen, it looked like nothing they had seen.

"That was unbelievable," said Don Kelly, who scored the winning run in the 12th on Omar Infante's infield single. "I can't remember anything six runs down, obviously. We've had some comebacks, but to be able to put up six and win it in extras, that was fun."

In fact, unless they were at Briggs Stadium to watch Vic Wertz, George Kell and Hoot Evers beat up on the Washington Senators on Aug. 22, 1947, nobody had seen it.

No Tigers team in 66 years had come back from a six-run deficit in the ninth inning to win a game. This year's team erased a three-run gap in the ninth last month against Oakland, capped by a three-run walkoff homer from Hunter, but that was a warmup compared to this.

They hit for the cycle against hard-throwing White Sox reliever Nate Jones within their first five batters of the ninth, capped by Dirks' pinch-hit, three-run homer. They loaded the bases on walks within the next four batters after that. They batted around in the ninth, their lone out coming on a sacrifice bunt, and they still needed a Hunter sacrifice fly to tie it.

"We were starting to smell it when we kept it going there," Leyland said. "I think guys started to smell it, really got into it."

That's how big this comeback was.

"We never give up," Hunter said. "As long as we have outs, we're good. We're professional guys. We've been around the game a long time, had a lot of failures. But one thing you learn with experience, you never give up. Anything can happen, and that's what we did that inning. But when Dirks hit that home run, I think that was the crushing gut shot."

By that point, the scoreless pitching duel between Sale and Rick Porcello was unrecognizable. Two seventh-inning runs off Porcello, then four more off Detroit's bullpen seemingly had Sale ready to boost his record once more.

The one catch was that Sale wouldn't have a chance to finish it. Though Austin Jackson was 2-for-30 against him when he stepped to the plate with two outs in the eighth as the potential tying run in a 3-0 game, White Sox manager Robin Ventura went to Jones.

Jones ended the threat with a Jackson groundout, but the Tigers were still thankful. It was the only out he recorded, despite facing five batters in the ninth, starting with Hunter's leadoff triple and continuing with back-to-back singles from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.

"It seemed like we just kind of turned it up a notch," Jackson said. "We kept going up there and having good ABs, working the counts. And when we did get a good pitch to hit, we hit it hard and put it in play."

Two pitches later, what looked like a face-saving rally became a game-changer. Victor Martinez turned on a first-pitch, 98-mph fastball from Jones and lined it into the right-field corner for an RBI double and a 6-2 game. Dirks promptly stepped in to pinch-hit for Matt Tuiasosopo, looking to jump a first-pitch fastball.

"It's not one of those situations where it's easy to let a pitch go by, maybe strike one, and then he can kind of work you the way he wants," Dirks said.

He got a slider and jumped on it anyway, sending it into the right-field seats.

"If it's around the zone, you have to take a whack at it," Dirks said, "because you haven't seen a pitch yet and you're facing the bullpen guys and they're usually pretty good. I think if something's in the zone, you have to take a hack at it."

The tying run got on and moved around thanks to a wild performance from closer Addison Reed. By the time he regrouped, Hunter was back up, needing only a sacrifice fly to tie it. He wasn't waiting, either.

"I've faced him too many times to see what he's got," Hunter said. "I was actually trying to get the ball up. I wanted to get something up. He threw a pitch low and I took it, but I wanted something up that I could put in the outfield."

Donnie Veal stranded the winning run at third by retiring Fielder, then sent down the Tigers in order in 10th, but he only delayed their fate. With the back end of Detroit's bullpen now involved, the Tigers could test the depth of the White Sox bullpen. Rookie Jake Petricka stranded the potential winning run at third in the 11th with a Hunter groundout, but walked the bases loaded in the 12th.

Infante hit a comebacker to the first-base side of the mound, giving Petricka a chance at a double play if he could snare it cleanly. He couldn't, leaving the ball rolling to second as Kelly came home.

"The game's hard unless you get 27 outs," Ventura said. "You look at it with no game clock. They kept battling, good at-bat after good at-bat. We have our guys that you trust going at there, and just didn't get it done."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:52 pm

Tigers unable to shrink magic number
Sanchez loses for first time since July 19; clinch scenario sits at 2

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/22/2013 6:57 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The Tigers' magical script needs a rewrite. The script that had them clinching the American League Central at home in their final regular-season game, anyway, is out.

"It would have been a fairy-tale deal to do it here," manager Jim Leyland said.

They haven't found a way to follow that one in recent years. With six road games left and two wins in either Minnesota or Miami being enough to clinch a third consecutive division title, they won't bemoan their predicament.

"We have to go out and win a couple games. It's that simple," Leyland said after closing the home schedule with Sunday's 6-3 loss to the White Sox. "There's no secret to what we have to do. We're packed up."

The closest to a storybook ending for the Tigers on Sunday was the annual rookie ritual. One prospect after another donned a fairy-tale character costume as they filed out of Comerica Park and headed toward the airport and a trip to Minneapolis.

This was one flight they were hoping was delayed.

The team plane was prepared for a late departure if the Tigers clinched on Sunday, allowing players and coaches to celebrate in front of sellout crowd of 41,749. They needed a win over Chicago and a loss from second-place Cleveland to the Astros, owners of baseball's worst record.

They got neither. As a result, their magic number remains at two, their lead in the division whittled to five games with six to play. Even if they lose out now, they're guaranteed at least a tie for a Wild Card spot, which would require a playoff.

The Tigers can clinch at least a Wild Card spot and a division tie Monday if they beat the Twins. With the Indians off Monday, the soonest Detroit can clinch a division title is Tuesday.

The Tigers are used to this. They clinched last year's division crown in Kansas City to start the final series of the season. Two years ago, they clinched in mid-September in Oakland. They clinched a World Series berth in Detroit last year, sending the city into a frenzy, but haven't clinched a postseason spot on home ground since 1987, when they swept past the Blue Jays in the final series of the regular season at Tiger Stadium.

"We thought we were going to complete it here," said Anibal Sanchez, "but Cleveland, they played pretty big. They're in first place or second place for the Wild Card. They play hard. They keep us playing hard for two more games.

"We need to win. At the end, we need to win the games we need to clinch and get ready for the playoffs."

Even if Sanchez had delivered a win, Cleveland's win ruled out the possibility of clinching at home. Instead, he struggled on his way to his first loss since July 19.

After Detroit's biggest ninth-inning comeback in 66 years Saturday night, nothing about Sunday's matchup suggested the Tigers would be looking at another big deficit. Sanchez entered his next-to-last start of the season leading the league in ERA, having allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his previous 12 starts, and unbeaten in his last 11 starts. He awaited a Chicago lineup without veteran sluggers Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn.

Instead of familiar foes, it was former teammate Avisail Garcia left to haunt the Tigers. He batted cleanup, opened the scoring with a two-out RBI single up the middle in the first inning and then padded the lead with a bloop RBI single down the left-field line in the fifth. The latter hit plated Conor Gillaspie, who blistered a two-run triple to straightaway center field a few pitches earlier to move the White Sox in front.

"I think for me, it was just one pitch, one pitch against Gillaspie," Sanchez said. "He hit it hard, he brought in a couple runs and then Avisail, he got a good game today. So I think in the end, you have to give credit to them. They played hard in the situation they're in right now. And we need to continue. We need to take that second step."

Sanchez (14-8) lasted just five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits with two walks and six strikeouts. On the heels of Saturday's six-run ninth inning comeback, it was the example of Leyland's oft-turned phrase: Momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher.

"And today, one of our aces just wasn't sharp," Leyland said.

Meanwhile, what looked like a favorable matchup for Tigers hitters against White Sox rookie Erik Johnson fizzled out despite nine hits over 6 2/3 innings. Prince Fielder's 25th home run tied the game in the fourth, but Johnson (2-2) stranded runners on the corners later that inning to halt the Tigers' momentum.

"I thought that I mixed well," Johnson said. "There's a lot of great hitters over there, but I threw all four pitches for strikes today. I thought that helped me out."

The Tigers had a 6-1 deficit when they showed hints of making one more comeback, rallying for three singles to load the bases against Johnson in the seventh. Austin Jackson drove in Alex Avila with a sacrifice fly, but lefty reliever Donnie Veal -- who kept Saturday's game tied into extra innings -- halted this rally with a lineout from pinch-hitter Torii Hunter.

Two more hits in the ninth created some final hints at a rally, pushing the potential tying run to the on-deck circle with Ramon Santiago's RBI groundout in the ninth.

That's where the fairy tale ended.

"We get a little rally going and you think the same thing can happen again," said Don Kelly, who played third base in place of injured Miguel Cabrera. "But we just came up a little short."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:10 am

Tigers must wait to celebrate after Twins rally late
Verlander fans 12 over six in no-decision, but bullpen opens the door

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/24/2013 2:32 AM ET

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS -- All that was lost on Monday was an opportunity. Still, what an opportunity it was.

In the end, there was very little difference in the visitors' clubhouse at Target Field on Monday night after Brian Dozier's game-tying homer in the ninth and game-winning run in the 11th sent the Tigers to a 4-3 loss. All that was left was a bullpen to piece together and a third baseman to keep upright for another chance to clinch on Tuesday.

"This is not going to change. We've got to win two games somehow," manager Jim Leyland said. "The math doesn't change. It changes if you win a game. So somehow we have to win two games."

One win or a Texas loss clinches no worse than an American League Wild Card spot and a tie atop the AL Central. Two wins or two Cleveland losses, or one of each, clinch Detroit's third consecutive division crown.

But the Tigers weren't going to be celebrating even if they had clinched a postseason berth on Monday. They have bigger goals in mind, so there were no champagne bottles to stash away, no cigars to put in a closet after four unanswered Twins runs.

All they had to put away was this game, tough as that might be.

"Obviously, it's tough. We're sitting here knocking on the door, and every win counts," said Justin Verlander, whose six shutout innings and 12 strikeouts went unrewarded. "It's a tough pill to swallow, but that's the lovely thing about baseball. We come out here tomorrow and we have another day, another crack at a win."

Verlander, meanwhile, will start preparing for his final start, in Sunday's season finale at Miami. If he can bring back the curveball and slider he threw at Twins batters on Monday, he'll have some momentum heading into the postseason.

If the postseason is still a question by then, they're in trouble.

By then the Tigers hope to have their bullpen in order for the postseason as well. With hard-throwing rookie reliever Bruce Rondon cleared to pitch as soon as Tuesday, they have a key piece whose absence was clearly felt when the Twins rallied on Monday. With Phil Coke cleared as well, they'll have a little more left-handed depth if he can regain the finish on his pitches.

The Tigers used six relievers on Monday, four to get through the eighth. The Twins' comeback didn't come close to the six-run rally the Tigers enjoyed on Saturday, but they erased what had been a three-run deficit at the seventh-inning stretch. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Doumit off Jose Veras put the tying run on second base in the eighth inning, prompting Leyland to turn to Joaquin Benoit for a potential five-out save.

Benoit, 22-for-22 in save chances entering the night, got the outs he needed to end the eighth. Once he came back out for the ninth, however, he paid for a 94-mph fastball that Dozier jumped on for a drive to left-center to tie the score at 3.

"My plan is to hit the ball hard. Whether it gets out or not depends on where I make contact with the baseball," Dozier said. "But I put a good swing on it, and he left it in the zone."

It was the just the fifth home run all year off Benoit, who allowed 14 last season, and it ended his perfect mark since taking over closer duties from Jose Valverde in June.

"To me, I don't even consider that a blown save," Leyland said. "I mean, you're asking a guy to do a little bit more than you want to ask him. That's a tough ticket for me. He's been absolutely fantastic. He's a very, very outstanding pitcher. I think you saw that after the home run. Some guys might have caved in and given up another run. Not him. That's how good he is."

After Jose Alvarez stranded the potential winning run on second base in the 10th, Dozier's leadoff single in the 11th put the Twins' offense in motion off Luke Putkonen (1-2). Josh Willingham struck out on a Putkonen changeup in the dirt, but the ball bounced away from catcher Brayan Pena, allowing Dozier to advance to second.

Pinto's line drive to right sent Dozier around third, testing former Twin Torii Hunter, whose throw sailed over Pena at the plate.

"I didn't have a grip on it," Hunter said. "I threw it like a palmball. I tried to be quick, and I just didn't have a grip on it. It slipped out of my hands."

It was a fitting end to a bizarre night that saw Verlander toss six shutout innings, set a Target Field record for strikeouts by a visiting pitcher, yet not record an out at first base. He got an Alex Presley popup to short to open his outing, then recorded his next 10 outs by strikeout, including six in a row his second time through the Minnesota order. He allowed just five balls in play through the first four innings, three of them for base hits.

The only time Prince Fielder touched a ball in play behind him was a leaping catch behind the bag to snare an Escobar liner with a runner on second. The only groundout recorded was a fielder's choice at third when Presley took off from second base on a grounder to short.

"I think I had the best breaking ball I had all year," Verlander said. "It was really sharp. I was able to go to it when I wanted to, throw it for strikes and expand the zone with it. Fastball location was better than it has been, and I was able to execute for the most part."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:00 am

Tigers clinch playoff spot for third straight year
Benoit, bullpen bounce back; magic number one to clinch title

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/25/2013 1:55 AM ET

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS -- Four years after the Tigers lost a division crown at the Metrodome, they clinched a playoff spot down the street at Target Field. This one didn't have quite the same drama, not with the Twins in fourth place, but Tuesday night's 4-2 win meant plenty for the Tigers.

For Joaquin Benoit, it meant a little more.

He has thrived as a closer in part because he doesn't put too much pressure on himself in save situations. After his first blown save of the year, however, he made a lot of it. He wanted another shot at them in a playoff race situation.

"Everybody wants to come back when you have a rough outing and try to show everybody you can do your job," he admitted, "especially when people are going to say, 'Oh, he's blown his first game. Who knows what's going to happen next?' You can show everybody that you're still there."

He's still there at the end of Detroit's bullpen. And as he struck out Clete Thomas and Eduardo Escobar to leave the potential tying run at the plate and punch Detroit's playoff ticket once again, he showed he's still a formidable factor in Detroit's postseason hopes.

The same could be said of the bullpen as a whole. One night after the Twins scored four runs off the Tigers relief corps to nullify six shutout innings from Justin Verlander, Detroit relievers struck out seven of the nine batters they faced.

Chris Parmelee's ninth-inning double was the only ball hit out of the infield, let alone the only baserunner, and Benoit didn't allow him to get any further.

The eight bullpen outs included a 10-pitch, three-strikeout eighth inning from Bruce Rondon, whose first outing in three weeks showed no ill effects from the elbow tenderness that kept him out.

He hit 101 mph on the Target Field radar gun twice in his three-pitch strikeout of Trevor Plouffe, then he threw nasty sliders in the dirt to induce swings and misses from Josh Willingham and Josmil Pinto. If he had any lingering elbow soreness, he would've felt it on those.

He felt a "little bit weird, a little bit tight" when he first took the mound, he admitted through an interpreter. And when he threw the first slider, he felt "a little bit scared."

Once he realized he was fine, the results were potentially scary for the rest of the American League postseason field.

"Keeping hitters off balance at 100 mph is a pretty good asset to have," said starter Doug Fister (14-9), whose 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts made him Detroit's third 14-game winner.

Yes he is, which is why manager Jim Leyland was cautiously optimistic.

"I wanted to see if he threw it over the plate or around the plate," Leyland said. "The only thing I was concerned about was the control because he hadn't pitched in so long, but it set up just right for him, the lineup did, because you had three right-handers in a row there. So we couldn't ask for anything better."

The bullpen effort protected a lead built entirely on fourth-inning home runs. The Tigers hadn't hit three in a game since Aug. 26. With struggling Twins lefty Scott Diamond on the mound, they produced their first three-homer inning since June 1.

After stranding four runners on base through the first three innings, including the bases loaded with nobody out in the second, they simply started circling them.

"Well, we won the game the way we win games: We hit the ball in the gap and we hit it over the fence," Leyland said. "When we hit the ball in the gap and over the fence, we're pretty good."

Victor Martinez led off the onslaught with a line drive down the left-field line, a few feet inside the foul pole, for his 14th home run. Four pitches later, Omar Infante lined one out to left for his 10th.

After Diamond (6-12) seemingly settled down, Ramon Santiago's line-drive single to right extended the inning for Austin Jackson, who hit his first homer since Aug. 23.

"With Infante, it was a hard changeup right over the middle," Diamond said. "I thought I had Martinez punched out earlier in the at-bat, but then I left a fastball up over the plate. It wasn't a good pitch at all. And with Jackson, it was ball that was down, but he dropped the head on it. I thought it was a decent pitch, but he got it pretty well."

Suddenly, what had been a 1-0 deficit and a Tigers fan base on edge when the inning started was a 4-1 lead. The way Fister and the bullpen pitched, it was plenty.

The capper was a rebound from Benoit, not just mentally but physically, for his 23rd save in 24 chances. He threw 1 2/3 innings Monday night, then bounced back for a standard three-out save Tuesday. It's not the way Leyland likes to tax Benoit's arm, but it's the kind of rebound he's going to have to do in the postseason.

"It was really challenging for me coming back, 1 2/3 yesterday, coming back and throwing one inning today," Benoit said. "It was good."

With Tuesday's win, they've guaranteed themselves a postseason spot. With a win in any of the final four games, they'll clinch their third straight division title.

If they can go in with their bullpen pitching like this, they like their chances a little better.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:27 am


Party Central: Tigers clinch division title
Scherzer scatters two hits, fans 10 over seven scoreless innings

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/26/2013 2:30 AM ET

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS -- Max Scherzer said he was going to treat the chance to clinch another American League Central title like a World Series start. He ended up putting an exclamation point on his career season.

Scherzer spent half the season calling his wins and losses fluky. Then he spent the second half calling his victories a team accomplishment. The 1-0 win he delivered with seven shutout innings Wednesday night against the Twins at Target Field was a lot about him, no matter how much he tried to deflect the attention.

"Tonight he showed why he's the Cy Young winner," manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't vote, but if that doesn't get him over the hump, I don't know what does."

The man with the highest run support in baseball closed out his season with a low-scoring gem, but it wasn't at the front of Scherzer's mind as he celebrated in a champagne-soaked clubhouse. Nor was his 21st win a big priority. He wanted to enjoy the division title with his teammates. He just happened to deliver seven shutout innings to help finish it off.

"There's not one person that you celebrate more than the other," Scherzer said. "We have 24 other guys in here that play so hard, that play with intensity, that have talent, produce in the field. It's a treat to be in this organization and be in this clubhouse with these guys."

Scherzer wanted to set up this celebration. When the Tigers lowered their magic number to one Tuesday night, Scherzer said he was going to treat the potential clincher like a playoff start. The way Scherzer reacted to each third out, he seemingly took that approach to the mound.

As early as the opening inning, Scherzer was charged up, slapping his glove after getting Josmil Pinto to strike out and strand runners at the corners following two walks.

That wasn't motivation, he said later. That was aggravation, and it came out in a way maybe the late Mark Fidrych could have appreciated.

"I was frustrated with myself at that point in the game," Scherzer said, "because I was walking guys, pitching behind in the count. I was able to get a big strikeout in that situation. So I was just like, 'Let's go! Pick it up!'

"I said every four-letter word I can say to myself. I said, 'Bring the intensity,' with four-letter words. I felt like I was able to do that. Even though I was walking guys and not pitching efficiently, with runners on base I was able to make big pitches."

The intensity wasn't a problem. Catcher Alex Avila actually worried his pitcher had too much of it.

"He was so jacked up for this game. I know, because he wanted to get it done, that he might have been a little overamped, which made him a little erratic," Avila said. "I mean, there was a stretch there in the middle of the game where we were pumping fastballs. He was so electric with his fastball and we got into a groove with it, and every once in a while, he would kind of lose command.

"Being able to battle through that, that was huge. It showed a lot about how he's grown as a pitcher."

Scherzer retired nine in a row from there, six by strikeout, primarily with fastball. He still didn't have his best command. Once that roll ended with a two-out walk to Pinto and an infield single from Chris Parmelee, Scherzer escaped another jam with a Chris Herrmann popout to third.

"Scherzer was tough," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It looked like early he was trying to find it, but once he got rolling like [Justin] Verlander the other day and found his pitches and his release point, the ball was diving everywhere."

Scherzer practically bounced off the mound when Alex Avila threw out Pedro Florimon trying to steal third for a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play to end a fifth-inning opportunity.

"That might have been one of the differences in the game," Scherzer said.

Scherzer threw 108 pitches over his first six innings, but with Detroit's bullpen short, all Leyland needed to know was whether he had enough for the seventh. Around the same time, his teammates were forming a huddle at the other end of the dugout, trying to raise their intensity with nine outs to go.

It looked like a football game more than a pennant race.

"I said, 'Hey, we need to get something going,' because [Kevin] Correia was pitching good," said Torii Hunter, who organized the dugout scrum. "His ball was moving all over the place and we were trying to get something going with him. Just a little something to push."

The Tigers had hits off Correia (9-13), but no runners in scoring position after the opening inning. Thus, Austin Jackson's triple leading off the game and Hunter's ensuing single through the middle stood as the difference.

Scherzer and the bullpen was going to have to carry this one. Scherzer didn't need a huddle for that.

"I was able to find a way to pitch through the sixth and pitch through the seventh when I wasn't at my best, and sometimes that's what you have to do," Scherzer said.

His season-high sixth walk of the night put Herrmann on to lead off the seventh inning and sent his pitch count past 110. Darin Mastroianni sacrificed Herrmann over to second with the potential tying run before Pedro Florimon flew out to left.

Alex Presley battled Scherzer for six pitches, pushing him past 120. Once Scherzer (21-3) saw left fielder Andy Dirks tracking Florimon's fly ball to end the inning, he was charging off the mound in appreciation.

Scherzer finishes the year with the highest winning percentage of a 20-game winner since Cliff Lee went 22-3 in 2008 with the Indians.

Asked if a 1-0 win means more, though, Scherzer shook his head.

"The win doesn't," he said. "The clinch means most, because that's a team thing. You get to pop champagne, smoke cigars and get a hangover with your teammates."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:00 am

Tigers loss sets up postseason start on road
Offense falls short against Koehler, Marlins' strong bullpen

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/27/2013 10:26 PM ET

BOX SCORE

MIAMI -- Don't tell the Tigers this season-ending three-game series against the Marlins didn't mean anything. Despite clinching a division title and playoff spot two days ago, they still had something to play for in Miami.

With Friday's 3-2 loss and the A's victory over the Mariners, the Tigers clinched the third seed in the postseason, which leaves them traveling to Oakland or Boston for the start of the ALDS.

Manager Jim Leyland had to consider the importance of the game, but also needed to give some of his players a break.

"That's a catch-22," Leyland said. "We tried to win that game tonight. If you noticed, we were pinch-hitting a lot of people. We were making pitching changes. But I just wanted to get a few people off their feet. I think that's more important. It actually worked out OK."

It's not exactly a kiss of death for the Tigers. They didn't have home-field advantage for any of their postseason games last year, though they opened that Division Series against the A's in Detroit thanks to a 2-3 format, and still made it to the World Series, going 3-4 on the road. They beat the Yankees in the 2011 AL Division Series in a Game 5 in New York.

The Tigers haven't had home-field advantage in a playoff matchup since the 2006 World Series, and they had that by virtue of the American League's win in the All-Star Game that summer. If they reach the Fall Classic this year, they'll open it at home by the same advantage.

"To be honest with you, I think sometimes the pressure's on the home team more," Leyland said.

It's a pressure the Tigers would've gladly taken, but they weren't willing to put other goals aside for it. They wanted to start resting some of their regulars, and they did, sitting Torii Hunter and Omar Infante while lifting Prince Fielder after a second-inning walk, his one plate appearance keeping his consecutive-game streak alive.

They wanted to get Rick Porcello prepared for the kind of bullpen work he could see in the postseason, and they did, scratching him from the scheduled start and instead inserting him into the game in a bases-loaded jam in the third inning to face Giancarlo Stanton.

As soon as the phone rang, Porcello noticed the difference.

"You're sitting there watching the game and then the phone rings and you're called on," he said. "You've gotta flip the switch and be mentally prepared to go out there and make pitches. That's the biggest difference."

Stanton's ensuing double into the left-field corner accounted for all of the Marlins' scoring, the third run coming around as Jhonny Peralta, playing his first professional game ever in left field, rounded the ball in the corner.

"They say you need to play deep for guys like Stanton," Peralta said. "I think he hit it perfect, close to the line. There's nothing I can do right there."

They wanted to see Peralta in left in his return from his 50-game suspension, and he had a learning experience. Beyond the chase on the double, he ran down a fly ball in shallow left, and he had a close ball with Austin Jackson on a ball in the gap.

"If you play Jhonny Peralta in left field, you're saying that you are willing to accept what you get," Leyland said. "He's not going to be Andy Dirks or Donnie Kelly -- that fast. You're either willing to accept what you get, which is obviously trying to get a hitter if you go that way. He did fine."

They wanted to get Miguel Cabrera enough at-bats to keep his timing at the plate. He got that, plus a rousing welcome from his old home crowd in his first game back in Miami since the trade that made him a Tiger.

"It seemed like half the stadium is from Venezuela," Cabrera said. "It was great to see that. It was great to be back here in Miami, man."

Cabrera singled in the fourth inning before hitting a long drive off the right-field fence for a single in the sixth. He left for pinch-runner Matt Tuiasosopo, who came around to score on Peralta's double in a sign his timing isn't far off.

It was the kind of hit Cabrera tried to stretch into a double earlier this month and ended up aggravating his groin. He wasn't going to try it again, not on the strong-armed Stanton.

"It was tough," Cabrera admitted. "It was like, 'Don't do it. Stop. Don't be a hero again.' It was great, but I think if I tried to make it to second base, it was going to be bad."

They wanted to get Jose Iglesias back at shortstop after he missed a week with a bruised left hand, and he played the entire game. He went 0-for-4 at the plate, and he admitted afterwards that his grip on the bat still isn't as strong as he wants, but he felt comfortable in the field.

"Sore," Iglesias said to describe his hand. "It's something that I've got to deal with. It's not good, but I've got to deal with it."

The only other goal Leyland wanted to get to, he couldn't. He hoped to set up lefty Darin Downs against a left-handed hitter, and had him ready to pitch if Logan Morrison came up again. He was on deck in the ninth when Jose Veras retired Justin Ruggiano.

Leyland can put that on tomorrow's list. It's still a pretty long line, even if home field is no longer up for grabs. They've won on the road before. If they're ready, they'll try to win again.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:51 am

Anibal dominates in last start, but 'pen falters
Sanchez tosses five scoreless innings and leaves with AL's best ERA

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/29/2013 1:01 AM ET

BOX SCORE

MIAMI -- Anibal Sanchez earned the American League ERA title with five shutout innings. The Tigers set the Major League single-season strikeouts record and tied the Major League record for most 200-strikeout pitchers in a season. They got their relievers into situations they wanted, from Darin Downs and Al Alburquerque against left-handed hitters to Drew Smyly facing a right-handed batter.

"We got a lot accomplished tonight," manager Jim Leyland said. "Basically, we did everything but get the win."

Oh yeah, that part.

After going 22-for-22 in save chances for the season, Joaquin Benoit suffered his second blown save in a week, again giving up a game-tying RBI single with two outs in the ninth. Giancarlo Stanton's bases-loaded single in the 10th completed the Miami rally for a 2-1 Tigers loss Saturday night at Marlins Park.

The Tigers' second consecutive loss to a 100-loss Marlins team has no bearing on their standing for the postseason. Their Division Series matchup with Oakland was already set by the time their game started thanks to an A's loss in Seattle. Saturday was more about preparing players for that series than about anything in the present.

In Benoit's case, it's a conundrum. Better to have him battle his command now than next week, but the look of frustration on Benoit's face made it clear he'd rather not have it at all.

"It's always going to be a bad thing," Benoit said. "It's just that if it's going to happen, better to happen now and not in the postseason. It's better to get it over with, but it's still not a good thing to go through."

The same could be said for an offense that has scored three runs through two games in Miami. In that case, however, the late-game substitutions are shortening games for the regulars. In some ways, the games have had a Spring Training feel to that.

That was not the case for Sanchez, who completed his first full season as a Tiger by blanking his old teammates on eight strikeouts over five innings.

The homecoming for Sanchez, who spent 6 1/2 seasons with the Marlins before coming to Detroit last July, was a fitting close for his regular season. He was a late-season pickup who helped the Tigers reach the World Series, then signed a five-year extension as a free agent.

The 2013 season saw him post some of the best statistics of his career, realizing the potential many saw in him as a Marlin. Though his Marlins teammates knew what to expect from him, it still didn't help.

Sanchez entered the night with an AL-best 2.64 ERA, barely ahead of Oakland's Bartolo Colon (2.65) and Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma (2.66), both of whom are done with their regular seasons. As long as Sanchez didn't give up multiple runs, he'd win his first league title in any of the three pitching Triple Crown categories. He finishes with a 2.57 ERA.

"I think I'm working for a lot of things," Sanchez said. "I'm happy for the results that I finished, especially the ERA. I need to continue to play. Hopefully, I can get more than that next year."

The way he pitched, it was difficult enough for the Marlins just to get a runner on base. He retired the side in order the first time through Miami's lineup, putting together the makings of a perfect-game bid until Chris Coghlan singled leading off the fourth. His stolen base and a Christian Yelich infield single created a challenge for Sanchez, facing Stanton with runners at first and second.

Sanchez overpowered Stanton on three fastballs, the last of which Stanton hit up the middle to start an inning-ending double play. Sanchez came back out for the fifth and struck out the side in order to complete his outing.

"He looked good," Stanton said. "He was pin-pointing it, changing eye levels and moving the ball in and out. He was good."

Sanchez became the third Tigers pitcher with 200 strikeouts this season. Only the 1969 Astros and 1967 Twins could boast that kind of 200-strikeout trio, according to research on baseball-reference.com. Detroit, meanwhile, broke out of a tie with the 2003 Cubs for the most strikeouts by a pitching staff in Major League history.

"We got the guy that won the ERA title and we got a guy that's got 21 wins and hopefully the Cy Young winner," Leyland said. "That means you've got pretty good pitching."

The Tigers offense didn't give Sanchez much run support, but Alex Avila's fourth-inning sacrifice fly had him in line for his second 1-0 win in four starts. Detroit's bullpen held it until the ninth, when Yelich's one-out single and Stanton's walk gave Miami's offense some life.

Logan Morrison's drive went deep to right field before it died on the warning track, leaving Benoit to face Lucas with a chance to close it. Lucas lined a changeup through the middle to send Yelich home with the tying run.

"Nothing was working," Benoit said. "Ball was all over the place. I couldn't find the strike zone. It was one of those days. You try to make the adjustment, but nothing really works."

Benoit used 31 pitches in the ninth. Evan Reed gave up two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases in the 10th, and got only one out on a Juan Pierre pinch-hit sacrifice bunt. Stanton's liner soared over Ramon Santiago's outstretched glove at short to end it.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:33 pm

Verlander sharp, but Tigers no-hit in season finale
Right-hander notches 10 strikeouts in six scoreless innings

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/29/2013 3:30 PM ET
to be updated

BOX SCORE

MIAMI -- On the same day Miguel Cabrera officially wrapped up his third consecutive American League batting title, the Tigers closed out their regular season by being no-hit.

Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez blanked Detroit for nine innings in what was a scoreless duel until Giancarlo Stanton scored from third on a Luke Putkonen wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth, sending Detroit to a 1-0 loss Sunday afternoon.

Alvarez became the first pitcher to no-hit the Tigers since Matt Garza, then pitching for Tampa Bay, shut them down on July 26, 2010, at Tropicana Field. Alvarez also became the latest pitcher to stir concerns about a Tigers offense that scored just three runs over as many games at Marlins Park and 14 runs over their final seven games to close out the regular season.

It was enough of a concern that manager Jim Leyland brought it up after Saturday's 2-1 loss in 10 innings. It was not enough to change the plan to rest several regulars for part or all of the regular-season finale ahead of the Division Series against Oakland.

Cabrera rested after playing the first two games of the series in Miami. So did Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson. Prince Fielder, Omar Infante and Jose Iglesias left after two plate appearances, and Alex Avila didn't start, entering as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning.

In that sense and others, Sunday's game had the feel of an end-of-Spring Training affair. The Tigers swung early and often against Alvarez, who needed just 99 pitches to get through nine innings.

The only three Tigers to reach base were Fielder, who was hit by a first-inning pitch; Iglesias, who reached on an error from Miami shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria in the fifth; and Andy Dirks, who walked on four pitches with two outs in the ninth. The closest thing to a hit, however, actually came from the other pitcher.

Justin Verlander, whose six scoreless innings on 10 strikeouts ended up getting overshadowed, entered the game 0-for-24 in his career as a batter. He grounded out in the third inning before slicing a ball down the right-field line leading off the sixth. The ball cleared Stanton's head, but landed foul.

Verlander eventually took a called third strike. By that point, the potential for a no-no was already apparent.

Neither Cabrera nor Victor Martinez grabbed a bat at any point. The only pinch-hitter the Tigers used was Avila, who hit a comebacker leading off the ninth.

Back-to-back one-out singles from Stanton and Logan Morrison set up the game's lone run off Putkonen, who threw two wild pitches to bring Stanton around. He induced a groundout from Hechavarria in between for the second out, but lost Chris Coghlan to a two-out walk to extend the game for pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:43 am

>>> START OF POST SEASON <<<

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“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:44 am

Scherzer superb as Tigers top A's for Game 1 victory
Righty fans 11 over seven innings; three-run first inning key in win

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/5/2013 2:41 AM ET

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Tigers' postseason plan isn't complicated, and it isn't a secret. Jim Leyland laid it out Friday afternoon as their playoff drive was about to begin.

"It's pretty simple, really," the Tigers' manager said. "We've got to figure out how to score some runs, and we've got to figure out how to shut them down."

Save for a Yoenis Cespedes home run, it worked pretty well to script. And after Max Scherzer's seven innings converted a three-run opening inning into a 3-2 win over the A's to open the American League Division Series on Friday night, the Tigers are hoping the rest of the best-of-five set proves the same way.

The Tigers have not lost a postseason series under Leyland's reign as manager after winning Game 1. That includes two series sweeps after winning the first two games on the road. Justin Verlander, who shut out the A's here in Game 5 of last year's series, will take the mound in Game 2 Saturday (9 p.m. ET, TBS) to try to put them in position to clinch the series in Detroit next week.

Most likely, they'll try the same formula to get there.

"We want to do the same thing. Every day's not going to be the same," said Miguel Cabrera, whose RBI single opened the scoring in a three-run first inning that provided all of Detroit's offense. "The important thing is we feel comfortable with any pitcher we have on the mound."

Scherzer's ability to chew up innings made Friday's opener a much easier opening night for the Tigers. In the process, Scherzer made a statement: There was a lot more to his potential Cy Young Award-winning season than 21 wins and just three losses.

"He was awful determined," Leyland said. "He was thrilled to get Game 1. I think it meant a lot to him, even though he said it didn't matter which game he pitched. And I think he responded like we expected him to respond."

It was Scherzer's usual result when he gets his usual early run support. However, from the raucous sellout crowd creating a canyon of noise to an A's team increasingly desperate to create offense, it was far from a usual outing.

The same Tigers offense that topped three runs just once over its final seven games in the regular season, including three runs total in a three-game series at Miami, produced three runs by the time Scherzer took the mound. It did nothing to quiet the crowd, but it did plenty to spark the Tigers.

Scherzer, meanwhile, denied the early ignition for an A's offense that roughed him up in August at Comerica Park. If not for Cespedes, there would have been no spark at all.

Not only was Cespedes' second-inning triple over left fielder Andy Dirks the lone hit Scherzer allowed over the first six innings, it was the only ball the A's hit out of the infield until the fifth. In between were ground balls and strikeouts, the latter in abundance.

The same A's lineup that swung and missed just eight times against him at Comerica Park five weeks ago did so 20 times on Friday, seven times in the first few innings alone. Instead of a 29-pitch bloodletting in the first inning like August, Scherzer needed just 14 to get through the opening frame this time.

Four A's struck out the first time through the order. The next time through, Scherzer fanned four in a row from the fourth inning into the fifth, three of them on offspeed pitches.

"I threw strike one tonight," Scherzer said. "I looked inside and I was 18 of 26 [first-pitch strikes], and that's always a good percentage. I thought I had a great changeup tonight. I thought that was the difference. I was able to keep them off balance, and it allowed me to pitch deep into the game."

He wasn't simply pitching deep, he was cruising. Once he sent down AL MVP candidate Josh Donaldson swinging to end the sixth inning, he had 10 strikeouts, tying his career postseason high. But two swings from the A's brought the crowd back to life in the seventh.

The first was a slow roller from Brandon Moss that nearly saw shortstop Jose Iglesias duplicate his tumbling highlight throw from August. Only a high throw prevented what would've been an acrobatic out. The second, from Cespedes, left nothing for Dirks to do but stand and watch a two-run homer sail well into the left-field seats.

"You don't look for that, it just comes," Cespedes said. "He threw me a strike, I just tried to hit it, and it went out."

The 95-mph fastball over the plate, after Cespedes had fouled off back-to-back pitches, was Scherzer's one regret of the night.

"I didn't know what pitch to go with, and I thought if I went with my fastball, I could make him go away," Scherzer said. "That pitch caught too much of the plate and he took it deep, and that's just something that happens."

Suddenly, a shutout bid was a one-run game, and the Tigers' bullpen was on alert. With the crowd of 48,401 at fever pitch, however, Scherzer regrouped to retire the A's in order, capped by a changeup past Daric Barton for Scherzer's 11th strikeout of the night.

For Scherzer, who calls his final 15 pitches his biggest each game, his final 13 took Friday's game back.

"The wheels could have come flying off," Scherzer said, "but I thought I kept my composure and was able to continue and execute."

"Those last 15 pitches mean a lot, and when you can do it in the postseason, that means even more."

In this case, it meant the game. Once Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit took care of the final six outs, it meant momentum in the series, just as the Tigers had scripted.

"This," Leyland said, "is playoff baseball. It was a great game."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:12 am

Vintage Verlander not enough for Tigers in Game 2
Righty fans 11 over seven shutout innings; bats blanked as A's walk off

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/6/2013 2:38 AM ET

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Justin Verlander met his deadline of being back in form for the playoffs. In A's rookie Sonny Gray, however, he met his match.

"He pitched like Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling," reigning American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera said after the 1-0 Tigers loss sent them back home with their American League Division Series even at a game apiece.

The look in Cabrera's eyes after that pitching duel was amazement. He was shaking his head.

"Wow, that fastball, that breaking ball," Cabrera continued. "Man, he was good. He was great today."

He could've easily been talking about Verlander, who re-established his October dominance with seven shutout innings and 11 strikeouts. He was actually talking about Gray, whose postseason debut saw him shut down Detroit's offense for eight innings with nine strikeouts.

"Verlander, too," Cabrera added, quickly correcting himself. "Both."

In the end, that's probably how Verlander's return to form will be remembered. Six days after Verlander's final regular-season tuneup ended up overshadowed by Henderson Alvarez's no-hitter in Miami, his return to the postseason will probably be a footnote in the amazing story of Gray and his October indoctrination.

Much like the Alvarez no-hitter, it took a ninth-inning rally -- capped by Stephen Vogt's bases-loaded RBI single off Rick Porcello -- to finally have a scoreless duel finally meet its end.

"It was a heckuva baseball game," catcher Alex Avila said. "Those guys pitched their [fannies] off. They just got the one hit with guys on base that we didn't get."

The Tigers headed back to Detroit in the wee hours of Sunday morning with a split, earning them a chance to finish out the best-of-five matchup at Comerica Park if they can win the next two games (Game 3, Monday, 1 p.m. ET on MLB Network) . But with an offense that hasn't plated a run in 17 innings following the first inning of the series, they missed a golden opportunity to head home with a chance for a sweep.

Unless Max Scherzer couldn't pitch a deciding Game 5, meanwhile, the series is over for Verlander. But while America outside of the Bay Area discovered Gray, it also rediscovered Verlander.

For nearly two months, as Verlander worked through mechanical tweaks, strategic quirks and doomsday prognostications, he kept pointing to the playoffs as his deadline. If he could get back to his dominant form in time for October baseball, all the work he put in to get there will have been worth it.

"Pretty good stuff," Verlander said. "I feel like that's been a theme for me my last few starts, and it's a good theme for me to have, because I've been working really hard to find my stuff and my location and everything."

Verlander took the same mound in Oakland where he shut out the A's in Game 5 of last year's ALDS and picked up where he left off. His fastball hit as high as 98 mph, and more importantly, he hit his spots with it.

Then came his curveball. What had been an off-again, on-again breaking pitch was buckling, taking A's hitters down with it. Vogt was caught looking at one. Eric Sogard and Josh Donaldson went down swinging at two others up in the zone to end the fifth and sixth inning, respectively.

The nastiest, however, dropped on the inside corner to cleanup hitter Brandon Moss, freezing him at the plate to end a fourth inning in which Verlander retired the side on called third strikes.

Verlander fanned 11 Athletics over his seven innings, five of them looking. He ended each of his final four innings with strikeouts, showing increasing emotion with each zero completed. His reaction upon striking out Vogt for a third time on his 117th and final pitch, a 98-mph fastball, was perhaps the most he has shown on the mound since his first no-hitter.

"Obviously that was a huge spot in the game -- base hit, anything, I knew this game would be over," Verlander said. "Especially the at-bat he put together, that's one of the best at-bats anybody's had against me in a long time. So to come out on the winning hand, it just flows, the emotion."

Add in nine strikeouts for Gray, and plate umpire CB Bucknor had enough punchout motions to look like a prize fighter. Considering the matchup, it might have been fitting.

The Tigers had never seen Gray, and they relied on a combination of video and advance scouting to form a game plan against him. Nothing they saw prepared them for the actual product, a mid-90s-throwing rookie whose composure matched his stuff.

"You go over film as much as you can. Once you get out there, you're pretty much just trying to see it and hit it," said Austin Jackson, who struck out four times against Gray. "And he had good stuff."

Gray escaped a second-inning jam with a Jose Iglesias ground ball to strand runners at first and second, starting him on a roll. An ill-advised bit of Tigers aggressiveness left Omar Infante standing helplessly on third base to watch Jackson strike out and Iglesias thrown out trying to steal second.

The Tigers managed just four singles over Gray's eight innings, the final three of them infield grounders after Cabrera's first-inning liner up the middle.

"I think we looked a little bit like we were guessing, because it was the first time we faced him," Cabrera said. "The way he threw the ball, he wasn't giving us a break to try to figure him out. But we worked counts, we had a lot of 2-2, 3-2, and he made some pitches. He was great."

According to research on baseball-reference.com, Verlander became the first pitcher in postseason history to earn a no-decision after seven or more shutout innings and 11 or more strikeouts. Gray, meanwhile, became the second pitcher to get a no-decision from eight shutout innings with nine or more strikeouts, joining Oriole Mike Mussina in Game 5 of the 1997 AL Championship Series.

That's how good this matchup was.

"You expect more high-scoring games based on both offenses," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "but pitching can rule the day."

In essence, though, Gray's no-decision was a win for the A's, who were able to outlast Verlander's outing and take a tie game into Detroit's bullpen. Al Alburquerque (0-1) stranded two runners in the eighth with back-to-back strikeouts of Donaldson and Moss, pumping sliders to both of them. Back-to-back singles, both off sliders, leading off the ninth left Alburquerque (0-1) and the Tigers needing an escape.

Unlike the first seven innings, there was no Verlander to pull out a strikeout. Instead, an intentional walk to Josh Reddick loaded the bases and brought in regular-season starter Porcello for Vogt, who lined a single into left-center field for the game-winner.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:36 pm

Uncharacteristic Anibal hurt by homers as Tigers fall
A's hit three long balls off righty; Detroit in 2-1 ALDS hole after defeat

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/7/2013 10:37 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- All the Tigers needed were runs, the way they had been pitching. Just when they finally got them, they needed more.

Unless they find a few more where those came from, one of baseball's World Series favorites is headed home.

"We're good. We know what we have," Miguel Cabrera said after Monday's 6-3 loss to the A's in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. "We have to be ready to play tomorrow and try to force Game 5."

This was the scenario the Tigers couldn't afford, offense wasted with a bad start two days after a lack of offense squandered a pitching gem. And after the loss moved the A's ahead two games to one in this best-of-five series, it has set up the potentially cruel scenario of watching a team eliminate the Tigers in Detroit for a second consecutive year.

The Tigers face a must-win situation behind Doug Fister in Game 4 on Tuesday, which starts at 5 p.m. ET. A victory Tuesday would set up a winner-take-all Game 5 Thursday night in Oakland, with Max Scherzer on the mound.

Detroit is 3-2 in elimination games the last few years, including last year's Division Series Game 5 in Oakland. The Tigers have not won back-to-back elimination games, but they've only faced that situation in the 2011 AL Championship Series against Texas.

"We've lost games before in the playoffs, so it's not any different than today or last year or the year before," catcher Alex Avila said. "We know what we've got to do, it's pretty simple."

A loss would send the Tigers home for the winter to ponder what happened, especially to what had been one of baseball's most productive offenses.

"To win games, we need to score runs," Cabrera said. "First, we have to get on base."

Once they finally did, the A's matched them. It was the cruelest of tricks on a wind-chilled sellout crowd at Comerica Park. What had been a pitching-dominant series for two-plus games suddenly had its first offensive outburst, and a Tigers team that hadn't scored a run since the first inning of the series finally came to life.

Just as quickly, they were down again. The way the series has gone, a 6-3 deficit felt larger than 3-0 did, no matter the math.

It took the Tigers 20 innings to break through with the rally, matching their shutout string suffered against that other Bay Area team, the Giants, during last year's World Series. They not only scored one, but three, erasing what had been a 3-0 deficit, in the fourth.

Like the rally to open the series Friday night in Oakland, it was a barrage of singles with a well-timed Martinez gapper mixed in. Torii Hunter led off with a single against A's starter Jarrod Parker and went from first to third on Prince Fielder's liner into left field. After Victor Martinez pulled a ground ball just inside first base and down the right-field line, pumping his fist rolling into second, Jhonny Peralta's two-run single gave starter Anibal Sanchez new life.

Manager Jim Leyland took a chance starting Peralta in left field, and he had to hold his breath as he watched the converted shortstop turn himself around tracking a second-inning drive to the fence. When his line drive fell in the fourth, he had to feel rewarded.

"He knocked in two runs. That's why we put him out there, hoping we would get a little punch, and he did that to tie the game up," said Leyland.

The hope was that punch would extend to Sanchez, who looked out of sorts from the moment Coco Crisp doubled to start the game, one of four consecutive innings in which Oakland's leadoff hitter reached base.

"It's not about one pitch or something like that. Today, it was something about location," Sanchez said.

Sanchez, arguably the Tigers' hero last postseason and the AL's ERA leader this year, gave up just nine home runs all regular season, four over 93 1/3 innings at Comerica Park, and hadn't yielded a multi-homer game since last September. Josh Reddick's solo shot into the face of a blustery wind, combined with a Cabrera two-out error and a Crisp sac fly built Oakland's early lead.

The Tigers' rally sent Sanchez to the mound for the fifth inning with the crowd roaring. Two batters later, Brandon Moss silenced the place, his drive off a hanging changeup sailing deep enough into the right-field seats that Hunter could only stand and watch.

ESPN Stats and Information, which estimates distances on home runs at Comerica Park, put it at 393 feet. The distance it covered towards an Oakland victory felt further.

"In all honesty, I'm just trying to get a mistake, anything," said Moss, 1-for-8 with seven strikeouts for the series before that swing on a 2-2 pitch. "So right there, I swung over a couple of pitches, and he left a changeup up."

After a Yoenis Cespedes single, prompting eight throws to first as Sanchez tried to hold him, Seth Smith sent him trotting home with insurance runs, sending a fly ball to left that caught the crosswind and carried out.

"Sinker in the middle," Sanchez said. "He's a fastball hitter. I didn't keep the ball down."

Minutes after the Tigers mustered a rally, they were down three again. It was the opposite of a shutdown inning for Sanchez, who gave up three home runs in a game for the first time since his Tigers debut in Toronto on July 28, 2012.

"He's my guy, and he did lead the league in earned-run average," said Leyland, who had his bullpen warming after the Moss home run. "You figure he's going to get out of it at any time, because he's good at making pitches."

A's pitching, by contrast, put Detroit's offense back to sleep, allowing two singles and a trio of walks after the fourth and taking advantage of double plays to end the fifth and sixth innings.

A benches-clearing exchange between Martinez and A's closer Grant Balfour briefly ignited the crowd in the ninth inning, but a two-out walk to Avila was all that came of it. It left the Tigers with runs in two out of 27 innings so far this series, and 10 runs in their last seven games dating back to their division-clinching win in Minnesota.

They have at least nine innings left to try to snap out of it and send this series back west.

"To be down, 2-1, the pressure's off us," Hunter said. "We can go out there tomorrow, play our game and not worry about too much. I think that's what we need to do. I think we're trying to do a little too much. Also, they're playing well. Those guys hit the ball well today."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:26 pm

Tigers rally behind Scherzer to force Game 5
Five late runs allow ace righty to earn win with two innings of relief

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/9/2013 12:31 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Take a deep breath. It starts again in two days.

By then, hopefully the Tigers will have caught their breath. At long last, just when they seemed doomed to postseason disappointment in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, they might have just found their stride.

"Looking over in the dugout and seeing how pumped up they were for me, it just kind of gave me chills," Austin Jackson said after his broken-bat, go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning finally turned the game for good in Tuesday's 8-6 win over the A's. "Just happy to get it done in that moment."

He wasn't the only one with that feeling. Max Scherzer thought he had given up the game twice.

"That's the stuff you dream of," the Tigers' ace-turned-reliever-for-a-day said of his eighth-inning escape with the bases loaded and nobody out. "Maybe it's not the ninth inning, but that's the stuff you dream about pitching. … I mean, that's something I'll never forget."

After all this, the Tigers have earned the right to go through it all again, this time in a winner-take-all Game 5 in Oakland on Thursday (8 p.m. ET on TBS).

A Tigers win Thursday will make the offensive woes of the past few days a character builder. Whether anybody will remember the feeling of despair running through Comerica Park after four innings of Game 4 is another question. As bad as it looked, hitless entering the fifth against A's starter Dan Straily, that despair wasn't running through the dugout.

"The one thing I told the guys, we have to stay in the moment," hitting coach Lloyd McClendon said. "Everyone's going to be tough. Nobody said this was going to be easy. If we stick together, we could pull this off. Just keep grinding, grinding, and grinding, and good things can happen. Austin is the perfect example of that."

Or as Victor Martinez put it, "Definitely, there's always a hope. … If you don't have that hope, just throw in the towel."

The Tigers were five innings away from being no-hit out of the playoffs when their offense awakened, starting with a Prince Fielder bloop single into left field, of all things. Two batters and a Martinez single later, as Jhonny Peralta's drive sailed into the bullpen beyond left field, they had a new game with their first home run in two weeks.

"It seemed like we fed off that energy," Jackson said.

They were nine outs away from elimination, having just seen Coco Crisp haunt them again with a go-ahead single off Scherzer to make it 4-3, when Martinez gave the Tigers another game-tying homer, this one corralled by a fan reaching just over the right-field railing as Josh Reddick leapt at the fence to try to bring it back.

"It was clear he was not going to catch the ball," crew chief Gary Darling said, "so it was clearly going to be a home run. There wasn't any other evidence on replay to turn it around."

The Tigers had potentially seven outs left to try to get their first lead since Game 1, and they had their leadoff man with the deepest struggles at the plate faced with an 0-2 count. That's when Jackson, booed for his first three plate appearances after his strikeout total reached 10 for the series, made just his second ball put in play in three games count.

Jackson was a .213 hitter off left-handers in the regular season, facing a lefty in Sean Doolittle who held right-handed hitters to a .227 average. The 96-mph heater Jackson hit snapped his bat, but had enough of it to loft safely into right field and send pinch-runner Andy Dirks home for a 5-4 lead.

"Hopefully that gets him going," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "As you know, he's struggled in this series a little bit, but sometimes that's the magic that gets a guy going."

Just for good measure, the Tigers were a base hit away from a heartbreaking A's comeback when Scherzer turned in the biggest escape of his Detroit career.

He could have walked in the tying run on his full-count changeup to Reddick with the bases loaded and nobody out, but Reddick swung through it. Stephen Vogt fouled off three pitches, then swung through a 98-mph fastball, too.

Scherzer thought he had given up the lead as he whipped his head around to follow Alberto Callaspo's line drive toward the left-field line, then looked to the chilly fall sky at Comerica Park when the ball landed foul.

"I thought I gave up the hit," Scherzer said. "I thought the ball was down and it tailed just foul. I was so happy that happened."

A few pitches later, as Callaspo finally centered one on Scherzer's full-count delivery, Scherzer thought his luck had run out. Again, Jackson became the hero, getting a jump on the ball to his right and running it down easily.

"It worked out perfectly," Jackson said.

Three more runs in the eighth, two of them on an Omar Infante double, pushed the Tigers past their run total for the previous three games in the series. Still, down four in the ninth, the A's rallied off Joaquin Benoit for two runs and had the potential tying run at the plate before Benoit struck out Seth Smith in an eight-pitch battle with four foul balls.

Benoit's nonplussed reaction to the last out, getting his normal congratulations from catcher Alex Avila, belied the nine innings it took to get there. It might have been a preparation for the nine innings, or more, that await.

"This whole season, the way we battled and played as a team, comes down to one game," Game 5 starter Justin Verlander said. "May the best team win."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:53 am



Verlander's gem books Tigers' return trip to ALCS
Righty gives club eight scoreless, wins Game 5 for second straight year

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/11/2013 2:22 AM ET

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- In case there was any doubt left, Justin Verlander is back.

So, too, are the Tigers, back in the American League Championship Series.

By the time Verlander was done Thursday night in Game 5 of the AL Division Series, he had disposed of the A's and was pitching against history. And even that obstacle looked wobbly for a while.

"As he started to get in a groove, I'd look out there and start to put a sign down, and it seemed that he was by himself out there," catcher Alex Avila said after the 3-0 shutout. "The crowd, the noise, the situation, it wasn't really affecting him. He just looked like he was in a zone and that he was the only one out there."

There was a lot more to it, from Miguel Cabrera's first home run since Sept. 17 -- a two-run shot in the fourth -- to Joaquin Benoit's hair-raising save to strand the potential tying run at the plate and send the Tigers into celebration. In the end, however, it came down to Verlander and Oakland again, just as it did in Game 5 of last year's ALDS nearly a year ago to the day.

The Tigers advanced to their third consecutive ALCS, this time against the Red Sox, opening at Fenway Park on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, FOX). The A's, meanwhile, go home wondering what they have to do to get past Verlander. They're running out of ideas.

The sellout crowd of 46,959 at O.co Coliseum showered him with boos from the moment he took the field for warmups. They carried cardboard cutout photos of supermodel Kate Upton to try to taunt him during the game. A's hitters, meanwhile, tried to work the count and wait for their pitch. They stepped in and out of the box to try to disrupt his rhythm. Nothing seemed to work.

"He was locked in. I could tell," manager Jim Leyland said. "He had that look on his face."

This was Verlander at work. Compared with the emotion he showed here in Game 2 during his duel with Sonny Gray, pumping his fist after the final out to end the eighth inning, he had a businesslike approach. He marched up the dugout tunnel after each inning, came back out around the same time for the next, and sent down A's hitters in between.

"The emotional level was the same," Verlander explained, "but it was more businesslike, because we got a lead early. So it was a level of focus saying, 'I can't allow them to score.' As soon as the last out was made in the inning, it was like, 'OK, refocus, go to the next inning.'"

Verlander retired the first 16 batters he faced without anything more than ordinary effort from his defense. For five innings, the closest the A's came to a hit was a pop fly from Coco Crisp that sent Don Kelly to his knees to catch it against the backdrop of the late-afternoon sun.

Josh Reddick, whose swing and miss at ball four became the highlight of Max Scherzer's Game 4 escape, declined to swing at any of Verlander's fastballs off the plate, earning Oakland its first baserunner of the night with a two-out walk in the sixth. Stephen Vogt's ensuing fly ball sent Austin Jackson to the warning track in right-center before corralling it.

"He was throwing everything for a strike," Josh Donaldson said, "and when he elevates that fastball just above the strike zone, you have to have your sights elevated, because he has such a good curveball, too. The only time you're going to get to him is when he gets himself in trouble, and he didn't do that today."

Compared with Game 2, this was Verlander at his brashest. There were fewer knee-buckling curveballs, far more fastballs, and fastball command that looked like the Verlander of two years ago. He spent much of the year trying to find that fastball command again. This was the end result.

"His fastball was obviously his best pitch today," Avila said. "The last start here, he had a good fastball but his curveball was so good. Today it was more fastballs. … His fastball today was electric."

Or as Verlander put it, "I was going to make those guys show they could do something with that fastball before I went to other stuff. When I needed a big pitch, that's what I went to."

Not until Yoenis Cespedes connected on a 95-mph fastball on the outside corner and sent a seventh-inning, two-out ground ball through the middle did the A's finally break Verlander's no-hit bid. He soon ended their hopes of something bigger by striking out Seth Smith.

The way Verlander fell off the mound on strike three, he was moving towards the dugout before Smith swung and missed. He might as well have started walking that way.

Verlander finished with eight innings of two-hit shutout ball, walking one and striking out 10. For the series, he tossed 15 scoreless innings on six hits with two runs and 21 strikeouts. Dating back to the regular season, he has tossed 28 consecutive scoreless innings since Seattle's Justin Smoak homered off one of his fastballs on Sept. 18.

It's his mastery of the A's, however, that's historic. His 30 consecutive scoreless innings against the A's are the most by any pitcher against one team in the postseason in Major League history, passing Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson's 28-inning scoreless streak for the New York Giants -- also against the A's, back when they played in Philadelphia.

"Big-game pitcher, that's something people want to talk about. I just go out there when my team needs me the most," Verlander said.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:36 am

Blanks a lot: Near no-no keys Tigers' shutout of Sox
Sanchez fans 12, Benoit allows Boston's first hit in ninth

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/13/2013 2:28 AM ET

BOX SCORE

BOSTON -- The Red Sox are a dangerous foe for the Tigers, because they can score runs in so many different ways. The Tigers met their challenge to open the American League Championship Series by daring them to score without a hit.

The Red Sox came close to doing it, loading the bases on walks in the sixth and essentially forcing Anibal Sanchez out of the game after using his 116th pitch of the night to end the threat. The Tigers came close to history, falling two outs shy of the first combined no-hitter -- and the third of any kind -- in postseason play.

Detroit happily took the 1-0 win as a consolation, as it has the Tigers tantalizingly close to taking command of this series. The win gives the Tigers home-field advantage in the best-of-seven series.

"Especially in this series, it's not about throwing a no-hitter," said Sanchez, whose six no-hit innings played a leading role in one of the more bizarre pitching duels in recent postseason memory. "As you get some zeros inning by inning, and you face hitter by hitter, and get them out, it's more important. It's more important than the no-hitter at this point."

The end result of all those outs, all those scoreless innings, is leverage.

The Tigers head into Sunday night's Game 2 (8 ET, FOX), with Max Scherzer on the mound and a chance to head back to Detroit with a 2-0 series lead. When they get there, they'll have Justin Verlander waiting in Game 3 on Tuesday afternoon.

The Red Sox now need at least two wins in four games against Scherzer and Verlander to advance. They also need a find a way to hit Sanchez, the AL's ERA leader in the regular season but the third-best starter going in this year's Tigers postseason rotation.

Combine Sanchez's performance Saturday night with Verlander's gem against the A's in Game 5 of the AL Division Series, and Tigers starters have thrown 14 consecutive shutout innings on two hits with 22 strikeouts against two of the three most tenacious offenses in terms of working pitchers in the league.

To be fair, the Red Sox worked Sanchez, forcing those 116 pitches from him over his six innings. They just never hit him.

"Characteristic of this team all year is to build a pitch count. I thought we were doing that against Sanchez," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But the idea is to get to the bullpen, and as we went through that, anytime we had a man on base, he would get a strikeout when needed.

"But I wouldn't say patience working deep counts was the reason why we didn't get a hit until the ninth."

Considering Sanchez drew 20 swings and misses, patience would be a tough argument.

The second four-strikeout inning by a pitcher in postseason history, matching former Cub Orval Overall's feat from the 1908 World Series, was a sign of what kind of night this was going to be for Sanchez. His slider, the source of most of those swings, sent Shane Victorino swinging as it bounced in the dirt and skipped past catcher Alex Avila, allowing Victorino to reach base on the wild pitch. David Ortiz struck out at the same pitch two batters later with runners on first and second.

Sanchez, a former Red Sox prospect who went to Fenway Park to watch Pedro Martinez pitch years ago, looked like Martinez during his wild-throwing early seasons in Los Angeles and Montreal. Sanchez walked three batters during his first trip through the order to go with that strikeout-wild pitch, but he didn't allow a ball in play until Will Middlebrooks flied out to left on the eighth at-bat of the night.

That was one of just two balls the Red Sox hit out of the infield against Sanchez. For seven balls in play, though, that's not a bad ratio.

"It's kinda weird," said Torii Hunter, who didn't have a ball hit his way in right field until the next-to-last out of the game. "It's the playoffs, though."

The combination of a 93-mph Sanchez fastball off the backstop on the fly and a nasty slider to fan Stephen Drew in the fourth inning, to strike out the side in order, was another indication of a crazy game. That inning was the centerpiece of a dazzling second trip through the order for Sanchez, retiring 10 in a row from the end of the second inning into the sixth.

The nastier slider to fan Drew in the sixth inning and strand the bases loaded, preserving the no-hit bid yet ending Sanchez's outing, was the capper.

"I think my old pitch was working," Sanchez said. "I tried to get on top of the ball to make more movement on the pitch. That's what I did early in the season, and it worked today."

He struck out a franchise-record 17 batters in April against the Braves. He might've had a chance to meet that Saturday if not for the pitch count.

Sanchez became just the second pitcher in postseason history to rack up 12 strikeouts in six innings or fewer, joining former Cleveland Indians hurler Charles Nagy. He also became the first pitcher in postseason history to leave after six hitless frames.

"I know these guys, what they do all year long," Sanchez said of the Red Sox. "It was really crazy."

Red Sox starter Jon Lester did his best to keep pace, escaping a fifth-inning jam with two well-timed outs on the basepaths. But Jhonny Peralta's two-out line-drive single through the middle in the sixth inning plated Miguel Cabrera for the game's lone run.

With the Red Sox swinging and missing at so many sliders, it was fitting that high-strikeout slider machine Al Alburquerque retired the them in order in the seventh. Jose Veras struck out two in the eighth before lefty Drew Smyly retired Ortiz on just the eighth ball in play for the night. Suddenly, Joaquin Benoit had a lot more than a one-run game to try to save.

"I was just trying to get three outs. If it happens, it happens," Benoit said of the no-no. "But I was not worried about the no-hitter. I was just worried about preserving the win."

Daniel Nava's one-out line drive through the middle not only wrecked the no-hitter, the second ended in the ninth in the postseason after Game 4 the 1947 World Series, it suddenly put the potential tying run on base. A stolen base by former Tiger Quintin Berry gave the Red Sox a runner on second with two outs and rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts up. With the count full, Benoit induced a popout to former Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias to end the suspense.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:34 pm

'Pen writes different ending after Scherzer fans 13
Four relievers have hand in letting lead slip away in eighth inning

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/14/2013 2:43 AM ET

BOX SCORE

BOSTON -- The Boston strikeouts piled up again in a hurry, one futile swing-and-miss after another for most of Sunday evening, but Max Scherzer insisted he wasn't thinking of being the latest Tiger to make a run at a postseason no-hitter, this one in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

By the end of the night, Scherzer had barely cooled from his seven-inning gem when Torii Hunter made a run after the game-tying grand slam and the latest chapter of postseason heroics from David Ortiz.

He took a tumble. The Tigers fell.

"The one guy you don't want to beat you, he beat us," Hunter said after a four-run lead in the eighth became a 6-5, walk-off loss in the ninth.

As Hunter sat in his corner of the clubhouse, the cramped visiting quarters at Fenway Park might have never felt tighter to this team.

"We learned from it," Hunter said.

Asked what was the lesson, Hunter answered, "Not to touch the hot stove."

He wasn't talking about the offseason market, no matter how many second-guessers might point at Detroit's injury-shortened, inconsistency-hindered bullpen and wonder how it came about.

"The hot stove is David Ortiz," Hunter continued. "Don't want to touch the hot stove anymore."

The Tigers returned to Detroit having been burned after icing Red Sox hitters for the first 14 innings of the series. With Justin Verlander awaiting the Red Sox for Tuesday's Game 3 at Comerica Park (4 p.m. ET, FOX), the Tigers have a chance to take back the momentum of this series. Before that happens, however, they're going to take a day to regroup.

"We were winning the whole way, and the bottom of the eighth, we let it go," said Joaquin Benoit, whose first-pitch changeup to Ortiz ended up over the wall in right field. "So the situation is tough, but what we need to do is put it behind and start fresh."

If any two games showed how fresh starts matter, these ALCS contests were it. One night after Tigers relievers picked up where Anibal Sanchez left off and fell two outs shy of completing a no-hitter, they missed two chances at completing the eighth inning with a 5-1 lead intact.

One big swing later, they had a tie game. Four different Tigers relievers ended up charged with a run apiece, which showed how the rally was pieced together after Scherzer left with 108 pitches over seven innings of two-hit ball.

"I told them I was done," Scherzer said. "They wanted me done. They had it all lined up how they wanted to approach the eighth inning."

Jose Veras retired leadoff man Stephen Drew before Will Middlebrooks doubled into the left-field corner. With left-handed-hitting Jacoby Ellsbury, Drew Smyly entered and had a 1-2 count before losing him to a walk.

"I just let it slip," Smyly said. "Once I had 1-2, I didn't want to give him a good pitch to hit, and then 3-2, I just missed low. That's all there was to it."

Al Alburquerque used his swing-and-miss slider to strike out Shane Victorino, but he paid for back-to-back fastballs to Dustin Pedroia, whose single loaded the bases.

"The way Pedroia took [the first pitch], it looked like he might have been sitting slider," catcher Alex Avila said. "At least, that's what I thought. We threw a fastball that ran back towards him, jammed him a little bit, actually, and he just hit it right in the perfect spot."

It was during that at-bat that manager Jim Leyland had lefty Phil Coke warming up. Up came Ortiz, 2-for-18 lifetime against Coke but with a go-ahead hit off him earlier this season.

With Coke just back from being out of action for three weeks, Leyland turned to Benoit for what would be a four-out save.

"Coke hadn't pitched a big game for quite a while," Leyland said. "Benoit is our guy against the lefties, and we felt he gave us the best chance to get the out."

Said Benoit: "I wanted it down. Left it middle out, he took a good swing and hit a ball."

For 7 1/2 innings, the Tigers outplayed the Red Sox in pretty much every facet, including their third no-hit bid in four nights. By the ninth inning, they were struggling to stay in the game, from Jose Iglesias' throwing error -- an aggressive attempt at an out that instead allowed Jonny Gomes to advance to scoring position on a leadoff infield single -- to Prince Fielder's off-balance attempt to reach for a foul ball in front of the tarp down the first-base line.

"It definitely wasn't an easy play," said Fielder, who said afterwards there was no fan interference on the attempt.

A wild pitch and a Jarrod Saltalamacchia single later, there was no game left to salvage.

"I was trying to get him to hit the ball on the ground and keep the runner on third from scoring," said Rick Porcello, the fifth starter during the regular season who became the game's fifth and final reliever when he began the ninth. "I threw the best pitch that I felt to keep the ball on the ground, and he found a hole."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:38 pm

Power outage spoils Verlander's Game 3 gem
Right-hander strikes out 10 over eight, gives up seventh-inning HR

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/15/2013 10:45 PM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The power outage only lasted only for a short time at Comerica Park, the product of a nearby substation going offline. It lasted well into Tuesday evening at the plate, the product of Justin Verlander and John Lackey.

It lasted just long enough for Mike Napoli to haunt the Tigers in the American League Championship Series for the second time in three years, this time in a different uniform. And with one big swing off one Verlander fastball in the seventh inning, he officially turned the switch on this series in Boston's favor.

The 1-0 Tigers loss in Game 3 puts them down in the best-of-seven series, two games to one, with Game 4 on Wednesday night (8 ET on FOX). They've lost the last two games -- despite brilliant performances from their two aces, Verlander and Max Scherzer -- for entirely different reasons. Two days after Detroit's bullpen let Scherzer down in Game 2, its offense was powerless along with the stadium lights against Lackey.

Now, after plating five runs in Game 2 and losing, the Tigers are back in their previous predicament, trying to figure out how to score runs in a series where they're scarce.

"I mean, it's frustrating," Prince Fielder said, "but that's part of it. Our team's done it to people. It can happen to us, too, so just gotta shake it off."

Only two entire postseasons in history featured multiple 1-0 games until this series. The Tigers have now played in three, including two in three games of this series. The only multi-run hit, David Ortiz's game-tying grand slam in Game 2, currently stands as the difference.

"I think you kind of expect that in this series," Verlander said. "It's going to be a battle for every single out, every single run, and it's two heavyweights going at it.

"If you can't appreciate this, you can't appreciate baseball."

Surprisingly, the Tigers' .231 average this postseason is the second-best mark of the four teams still alive. Their 23 runs, however, are the lowest total.

The common theme out of the Tigers' clubhouse after Game 3 was that they're not getting mistakes to hit, including Lackey's 6 2/3 shutout innings.

"If they throw a mistake, I hit it. If not, I won't," Fielder said. "It's that simple."

With Tigers nemesis Jake Peavy looming in Game 4, followed by Jon Lester in Game 5 trying to follow up his Game 1 gem, there might not be many mistakes to hit. If hitters can't capitalize, there might not be many games left.

Asked whether playoff offenses have to hit some pitches that pitchers execute, catcher Alex Avila said, "Absolutely. But in the playoffs, pitching is going to dominate. At this time of the year, a good pitcher that knows how to pitch will be able to shut down a good offense. I mean, it happens to every good offense. They're not scoring many runs either."

Tuesday's offensive blackout on both sides lasted well after the lights eventually warmed up and came back on, after a 17-minute delay in the middle of the second inning. The way both teams were swinging, they could've played the game in the dark for a while without much difference.

It lasted through a postseason-record-tying six consecutive strikeouts for Verlander, coinciding with four strikeouts in a row for Lackey. It thrived through the makings of another no-hitter bid by a Tigers starter, though Jonny Gomes' dribbler for an infield single with two outs in the fifth inning marked Boston's earliest hit of the series.

Asked if he pitched as well as he did in his AL Division Series win in Oakland, Verlander said, "I think the results speak more than what I can say. But just as far as execution and my mechanics and everything that I worked so hard to get to, I feel like I was right where I need to be."

The battle lasted long past two Tigers singles in the opening inning, and well after Jhonny Peralta's double leading off the fifth, thanks to Lackey's strikeout of Omar Infante with one out and Peralta on third.

It lasted after Napoli, 2-for-19 in the postseason before he stepped to the plate, homered off the same pitcher in the same park where he hit his first Major League home run seven years ago as an Anaheim Angel. Napoli, who went 7-for-24 with six runs scored for the Texas Rangers against Detroit in the 2011 ALCS, scored the first run off Verlander since Justin Smoak homered off him at Comerica Park on Sept. 18.

"He was really late on his fastball most of the game," Avila said. "That one just caught more of the middle of the plate."

Verlander had tossed 34 consecutive scoreless innings over five outings, but won only one of the games. Detroit's offense, meanwhile, scored in just three of those innings for him.

"I wouldn't say it's frustrating," said Verlander. "You know, I think you kind of expect that in this series."

A scoreless eighth inning kept Verlander in long enough for the Tigers to put up their best chance to break their blackout against the Red Sox bullpen, runners at the corners for the middle of the order.

With Austin Jackson 90 feet away as the potential tying run, having reached on a one-out walk and gone to third on Torii Hunter's single, all Miguel Cabrera needed was a well-struck ball against Junichi Tazawa. The Red Sox right-hander answered with a first-pitch strike, followed by three fastballs off the plate, drawing two more swings and misses from Cabrera.

"Gotta swing at better pitches," Cabrera said.

On came closer Koji Uehara for Fielder. With two foul tips and a swinging strike, the Red Sox escaped.

"That's why he's there," Fielder said. "He's very good. Just gotta wait and when he makes a mistake, gotta hit it. If not, you're probably out."

Cabrera went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, failing to reach base in a postseason game for the first time as a Tiger and just the third time in his career, ending a 31-game, postseason-record streak. Uehara stayed on in the ninth and overcame a Victor Martinez leadoff single, inducing a Peralta double play and getting Avila swinging.

The game finished just before the rain arrived in Detroit, bringing a drenching to Comerica Park as the lights beamed down. The stadium blackout was long since over. The offensive blackout is ongoing.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:23 am

Game 4 shufflin' helps Fister, Tigers knot ALCS
Righty cruises after new lineup erupts for five in second; series tied at 2

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/17/2013 1:30 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Had to try something, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said about juggling his lineup Wednesday.

"We might get shut out on two hits," he said before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, "but I was happy because we did something."

By the end of this 7-3 win over the Red Sox, the Tigers had done plenty.

They put up more runs in three-plus innings against Jake Peavy than they did in the first three games of this series combined.

They somehow found a road map out of this hellacious slump for Austin Jackson, whose four times on base out of the eighth spot Wednesday nearly matched his total for the previous eight games of this postseason batting leadoff.

They rediscovered the run production in the veteran bat of Torii Hunter, who who accounted for as many runs in the third inning (three) as he did for the rest of the postseason.

Last but not least, they not only deadlocked this series again, they flipped the script.

What was looking like a best-of-seven series in which the first run wins is now essentially a best-of-three set in which the Tigers will try to win behind Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Sanchez gets the ball in Game 5 Thursday night at Comerica Park beginning at 8 ET on FOX.

The Tigers will take their chances with that pitching lineup, especially if they can get anywhere near this type of offense to support it.

"I don't know what it is about them," David Ortiz said after Doug Fister's six innings of one-run ball added to the stinginess. "They're taking it to another level. Good pitching can mess up good offense. In the playoffs, you definitely have to keep the score close."

Detroit won only one of the first three games despite 21 innings of two-run ball from its top three starters, in part because the offense couldn't plate a run in Game 3. It was a big enough concern that Leyland took Jackson out of the lineup's top spot for just the third game in his career, batting him eighth and moving seven other hitters up a spot.

"I didn't want to turn it into a circus," Leyland said. "I wanted to tweak it a little bit."

It wasn't a circus. Instead, it was a second-inning parade.

Leyland set up Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to get their swings at Peavy in the opening inning, and they went down in order. Everything after that went right for the Tigers.

"He's the boss," said Victor Martinez, whose move to the cleanup spot merely set him up to lead off the second inning. "We still have to execute."

So did Jackson, even from the eighth spot in the lineup. It was far enough down, Leyland estimated, to take some of the pressure off of Jackson at the plate, where he was 3-for-33 with 18 strikeouts for the postseason.

"You know, I was happy that I was still in there," Jackson admitted. "That's a good thing. But I think the goal was to just get me to relax and just go out and play, don't put so much pressure on yourself."

For a change, he didn't have to worry about being the sparkplug for the offense. He watched what Peavy was throwing, and he waited for his turn.

When he came up in the second inning, all he had to worry about were the bases loaded with one out, and Peavy on the ropes. So much for relaxing.

With four pitches outside the strike zone, Peavy took the pressure off.

"We know he's not swinging the bat that well," Peavy said. "That's why he's in the eight-hole. We've got to make him swing the bat, and we just couldn't do that there."

For a veteran pitcher, it was a huge mistake. On his very next pitch, his All-Star second baseman compounded it.

"We have to turn the double play on the ball Iggy hit," Dustin Pedroia said of Jose Iglesias' grounder to the right side, "but we didn't."

The way Pedroia struggled to field it, he needed a throw wide of second and a neighborhood call for the force to get any out. Stephen Drew had no chance to get Iglesias on the throw to first, allowing the second run to score and extending the inning for Hunter to come back up and reset the lineup.

The Tigers struggled to capitalize on those kinds of mistakes at various points this season. Hunter's first-pitch, two-run double down the left-field line ensured they didn't miss this one.

"You try to change the mindset of the players in the lineup," said Hunter, who scored on Cabrera's single to make it 5-0. "It was a lot of fun. I think it settled us down and allowed us to do what we had to do."

Instead of leading off the attack against Peavy, Jackson ended it in the fourth with a ground ball just out of Pedroia's grasp and into right field, scoring Omar Infante following his leadoff double. The Tigers knocked Peavy out with more runs than he allowed to them in any start during his four years with the White Sox.

"The thing is, we had some good at-bats off him," catcher Alex Avila said.

Fister couldn't duplicate the no-hit bids his fellow starters carried into the middle innings, giving up a first-inning single, but he could easily carry a touchdown-sized lead, allowing just one run, coming in the sixth.

The Tigers did something on offense after Leyland did what he felt he had to. They'll go with the same lineup for Game 5, the manager said, hoping for something more.

"This has nothing to do with Jim Leyland," he said. "This is about the players. They executed, they came out, they played well. It was really a good game for us."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:29 am

Tigers knocked into a corner in quest for pennant
Detroit must win final two games in Boston to advance to World Series

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/18/2013 2:33 AM ET

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- The Tigers came within a disastrous eighth inning in Game 2 of taking two games in Boston to start this American League Championship Series. They're going to have to finish the job with two straight against the Red Sox at Fenway Park if they're going to get back to the World Series.

In an ALCS in which so many games have been decided by so little, they'll take their chances.

"If you had a tiger, and he was backed in a corner, he couldn't go left, he couldn't go right, he couldn't go behind him, what's he going to do? Fight through," Torii Hunter said after Thursday's 4-3 loss in Game 5 pushed Detroit to the brink of elimination. "That's what we're going to try to do. That's what Tigers do.

"Our back is against the wall. We can't go left, we can't go right. We're going to go right through it. I like being down 3-2."

History, of course, is leaning against them. In each the previous four instances that a best-of-seven ALCS has been tied at 2, the Game 5 winner has gone on to win the series. Three of the previous four times, the Game 5 winner wrapped up the series in six.

"We've got to feel positive. We've got to feel ready to play," said Miguel Cabrera. "We've got to feel ready to play. We've been here before."

In a series that has featured four one-run games in five contests, it's not that easy to predict. In a series this close, it's easier to lament.

"I think we've been a pretty good show for baseball, two unbelievable organizations, two great teams," said Jose Iglesias, whose running, lunging catch in short left field might have been the defensive highlight of the series. "We've been playing some good games. Sometimes we win, sometimes they win."

With Max Scherzer starting in Game 6 on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET on FOX unless the National League Championship Series is over, in which case Game 6 starts at 8 p.m.) and potentially Justin Verlander in Game 7 on Sunday, the Tigers have to feel somewhat at ease. But as the Red Sox showed Thursday, a second look at even a nasty pitcher, Anibal Sanchez, can yield vastly different results in the postseason.

In this swing game, with a rally that fell just short, there was plenty to ponder.

The sight of Cabrera rounding third base past coach Tom Brookens' stop sign and into an out at home plate in the opening inning was one. It was a late change on Brookens' part, initially waving him around before switching just before Cabrera hit third base.

A healthy Cabrera, unencumbered by groin and abdominal issues, likely makes the stop.

"I was hoping he would see me and stop," Brookens said, "but Miggy sometimes, when you get him going, he just keeps going. And I think that's really what happened. I think he saw me waving initially, 'Come on, come on,' and then when I tried to stop him, it was too late."

One commercial break later, Tigers postseason nemesis Mike Napoli worked a 3-1 count, blasted a fastball over the plate and sent it to the right-field side of the center-field camera well.

Thus began the first early-inning rally from the Red Sox all series. By the time Sanchez recovered, a Cabrera error and three consecutive hits had plated two more runs for a 3-0 lead, and only an alert throw home from Omar Infante prevented a fourth.

The ensuing collision at the plate with David Ross left Alex Avila shaken. He stayed in the game but left after four innings with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee. By then, Napoli had doubled and scored on a Sanchez wild pitch for a 4-0 lead.

Once the Tigers rallied, that add-on run became the difference in the game, a pitch in the dirt that skipped past the injured Avila.

Sanchez lasted six innings for the second time this series, but he was far from hitless. The Tigers, whose offensive struggles left Sanchez with the thinnest of support in Game 3, nearly made up his deficit.

"Just one inning. Couple mistakes," Sanchez said.

Cabrera's fifth-inning RBI single put Detroit on the board, and replacement catcher Brayan Pena greeted Junichi Tazawa with another RBI single to make it 4-2 in the sixth. But double plays in the sixth and seventh kept the Tigers from picking up runs more than one at a time.

The offense forced Koji Uehara to enter for a five-out save, but he retired the five batters in order to salvage the win for Boston.

One more one-run game will tie the record for a League Championship Series, set at five by the Mets and Braves in the 1999 NLCS. A sixth would match the postseason record from the 1972 World Series between the A's and Reds.

The Tigers would take their chances with two more at Fenway.

"We have to win one game and then take it from there," manager Jim Leyland said. "We've got to win one game."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:56 am

Tigers' AL reign, season end with Game 6 loss
Veras gives up grand slam to Victorino following Iglesias' misplay

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/20/2013 12:03 AM ET
to be updated

BOX SCORE

BOSTON -- The Tigers came within a grand slam of owning this American League Championship Series coming out of Boston last weekend. Just when they seemed on the verge of forcing a seventh game, another granny sent them home.


In a series that twisted and turned on one-run games, the 5-2 Tigers loss to the Red Sox that ended it on Saturday night will be one of the outliers. Yet, until Shane Victorino sent an 0-2 curveball from Jose Veras deep to left field and over the Green Monster, Game 6 was among the closest of all.

It was close enough that Red Sox manager John Farrell pulled his starter, Clay Buchholz, two batters into the sixth inning with a 1-0 lead. For the next few innings, it looked like Farrell would pay for it, a four-pitch walk from Franklin Morales to struggling Prince Fielder loading the bases for Victor Martinez to hit a go-ahead, two-run single off the left-center portion of the Monster.

It was close enough that manager Jim Leyland replaced Jhonny Peralta with Don Kelly for defense and running after a double play that halted the sixth-inning rally, Fielder caught in a rundown between third and home.

It was close enough that Leyland, who usually gives his starters the benefit of the doubt, turned to lefty Drew Smyly with the tying run on second with one out in the seventh after starter Max Scherzer didn't get a third-strike call from home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna. It marked the third time rookie No. 9 hitter Xander Bogaerts battled out of a two-strike count to reach base safely, and the walk set up the demise.

It was close enough that Jacoby Ellsbury's ensuing ground ball was in slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias' glove behind second base before popping out for a critical error that loaded the bases for Victorino.

It was close enough that Veras was a strike away from fanning Victorino on curveballs when he left the 0-2 pitch just a little too high, just enough for Victorino to send it out.

One more play, one more escape, and the Tigers could've gone into Game 7 with Justin Verlander, the hero of two winner-take-all games in the last two years. Instead, they're headed home, a season's worth of dreams dashed.


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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