BY RICKY LINDSAY, Staff Writer
The Tigers looked to make up some ground in the AL Central race against the pesky Cleveland Indians after taking three of possible four from the White Sox in the previous series (the last game was postponed until last night).
Justin Verlander started off the series against the Indians after being pushed back due to the rainout. Verlander looked spectacular, throwing seven shutout innings while racking up six strikeouts.
Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, Delmon Young, and Brennan Boesch provided the run support, each driving in one run en route to a 4-0 win. This game broke the Tigers’ five game losing streak in road games started by Verlander.
Saturday was Anibal Sanchez’s time to shine. Sanchez, the Tigers’ midsummer acquisition, has pitched tremendously better as of late. He dominated Cleveland hitters, going six and two-thirds innings while striking out seven. The only blemish on his line were two earned runs allowed in the seventh inning.
The offense was provided by several Tigers. Cabrera hit a solo home run, his number thirty-seven on the year, while Alex Avila chipped in with three hits and two RBI’s. The Tigers took the second game 5-3, and looked to sweep the series against the Indians Sunday afternoon.
Rick Porcello took the mound for the Tigers Sunday. Porcello got an early 3-0 lead, and it looked like it was going to be smooth sailing, but the Indians never gave up.
Porcello couldn’t hold onto the lead, allowing four runs to score before the Indians chased him off the mound after four and two-thirds innings.
Cabrera proved why he’s an legitimate MVP candidate in the seventh inning, crushing a three run home run into the bleachers to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead. Cabrera catapulted himself into the thick of the American League’s Triple Crown race with his game on Sunday. He now leads the AL in batting average and RBI’s, and is four home runs behind current leader Josh Hamilton, of the Texas Rangers.
It seemed that the Tigers were going to sweep, but the Indians kept chipping away at the lead. Carlos Santana tied the game up in the ninth with his RBI triple, and Lonnie Chisenhall won the game for the Indians on a walk-off single in the ninth inning. With their 7-6 win on Sunday, the Indians took the season series from the Tigers 10-8.
On a side note, during Sunday’s game, Prince Fielder and Avila collided on an infield popup. Avila is listed as day-to-day after his jaw came into contact to Fielder’s elbow.
The Tigers start a ten game home-stand tonight against the Oakland Athletics. The A’s have shocked the baseball world this season and currently lead the AL Wild Card race. The series against Oakland will also be the final time that the Tigers face a playoff contender this season.
The Tigers have AL’s best record at home, and will need to continue this trend during their crucial home stand if they have any hope of catching the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central race.