Justin Verlander’s 10 strikeout performance struck a milestone and keyed the Tigers' 6-3 victory Wednesday afternoon to complete a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins.
Verlander reached the 2,000-strikeout plateau in the fourth inning when he struck out Eddie Rosario, making him the second pitcher in Tigers franchise history to record the feat. (Mickey Lolich posted 2,679 strikeouts from 1963-75.)
Verlander allowed six hits and three earned runs through 7.1 innings as the streaky Tigers have now won four straight to follow that porous 1-11 skid earlier in the month.
Ian Kinsler (3-for-4) hit a home run for the fourth straight game, and the Tigers got an RBI apiece from Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez and Steven Moya.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez earned a 1-2-3 ninth.
Verlander, who gave up just two hits and two walks through six innings, tied his season-high of 10 strikeouts (vs. Cleveland on April 22).
K-Rod enters game
Ian Kinsler (3-for-4, solo HR, two RBIs) reached base for the fourth time today when he was hit by Michael Tonkin's pitch, but he was caught in a run down to end the eighth inning.
The Tigers lead 6-3 entering the ninth.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (0-for-4) struck out for the second time of the day and Jose Iglesias (0-for-4) grounded out in the eighth.
Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez exited the bullpen and jogged toward the mound as the ninth inning is set to begin.
Wilson escapes eighth
Tigers reliever Alex Wilson strikes out Brian Dozier and ends the eighth inning by inducing a ground out from pinch-hitter Darin Mastroianni.
The Tigers lead 6-3 entering the bottom of the eighth.
Justin Verlander's final stat line: 7.1 innings, three earned runs on six hits, 10 strikeouts, three walks.
Verlander entered the eighth with 102 pitches and gave up a leadoff double to Eduardo Nunez.
Uh-oh, Plouffe hits two-RBI single
This isn't happening again, right?
Trevor Plouffe’s two-RBI single off Tigers reliever Alex Wilson cuts the Tigers lead to 6-3 in the eighth.
The next batter, Brian Dozier, hit a towering fly ball down the left field line that flirted with the foul pole — if it's fair, it's a two-run homer — but it was ruled foul.
Verlander pulled in 8th
Justin Verlander exits the mound with one out in the eighth and runners on first and second base. The Tigers lead 6-1.
Tigers reliever Alex Wilson will enter the game.
Twins shortstop Eduardo Nunez hit a leadoff double off the left-field fence to start the eighth inning. Miguel Sano (0-for-4) flied out, but Byung Ho Park walked to end the day for Verlander, who finished with 10 strikeouts.
Verlander allowed six hits through 7 1/3 innings. He gave up three walks and one earned run on 112 pitches.
Bot 7: Moya extends lead in 7th
Steven Moya’s two-out RBI single scored Miguel Cabrera to extend the Tigers lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh.
The Tigers have 13 hits.
Cabrera (2-for-3, RBI) and Nick Castellanos (2-for-4) hit consecutive singles to start the seventh. But Twins left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers induced a double-play ball from Justin Upton.
Moya, a 6-foot-7 left-handed hitter, followed with a line-drive single to center field when he connected on a 77-mph slider.
Top 7: Verlander's shutout bid ends
Danny Santana’s sacrifice fly broke the shutout bid for Tigers right-handed ace Justin Verlander, whose dominant start had a hiccup in the seventh when he relinquished three singles.
The Tigers lead 5-1.
Trevor Plouffe, Eddie Rosario and Kurt Suzuki singled off Verlander, who gave up just two hits and two walks through six innings.
Verlander stopped the bleeding, however, when he struck out Joe Mauer to end the seventh. He has 10 strikeouts and has allowed five hits.
It’s Verlander’s 31st career game with 10 or more strikeouts, which is second best among Tigers pitchers since 1914 (Mickey Lolich had 54 games.)
Verlander tied his season-high of 10 strikeouts (vs. Cleveland on April 22).
Bot 6: Kinsler homers for 4th straight game
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler has hit a home run for the fourth straight game.
Kinsler’s solo shot in the bottom of the sixth off Twins left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers gives the Tigers a 5-0 lead.
That’s Kinsler’s 10th homer this season.
Top 6: Verlander dominant with quick sixth
Justin Verlander needed nine pitches to exit the mound in the sixth inning. He’s thrown 83 pitches, 57 for strikes and holds a 4-0 lead.
Verlander has nine strikeouts and allowed two hits — a pair of third-inning singles. He’s walked two batters.
Today Verlander became the second pitcher in Tigers’ franchise history to record 2,000 career strikeouts. It occurred in the fourth inning when he struck out Eddie Rosario.
In the sixth, Twins shortstop Eduardo Nunez and right fielder Miguel Sano flied out, and first baseman Byung Ho Park grounded out.
In his past 21 innings (three starts), Verlander has allowed one earned run.
Bot 5: Upton singles again
Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton (2-for-3) singled in the fifth inning off Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, but the Tigers could not push across a run.
It’s 4-0 Tigers after five innings.
A wild pitch by Nolasco advanced runners to second and third with one out in the fifth, but Steven Moya (0-for-3) grounded softly to pitcher’s mound and Cameron Maybin grounded out to end the threat.
Top 5: Verlander 9 K's through five
Tigers starter Justin Verlander has nine strikeouts through five innings as the Tigers lead 4-0.
Verlander has thrown 74 pitches, 51 for strikes. He has given up two hits (a pair of third-inning singles) and two walks.
Verlander's season-high is 10 strikeouts vs. Cleveland on April 22.
In his past 20 innings (three starts), Verlander has 26 strikeouts, nine hits and one earned run.
Bot 4: Kinsler does it again
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler delivered a two-out, RBI single to score Cameron Maybin and give the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the fourth.
Kinsler (2-for-3) has his 18th multi-hit game of the season, which leads the American League. His hitting streak stretched to seven games today, a span in which he’s hitting .444 (12-for-27).
Maybin started the fourth inning with a leadoff infield single. He advanced to third base when Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco threw wildly on a pickoff attempt.
Maybin had two-hit games on Monday and Tuesday. Today he stole a base in the second inning for his third steal in three games.
Top 4: Verlander reaches 2,000 K's
Tigers starter Justin Verlander has reached the 2,000-strikeout milestone. The only other Tiger in franchise history to reach 2,000 strikeouts was Mickey Lolich (1963-75), who posted 2,679.
Verlander has seven strikeouts through four innings. He has allowed two hits and two walks.
The Tigers lead 3-0 entering the bottom of the fourth.
In the fourth, Verlander issued a two-out walk to Brian Dozier (.218), who advanced to second base on a wild pitch. But Verlander struck out Eddie Rosario (.202) to end the threat.
The Twins are 0-for-11 across the past two games with runners in scoring position.
Bot 3: Miggy, Upton knock in runs
Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly and Justin Upton’s two-out, RBI bloop single give the Tigers a 3-0 lead after three innings.
J.D. Martinez belted a one-out triple to the right center field gap and scored on Cabrera’s sac fly.
Nick Castellanos (.348) hit a two-out double and then scored when Upton’s bloop single avoided the glove of Twins second baseman Brian Dozier.
Martinez is now batting .389 across his past 10 games.
Twins starter Ricky Nolasco has six strikeouts through three innings, but has yielded five hits.
Top 3: Verlander 5 K's through three
Tigers starter Justin Verlander has five strikeouts through three innings, making him two shy of the 2,000-strikeout milestone. The only other Tiger in franchise history to reach 2,000 strikeouts was Mickey Lolich (1963-75), who posted 2,679.
The Tigers lead 1-0 entering the bottom of the third.
One night after going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, the Twins continued their bad habit when Miguel Sano struck out to strand a runner at second base to end the third inning.
Verlander relinquished two singles in the top of the third to catcher Kurt Suzuki (.219) and shortstop Eduardo Nunez (.337).
Bot 2: Nolasco 5 K's through two innings
Tigers center fielder Cameron Maybin drew a one-out walk to continue his hot start and stole a base for the third straight game, but Twins starter Ricky Nolasco ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Tigers lead 1-0 entering the top of the third.
Nolasco has five strikeouts through two innings.
Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.220) jumped ahead in the count 3-1 as Maybin stood on second base, but he struck out. Then shortstop Jose Iglesias (.239) fanned on an 82-mph slider.
Designated hitter Steven Moya entered today with six hits in 15 at-bats, but struck out to start the inning.
Maybin, who made his season debut Monday, had multiple hits and a stolen base in his opening two games of the season.
Top 2: Verlander 3 K's
Justin Verlander earned a 1-2-3 second inning. He has three strikeouts, making him four shy of the 2,000 strikeout milestone.
Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe opened the inning by popping out to continue his struggles at Comerica Park, where he’s hitting .148 in his career (19-for-128).
Second baseman Brian Dozier (.220 season average) grounded out and left fielder Eddie Rosario (.204) struck out to end the inning.
Bot 1: J.D. Martinez strikes again
J.D. Martinez (.259) swatted a line-drive, RBI single off Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco to score Ian Kinsler. The Tigers lead 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
Kinsler (.309) recorded an infield single and then advanced to second on a throwing error by shortstop Eduardo Nunez.
Nolasco, however, ended the inning by retiring three straight Tigers batters: Miguel Cabrera (.289) grounded out, and both Nick Castellanos (.343) and Justin Upton (.217) struck out.
Kinsler is 8-for-21 lifetime for a .381 average against Nolasco.
Top 1: Verlander 5 K's from 2,000
Justin Verlander issued a leadoff walk to nemesis Joe Mauer, but retired three straight batters to end the first inning.
Verlander used his four-seam fastball to end the inning with back-to-back strikeouts against right fielder Miguel Sano (93 mph, looking) and first baseman Byung Ho Park (94 mph, swinging). Verlander is five strikeouts away from reaching 2,000 for his career, which would be second best in Tigers history (Mickey Lolich, 2,679).
Verlander has given up one earned run in the past 16 innings.
Mauer continues his success against Verlander. His leadoff walk came on an eight-pitch at-bat.
Mauer, who is the designated hitter today, is second in the AL in walks (26) and has now reached base safely in 29 games. Among all active players, he ranks first against Verlander in walks (13).
Verlander faces Twins in 1st
Tigers starter Justin Verlander needs seven strikeouts to reach 2,000 for his career. He will face Twins batters Joe Mauer (.274), Eduardo Nunez (.333) and Miguel Sano (.239) in the top of the first.
The only other Tiger in franchise history to reach 2,000 strikeouts was Mickey Lolich (1963-75), who posted 2,679.
How to watch: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins
The Tigers take aim at their fourth straight win and a sweep of the Twins in a 1:10 p.m. game Wednesday at Comerica Park.
Justin Verlander, coming off two consecutive excellent outings, starts for the Tigers.
In his last two starts – Tigers losses against the Orioles and Rangers – Verlander has combined for 17 strikeouts, seven hits and one earned run over 15 innings.
Bob Wojnowski says that after two weeks of doldrums, the Tigers finally have lumbered to life.
Justin Upton, too, is making progress against the strikeout demons that have haunted him this season, Lynn Henning explains.
Gene Lamont got a quick call to the front of the Tigers dugout on Tuesday night after learning of Brad Ausmus’ one-game suspension. “I was a little nervous before the game,” Lamont told Tony Paul. “I’m not gonna lie.”
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. J.D. Martinez, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Nick Castellanos, 3B
5. Justin Upton, LF
6. Steven Moya, DH
7. Cameron Maybin, CF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Justin Verlander, P
1. Joe Mauer, DH
2. Eduardo Nunez, SS
3. Miguel Sano, RF
4. Byung Ho Park, 1B
5. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
6. Brian Dozier, 2B
7. Eddie Rosario, LF
8. Kurt Suzuki, C
9. Danny Santana, CF
Ricky Nolasco, P
TIGERS VS. TWINS
When: Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.
Where: Comerica Park
Pitching matchup: Justin Verlander (2-4, 4.71) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (1-1, 4.87)
Local TV: Fox Sports Detroit
National TV: None
Internet streaming: MLB.TV (blacked out in Detroit market)
Local radio: 97.1 FM
Satellite radio: SIRI 215