FINAL: TIGERS 3, PHILLIES 1
Justin Verlander was in top form and the Tigers offense did just enough to win a pitcher's battle at Comerica Park tonight, 3-1, over the Philadelphia Phillies.
In the ninth inning, Francisco Rodriguez picked up his 400th career save, but it didn't come without a little drama.
Freddy Galvis led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Maikel Franco followed with a single, putting runners on the corners for Tommy Joseph. Joseph flew out to left field, allowing Galvis to score and making it 3-1. Ryan Howard grounded out to first base for the second out of the inning, moving Joseph up to second. Rodriguez was able to strikeout Carlos Ruiz to to nail down the landmark save.
Rodriguez is just the sixth pitch in the history of baseball to record 400 saves or more.
Verlander pitched eight innings without allowing a run. He gave up just three hits and issued two walks as he showed flashes of his Cy Young days. His last pitch of the night was a 97 mile per hour fastball that blew away Odubel Herrera and notched Verlander his tenth punch out of the night.
Jeremy Hellickson was no slouch on the mound for the Phillies, striking out seven while giving up seven hits and three runs while issuing one walk. For a while, it was a 1-0 pitcher's duel, but the Tigers added two runs in the sixth inning thanks to RBIs from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.
Cameron Maybin had himself another multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 from the dish with a pair of singles and scoring the game's first run on a Cabrera RBI.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 3, Phillies 0
The top of the Tigers lineup went down quietly in the eighth inning against reliever David Hernandez.
Cameron Maybin grounded out, J.D. Martinez struck out swinging and Miguel Cabrera grounded out.
Francisco Rodriguez appears ready in the Tigers bullpen for the chance to record his 400th career save.
Top 8th: Tigers 3, Phillies 0
Justin Verlander issued a leadoff walk to Cesar Hernandez, but that's where the charity stopped for the Tigers hurler as he came back to set the next three Phillies down in order.
Verlander struck out Tyler Goeddel and got Peter Bourjos to pop out into foul territory. He finished off the inning by rearing back with a 97 mile per hour fastball and blowing away Odubel Herrera for his tenth strikeout of the night.
That's going to probably be it for Verlander. He's got the juice to keep going, but based on the way Brad Ausmus manages, I can't see him bringing his hottest pitcher back out for the ninth at 108 pitches.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 3, Phillies 0
Jeremy Hellickson is having himself a nice night, picking up his seventh strikeout of the game in the seventh inning and setting the Tigers down in order.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out looking, Mike Aviles grounded out to third base and Jose Iglesias grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning.
The problem for Hellickson isn't his pitching, it's that Justin Verlander has been on point through the first seven frames.
Top 7th: Tigers 3, Phillies 0
Tommy Joseph notched the Phillies third hit of the night off of Justin Verlander, a one-out single to left field.
Verlander was able to bounce back, striking out Ryan Howard for his eighth punch out of the night and getting Carlos Ruiz to fly our to right field to end the frame.
After a couple of insurance runs, the former MVP probably had his eyes set on a possible complete game. When he does that, he will usually get off his game and make mistakes, so it's nice to see him not let the Joseph single snowball on him.
Verlander will probably come back out for the eighth inning, but I highly doubt a complete game is in his future as his pitch count is up to 94.
Maikel Franco flew out to center field to leadoff the inning.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 3, Phillies 0
Cameron Maybin has himself another multi-hit game after singling to leadoff the sixth. J.D. Martinez doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third for Miguel Cabrera, who grounded out to the shortstop, which was enough to score Maybin and push the Tigers lead to 2-0.
With J.D. still on second, Victor Martinez singled to center field and added another run for the home team.
Nick Castellanos grounded into a fielder's choice and replaced Victor on first base, but Steven Moya struck out swinging to end the inning.
Top 6th: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Justin Verlander has set down 10 consecutive Phillies and the former MVP continues to show flashes of his former self as he appears to be getting stronger as the game goes on.
Peter Bourjos grounded out, Odubel Herrera struck out swinging and Freddy Galvis did the same as Verlander has upped the strikeout count to seven.
Verlander is pitching a great game right now. He's in solid shape with his pitch count (80) and he's featuring a cut fastball that's touching 89 and 90 miles per hour. That's something new as he tends to throw a slider that clock in around 85.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Mike Aviles notched a one-out single through the left side of the infield, but the Tigers second baseman was gunned down at second base on an attempted steal.
Jose Iglesias grounded out to end the inning.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia became Jeremy Hellickson's fifth strikeout victim of the night as the Philadelphia hurler continues to go toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander.
Top 5th: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Justin Verlander continues to cruise tonight, picking up two strikeouts and setting the Phillies down in order in the fifth.
Verlander has given up just two hits while walking one on 70 pitches tonight.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Nick Castellanos stroked a one-out single to center field and appeared to have second base stolen with Steven Moya at the dish, but the Tigers' third baseman slid too far past the bag and was tagged out.
Moya popped out behind home plate to end the inning.
Victor Martinez popped out to leadoff the inning.
Jeremy Hellickson is settling into a pitcher's duel with Justin Verlander. He's thrown 56 pitches and given up just three hits to Tigers hitters.
Top 4th: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Justin Verlander bounced back from a somewhat lengthy third inning with a neat and tidy fourth as he set the Phillies down in order.
Maikel Franco flew out to center field, Tommy Joseph flew out to left and Ryan Howard popped out to third base.
Verlander is tracking nicely in this one. His pitch count now sits at 55. Though he's given up some hard hit balls, they've all been hit right at his defenders.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
J.D. Martinez drew a two-out and that meant Miguel Cabrera was going to get a chance to continue his hot-hitting ways with a man on base.
The big man was just a little over-aggressive, however, striking out on a pitch in the dirt on a 2-2 count.
Jose Iglesias struck out and Cameron Maybin tried to lay down a bunt but was thrown out with ease to start the inning.
Top 3rd: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Philadelphia has put a man on base in each of the first three innings, but the result for all three has been the same as Justin Verlander has been able to work around some minor mistakes.
Verlander issued a two-out walk to Odubel Herrera but bounced back to strike out Freddy Galvis to get out of the third inning.
Verlander threw 22 pitches in the inning after lengthier battles with Herrera and Galvis, but he's still in pretty good shape at 44.
Tyler Goeddel flew out to center field and Peter Bourjos did the same to start the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Having dealt with the hot-hitting duo of Cameron Maybin and Miguel Cabrera in the first inning, Philadelphia starter Jeremy Hellickson was able to breathe a little bit in the second frame, setting a few of the less daunting Tigers down in order.
Steven Moya grounded out to first, Jarrod Saltalamacchia did the same and Mike Aviles struck out to end the inning.
Top 2nd: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Ryan Howard smacked a single to right field to leadoff the second inning, but Justin Verlander dialed it in and was able to get out of the inning unscathed.
Carlos Ruiz flied out to left field and Cesar Hernandez grounded into a double play to quickly end any threat.
Verlander has given up a few hard hit balls tonight, but he's in good shape having thrown just 22 pitches through the first two frames.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 1, Phillies 0
Put this one in category of not so shocking as the Tigers two hottest hitters teamed up to produce the game's first run.
Cameron Maybin singled to right field to leadoff the inning for the Tigers and Miguel Cabrera drilled a fastball to left-center field for a double and an RBI to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
Cabrera missed a home run by less than a foot as he smacked the ball with serious authority to a very deep part of the ballpark.
J.D. Martinez flew out to center field in between the Maybin and Cabrera fireworks, Victor Martinez struck out to follow and Nick Castellanos lined out to second base.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Phillies 0
Justin Verlander dusted off Odubel Herrera with a fastball to leadoff the game, but Freddy Galvis turned on a heater and drilled it to left field for a one-out double.
No worries, though, as Verlander stranded the runner at second base by striking out Maikel Franco and getting Tommy Joseph to line out to the shortstop.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. J.D. Martinez, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
6. Cameron Maybin, CF
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Mike Aviles, LF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Justin Verlander, P
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Ryan Howard, DH
6. Carlos Ruiz, C
7. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
8. Tyler Goeddel, LF
9. Peter Bourjos, RF
Jeremy Hellickson, P
TIGERS VS. PHILLIES
When: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit
Pitching matchup: RHP Justin Verlander (3-4, 4.58) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 3.99)
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 219