Verlander Wins 100th Career Major League Game
By ODU Athletics
Aug. 11, 2011
CLEVELAND -- Former ODU pitching great Justin Verlander (ODU'04) fanned 10 batters for a 4-3 victory over Cleveland Thursday night. The righthander improves his record to 17-5 with a 2.35 earned run average and his 100th career win.
Verlander is now 100-57 for his career,the most by any active Major League pitcher under the age of 30. Just 15 other pitchers in Tigers history have reached the century mark. He reached 17 wins for the fifth time in six full Major League seasons.
While Verlander became the Majors' first 17-game winner this year, the Tigers were a winner at Progressive Field for the first time since Verlander beat the Indians on May 8 of last year. Verlander beat them that afternoon with six innings of three-run ball -- not his best outing, but with great pitches when he needed them.
"It's exciting to win here in Detroit," said Verlander. "But in the larger scheme of things it doesn't mean all that much. There's other things going on here with this team. Obviously, this win was special because, this win was special because of other circumstances surrounding it."
Likewise, Thursday was one of those performances. Carlos Santana's second-inning homer broke up any hope of a no-hit bid or a shutout, and Asdrubal Cabrera's two-run double made Verlander pay for a pair of third-inning walks. But Verlander retired 13 of his last 15 batters from there, striking out six of them, and made an early Tigers lead stick.
Verlander's last four victories and five of his last six have been by one run. To see the Tigers' ace exit after only 108 pitches was unusual, but Joaquin Benoit worked a scoreless eighth and Jose Valverde, with a team record 33rd consecutive save -- passing Guillermo Hernandez's 32 -- closed it out.
Detroit's offense provided support with an opportunistic early outburst off Fausto Carmona, paced by three singles and a walk in a three-run second inning. The crucial hit of the inning was a Wilson Betemit comebacker that bounced off Carmona and rolled through the outfield, allowing Carlos Guillen to score and setting up Alex Avila to score on an Austin Jackson squeeze bunt.
Jackson had scored the Tigers' first run an inning earlier when a Lonnie Chisenhall error put him on second base to eventually score on a Magglio Ordonez sacrifice fly. But Jackson's biggest contribution came in center field in the sixth.
After a one-out walk to Travis Hafner, Santana nearly homered off Verlander again. His drove the ball to straightaway center, but Jackson sprinted back to make an acrobatic catch before crashing into the fence.
It was his second clutch grab at the fence in as many Verlander starts, and it killed the makings of one more Indians rally. Verlander and setup man Joaquin Benoit combined to retire eight straight Clevelanders before Jose Valverde came on for his 33rd save in as many chances.
The Tigers, in turn, moved three games up on the Indians heading into a weekend series against the Orioles.
IP H R ER BB SO Verlander 7 3 3 3 3 10 17-5 with a 2.35 ERA