Verlander Wins 19th To Lead Tigers To Play-In Game Tuesday at Minnesota

October 04, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Oct. 4, 2009

Tigers survive Sox to set up tiebreaker Granderson seals 'W,' forcing Tuesday game vs. Twins By Jason Beck /

DETROIT -- The Tigers headed into Sunday not just needing a win, but needing a spark. Justin Verlander (ODU'04) and his fastball provided both, overpowering White Sox hitters for seven-plus quality innings before a diving catch by Curtis Granderson helped save Detroit's season with a 5-3 win on Sunday at Comerica Park. The 19 wins are a career best for Verlander.

Verlander fanned five i 7.2 innings of work. He gave up six hits, three runs, and two walks. He now has a 3.45 earned run average. He now has 269 strikeouts in 240 innings of work which leads the American League.

After three straight losses sent the Tigers from the verge of a division title to a tie atop of the American League Central, Sunday's win ensured the Tigers of a one-game tiebreaker with the Twins on Tuesday at the Metrodome. Minnesota defeated Kansas City on Sunday to stay tied with Detroit.

The winner of that tiebreaker will advance to the AL Division Series against New York, which will begin at Yankee Stadium.

Three home runs, two from Ryan Raburn, sent the Tigers on their way to more runs Sunday than they scored in their previous three games combined. Raburn scored three times, including a two-run home run in the second inning off starter John Danks (13-11) and a solo shot in the sixth, for his 16th homer of the year. Magglio Ordonez added four hits, including his first home run since Aug. 16 with a fifth-inning solo homer.

Those extra runs became the difference once the White Sox rallied later. Verlander (19-9) faced one batter over the minimum through seven innings, scattering two hits and a walk, before four straight hits plated three runs and brought the potential tying run to the plate.

Verlander's two-out, four-pitch walk put that run on base and brought out manager Jim Leyland with the hook. In came Fernando Rodney to face Carlos Quentin, whose fly ball to shallow left-center seemed set to fall for a game-tying bloop single. Granderson, playing relatively deep for the slugger, charged in and dove, fully extended, to get his glove under it just in time for a highlight catch.

Dan Hudson (ODU'08) pitched two innings of relief, giving up three hits with one run, and two strikeouts. He now has a 3.38 earned run average.