Detroit at Oakland

Scoreboard
Detroit (23-17) «0000004105100
Oakland (20-21)000000010140

Tigers ace Verlander tosses four-hitter to beat Athletics

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Even with a rested bullpen available, Detroit manager Jim Leyland didn't hesitate letting Justin Verlander pitch the ninth inning.

The way Leyland saw it, there was no other option.

Verlander pitched a four-hitter to win his fourth straight start, late lineup addition Casper Wells drove in two runs and the Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Wednesday night, spoiling Dallas Braden's first appearance at home since throwing the majors first perfect game this season.

"He deserved to be out there in the ninth inning because I thought he was our best choice there, he was still sharp," Leyland explained of his decision to leave closer Jose Valverde in the bullpen. "If he got in any trouble at all we had Valverde ready to go but he was able to close this one down."

Verlander struck out five and walked one while tossing his first complete game of the season. Detroit's ace, who struggled over the first month of the season, retired 14 of 15 batters during one stretch and carried a shutout into the eighth inning before settling for the easy win.

Since beginning the season 1-2 with a 5.53 ERA, Verlander has been stellar over the past month while winning four straight starts for the first time since July 2008. He is 4-1 with a 1.26 ERA over his last five starts, with his last three wins coming after Detroit losses.

"The biggest key for me is controlling my fastball and I was able to do that tonight to both sides of the plate," Verlander said. "That's where it starts and ends for me. If I'm able to do that usually I'm going to have a pretty good game."

Braden was almost as impressive until leaving with flu-like symptoms after giving up a leadoff home run to Brandon Inge in the seventh followed by a single to Gerald Laird.

That spoiled what was already a big day for Braden, who was making his first start at the Oakland Coliseum since his perfect game against Tampa Bay on Mother's Day. The gem turned the A's lefty into an instant star, and he even made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, delivering the Top 10 List.

The honors kept coming when Braden returned home, too. Before the game against Detroit, he was honored by Oakland mayor Ron Dellums, who proclaimed this Friday as 'Dallas Braden Day.'

For most of the night Braden, who gave up four earned runs in a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in his most recent start, didn't disappoint the 19,284 fans who cheered his every pitch. He pitched out of jams in the first three innings and carried a shutout into the seventh before Inge led off with his solo homer to left-center.

One batter later, after Laird reached on an infield single that Braden (4-4) failed to field cleanly, the A's pitcher -- who has been ill in recent days -- called it a night. He met briefly on the mound with manager Bob Geren and trainer Steve Sayles before being replaced by reliever Michael Wuertz.

"I don't feel too hot," said Braden, who received an IV after being taken out. "It's something that's lingering from before my start in Anaheim. I thought it was the flu and I'd be done with it. I feel beat up. I feel like I just went 12 rounds."

For Detroit, it was the perfect start to a seven-game road trip and allowed the Tigers to pull within a game of first-place Minnesota in the AL Central.

Verlander (5-2) -- who last pitched a complete game on July 24, 2009 -- kept the A's offense quiet while Detroit's lineup waited patiently until scoring four times in the seventh. Most of the damage came against Wuertz, who carried a 17-inning scoreless streak into the game before melting down after replacing Braden.

The A's managed only four singles off Verlander after piling up 31 hits while sweeping a two-game series from Seattle.

"Those guys battled and fouled off some good pitches," Verlander said. "But controlling my fastball allows me to make pitches even when I'm behind in the count and just allows me to be comfortable out there."

The Tigers, coming off a 6-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox, scored twice against Wuertz to break the game open then added another run off Cedrick Bowers in the eighth.

Wells, a late addition to Detroit's lineup when right fielder Magglio Ordonez was scratched due to a sore right heel, had the biggest blow with a two-run double off Wuertz. He also singled off Braden in the third for his first major league hit.

Wuertz retired the first two batters he faced but gave up an RBI single to Austin Jackson before Wells' big hit.

Notes

  • Ordonez told reporters in the Tigers clubhouse that he is day to day.
  • Braden had thrown consecutive complete games before his night against Detroit ended early.
  • Austin Jackson has hit safely in 19 of 20 road games this season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Justin Verlander fans five and carries a shutout into the eighth before winning his fourth straight start. (AP)
Justin Verlander fans five and carries a shutout into the eighth before winning his fourth straight start. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

J. Verlander
IP 9.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 1
K 5
Detroit

A. Jackson
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Detroit Tigers
Austin Jackson, CF5121011 .331
Johnny Damon, DH4110112 .284
Casper Wells, LF-RF5022001 .222
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4000113 .336
Brennan Boesch, RF3000002 .372
    Don Kelly, LF0100000 .237
Brandon Inge, 3B4111011 .224
Gerald Laird, C4110010 .157
Danny Worth, 2B3031000 .667
Adam Everett, SS4000013 .188
Totals36510526  
Batting
2B - Casper Wells (1, Wuertz)
HR - Brandon Inge (4, Braden)
SH - Danny Worth (1)
RBI - Austin Jackson (11), Casper Wells 2 (2), Brandon Inge (21), Danny Worth (2)
2-OUT RBI - Austin Jackson (6), Casper Wells 2 (2), Danny Worth (2)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Everett-Worth-Cabrera, Verlander-Everett-Cabrera
Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander (W,5-2) 9411150 3.43
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 116-80
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 10-10
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 30
Oakland Athletics
Cliff Pennington, SS4000010 .231
Daric Barton, 1B3000110 .271
Ryan Sweeney, RF4000021 .308
Kurt Suzuki, C3010000 .267
Jack Cust, LF3110000 .375
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B3010001 .258
Eric Chavez, DH3010002 .243
Adam Rosales, 2B2001001 .264
Rajai Davis, CF2000001 .248
   a- Eric Patterson, PH-CF1000011 .222
Totals2814115  
a-struck out for Davis in the 8th
Batting
SF - Adam Rosales (2)
RBI - Adam Rosales (15)
Team LOB - 2
Oakland Athletics
Dallas Braden (L,4-4) 6622121 3.45
Michael Wuertz 1222100 3.86
Cedrick Bowers 1111020 9.00
Henry Rodriguez 1100020 8.10
IBB - Damon by Michael Wuertz
HBP - Kelly (by Cedrick Bowers)
WP - Henry Rodriguez (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Dallas Braden 79-50, Michael Wuertz 22-12, Cedrick Bowers 23-13, Henry Rodriguez 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dallas Braden 7-9, Michael Wuertz 1-2, Cedrick Bowers 1-0, Henry Rodriguez 1-0
Batters Faced - Dallas Braden 25, Michael Wuertz 6, Cedrick Bowers 5, Henry Rodriguez 4
Game Information
Attendance - 19284
Game Time - 2:26
Temperature - 57
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Mike DiMuro, Second Base - Tim Welke, Third Base - Jim Reynolds