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Verlander strikes out 11 as Tigers tame Twins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- The Minnesota Twins were the first team to clinch a postseason berth. They didn't look like a playoff team Friday night.

The AL Central champion Twins managed only four hits against Justin Verlander and needed two errors in the ninth inning to avoid being shut out in a 10-1 loss to the Tigers.

"That was obviously a tough night," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the sixth inning. "Verlander was the story -- he just ate us up. We watched his last couple starts on TV, and he's been doing that to everyone. Right now, his stuff is as good as anyone in the league."

More on Twins

Verlander (18-8) improved to 5-0 in his last seven starts, which he attributes to a mechanical adjustment with his curveball.

"When I looked at their swings, I was able to adjust and attack the zone with my curve," he said. "Now that I've had four or five starts since I got it back, I just need to get back to being able to use it earlier in games."

Verlander struck out 11 to become the first Tiger to strike out 200 batters in consecutive seasons since Jack Morris in 1987-88. He is 12-3 at home this season, but won't get a chance at 20 wins because of a 6-5 road record.

"I could have done it, but I needed to pitch a little better in a few games and I didn't do it," said Verlander, who is only scheduled to start one more game. "I do know that I helped the team this year."

Jhonny Peralta drove in four runs while Miguel Cabrera had three hits and scored three runs for the Tigers, who have won six of their last seven.

Cabrera is hitting .329 with 36 homers, 122 RBI and 108 runs, but isn't willing to say this has been his best season in the majors.

"I don't know -- we're not done yet," he said. "When we are done, I've got to spend the offseason working to get better."

Francisco Liriano (14-9) allowed two runs in three-plus innings before leaving the game with an illness.

"I've been sick for the last three or four days and it just got worse while I was out there," he said. "I was getting dizzy, so I had to come out."

Verlander struck out the side on 13 pitches in the second inning.

"His curveball was working all game, and when it is working, it is the best in the league," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's a great young pitcher with a chance to get better."

Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the fourth to break the 0-0 tie, and Liriano walked Peralta before signaling to the Twins dugout that something was wrong. After a lengthy conference at the mound, both Liriano and shortstop Alexi Casilla left the game feeling ill.

"I've never had two guys get sick on the mound at the same time before," Gardenhire said. "Frankie was throwing the ball really well -- all he gave up was a homer to Cabrera -- but he looked pretty bad. We decided to take him out, and I looked over at Alexi, and he didn't look any better."

The Tigers broke the game open in the sixth. Ryan Raburn and Cabrera started the inning with singles off Jeff Manship, and Peralta followed with a single to make it 3-0.

Casper Wells then hit a grounder over third base that was grabbed by a fan in the stands down the left-field line. Third base umpire Tim Tschida quickly called fan interference, but home plate umpire Tim Timmons ruled that Peralta's run counted and Wells was entitled to a triple. Gardenhire was ejected moments after returning to the dugout.

"It's a judgment call and they made a judgment," he said. "I stopped arguing when I went back to the dugout, but [bench coach] Steve Liddle was still yelling and they threw me out. My coaches thought it was very entertaining, but I don't think they will want to pay my fine."

Brennan Boesch followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0, and Peralta and Wells hit back-to-back homers in the eighth.

The Twins ruined Verlander's fourth career shutout with two out in the ninth, thanks to two Detroit throwing errors and Michael Cuddyer's RBI single.

Notes

  • Brandon Inge struck out twice, leaving him one short of Lou Whitaker's franchise record of 1,099. Inge has played in 1,288 career games, as opposed to Whitaker's 2,390.
  • C Joe Mauer will sit out the Detroit series to rest a sore knee, but could play Monday in Kansas City. DH Jim Thome sat out the game with back stiffness.
  • Gardenhire said after the game that, while he hopes to get 1B Justin Morneau back, he doesn't think there is time for the slugger to recover from a concussion in time for the postseason. Morneau has been sidelined since sustaining the concussion while sliding into second base in Toronto on July 7.
  • Verlander has struck out at least 10 batters four times this season, including two of his last three starts.
 
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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Jhonny Peralta is congratulated by teammate Scott Sizemore after hitting a three-run shot against the Twins. (Getty Images)
Jhonny Peralta is congratulated by teammate Scott Sizemore after hitting a three-run shot against the Twins. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Detroit

J. Peralta
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Detroit

J. Verlander
IP 9.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 0
K 11
 

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Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF4120000 .267
Orlando Hudson, 2B3000002 .271
    Matt Tolbert, 2B1000011 .247
Jason Kubel, DH4000021 .250
Michael Cuddyer, 1B4011001 .272
Delmon Young, LF4000022 .296
Danny Valencia, 3B3000020 .328
Jose Morales, C3000020 .240
Ben Revere, RF3010010 .222
Alexi Casilla, SS1000000 .277
    Trevor Plouffe, SS2000010 .114
Totals32141011  
Batting
RBI - Michael Cuddyer (78)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Cuddyer (38)
SB - Denard Span (24, 2nd base off Verlander/Laird)
PK - Ben Revere (1, Verlander)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Plouffe-Hudson-Cuddyer
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Francisco Liriano (L,14-9) 3422141 3.48
Jeff Manship 2444120 4.05
Jose Mijares 1000010 3.10
Alex Burnett 0.2344122 5.11
Randy Flores 0.1100000 3.00
Pat Neshek 1100000 3.68
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 61-36, Jeff Manship 39-28, Jose Mijares 13-9, Alex Burnett 25-13, Randy Flores 5-4, Pat Neshek 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 3-2, Jeff Manship 1-2, Pat Neshek 1-2
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 14, Jeff Manship 10, Jose Mijares 3, Alex Burnett 6, Randy Flores 2, Pat Neshek 4
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF5000012 .295
Scott Sizemore, 2B3110111 .233
   a- Max St. Pierre, PH1000001 .167
    Will Rhymes, 2B0000000 .288
Ryan Raburn, LF5220013 .275
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4332011 .329
    Don Kelly, 1B0000000 .245
Jhonny Peralta, SS3224100 .251
Casper Wells, RF4223011 .356
Brennan Boesch, DH1001110 .265
   b- Johnny Damon, PH-DH1010000 .269
Brandon Inge, 3B4000022 .249
Gerald Laird, C4020010 .212
Totals3510131039  
a-flied out for Sizemore in the 8th
b-doubled for Boesch in the 7th
Batting
2B - Scott Sizemore (7, Liriano), Johnny Damon (34, Flores), Gerald Laird (10, Liriano)
3B - Casper Wells (1, Manship)
HR - Miguel Cabrera (36, Liriano), Jhonny Peralta (15, Burnett), Casper Wells (4, Burnett)
SF - Brennan Boesch (3)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera 2 (122), Jhonny Peralta 4 (78), Casper Wells 3 (17), Brennan Boesch (66)
2-OUT RBI - Jhonny Peralta 3 (34), Casper Wells (7)
SB - Brennan Boesch (7, 2nd base off Manship/Morales)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Jhonny Peralta (8, Throwing), Will Rhymes (4, Throwing)
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Verlander (W,18-8) 94100110 3.31
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 124-80
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 11-6
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 32
Game Information
Attendance - 30083
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Tim Tschida