|Detroit (39-33) «||0||1||2||1||0||0||3||0||2||9||13||1|
Verlander threw a four-hitter for his second straight complete game and the Detroit Tigers beat the Rockies 9-1 on Sunday. It was Verlander's seventh straight win, but he said he wasn't nearly as sharp as he has been lately.
"This start wasn't that great," he said. "Early in the game especially, my fastball control wasn't anywhere near where it should be. But I was able to keep guys off balance."
Verlander (9-3) has four complete games, matching his total from all of last year and leaving him second to Tampa Bay's James Shields, who has five. Shields threw a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts in a 2-1 win over Florida earlier Sunday.
Verlander retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced to help the Tigers salvage the finale of the weekend series. It was the sixth time this season Verlander has won following a Detroit loss.
|More on Tigers at Rockies|
"When Justin's pitching I think you get a little bit of a lift automatically," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "The guys take the field with a little bit of pizazz. He's earned that."
In his last start against Cleveland on Tuesday, the hard-throwing righty came within five outs of tossing his second no-hitter of the season and third of his career before settling for a two-hitter. Sunday didn't hold the same drama, but Verlander was in complete control all afternoon. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter.
"We know as an offense their team's going to have a real small margin for error when Ver's on the mound," outfielder Brennan Boesch said. "If they don't capitalize on runs early it's going to be a tough day for them."
"I was thinking limit the damage," Verlander said. "I'm OK with giving up one run but I didn't want to give up two or three. So if I get in a situation where I could strike out Wiggington then I'll go for it. I got two strikes, and once I get to there I try to strike him out."
Wiggington homered and Tulowitzki had two hits for the Rockies, who were trying to sweep their first series since taking four from the Mets in April.
The Tigers pecked away at Colorado starter Aaron Cook early to take a 4-0 lead. Ryan Rayburn's RBI single in the second, Avila's sacrifice fly and Andy Dirks' RBI single in the third made it 3-0, and Don Kelly tripled home Austin Jackson in the fourth to give Verlander a four-run cushion.
Cook (0-2) was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth after allowing four runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out four.
The Rockies got to Detroit's first two starters in the series but couldn't solve Verlander until Wiggington's one-out homer in the bottom of the fifth that made it 4-1. It was the first run Verlander allowed in 16 1/3 innings.
Blackmon followed with a single to left but he was erased when Cabrera threw him out at second trying to advance on another errant pickoff attempt.
Colorado's defense, which was stellar in Saturday's win, allowed the Tigers to put the game out of reach in the seventh.
With Kelly on first, Boesch's single rolled under Seth Smith's glove to the wall, scoring Kelly. After a walk to Cabrera, catcher Matt Pagnozzi's passed ball scored Boesch and Cabrera moved to third when reliever Rex Brothers misplayed the throw to the plate. Avila singled to make it 7-1.
Boesch and Cabrera homered on consecutive pitches in the ninth off reliever Clayton Mortensen. Verlander retired the Rockies' 3-4-5 hitters to end the game.
"That was as good a game as we've had pitched against us all year," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He was throwing four pitches for strikes, not two. We just got beat today by one of the games' best pitchers who right now is throwing as well as anybody in baseball."
|Justin Verlander gives up four hits to the Rockies during his second consecutive complete-game performance. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
New Era Detroit Tigers Fitted Hat
$34.95 Shop Now!
|Austin Jackson, CF||4||1||1||0||1||0||1||.252|
|Don Kelly, 3B||5||1||2||1||0||0||3||.256|
|Brennan Boesch, RF||4||3||3||1||0||0||1||.295|
|Casper Wells, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.243|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B||4||3||2||1||1||0||2||.328|
|Alex Avila, C||4||1||2||2||0||1||0||.305|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||5||0||1||0||0||1||2||.303|
|Andy Dirks, LF||4||0||1||1||0||0||2||.263|
|Ryan Raburn, 2B||3||0||1||1||1||1||1||.207|
|Danny Worth, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.429|
|Justin Verlander, P||4||0||0||0||0||3||3||.000|
|2B - Miguel Cabrera (20, Cook)|
|3B - Don Kelly (1, Cook)|
|HR - Brennan Boesch (10, Mortensen), Miguel Cabrera (14, Mortensen)|
|SF - Alex Avila (6)|
|RBI - Don Kelly (9), Brennan Boesch (38), Miguel Cabrera (48), Alex Avila 2 (41), Andy Dirks (10), Ryan Raburn (25)|
|2-OUT RBI - Andy Dirks (2)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|E - Justin Verlander (4, Throwing)|
|Justin Verlander (W,9-3)||9||4||1||1||0||5||1||2.54|
|HBP - Pagnozzi (by Justin Verlander)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 110-71|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 7-14|
|Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 31|
|Carlos Gonzalez, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.275|
|Chris Nelson, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.281|
|Clayton Mortensen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Ryan Spilborghs, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.239|
|Todd Helton, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.308|
|Troy Tulowitzki, SS||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.276|
|Seth Smith, RF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.305|
|Ty Wigginton, 3B||3||1||1||1||0||1||2||.267|
|Charlie Blackmon, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.378|
|Matt Pagnozzi, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Aaron Cook, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.167|
|b- Eric Young Jr., PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.214|
|Rex Brothers, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jonathan Herrera, 2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.244|
|a-struck out for Mortensen in the 9th|
|b-flied out for Cook in the 6th|
|HR - Ty Wigginton (7, Verlander)|
|RBI - Ty Wigginton (24)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Wigginton-Nelson-Helton, Tulowitzki-Helton|
|PB - Matt Pagnozzi (1)|
|E - Rex Brothers (2, Missed catch of throw), Seth Smith (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Aaron Cook (L,0-2)||6||8||4||4||2||4||0||4.67|
|HBP - Boesch (by Aaron Cook)|
|WP - Aaron Cook (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Cook 85-53, Rex Brothers 9-3, Clayton Mortensen 42-25|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Cook 7-6, Clayton Mortensen 3-3|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Cook 28, Rex Brothers 3, Clayton Mortensen 11|
|Attendance - 49015|
|Game Time - 2:41|
|Temperature - 70|
|Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Al Porter, Third Base - Field Culbreth|