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Detroit at Oakland

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Detroit (89-64) «000001011350
Oakland (69-84)000000000031

Verlander 1st since '04 to win 24 as Tigers blank A's

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The AL Central title clinched for the Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander has a goal -- and it has nothing to do with the AL Cy Young Award.

The Tigers are looking for homefield advantage, for their fans as much as for themselves.

"I'd like to start at home," Verlander said Sunday when he led the Tigers over the Oakland Athletics 3-0 and became the first pitcher in nine years to reach 24 wins.

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After clinching its first division title since 1987 on Friday, Detroit (89-64) is one game ahead of Texas (88-65) for No. 2 seed in the AL playoffs -- and homefield advantage in the first round. In the event of a tie, Tigers hold the tiebreaker because Detroit swept Texas 6-0 in the season series.

"I want the home crowd behind me," Verlander said. "I know it will be loud since they haven't seen it since 2006. It would be nice to play in front of them."

Verlander (24-5) won his 12th straight start, pitching three-hit ball over eight innings. He struck out six and walked three, extending his scoreless streak to 17 innings.

"The champagne bottles are packed and gone, and the cigars are gone," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We have another mission and that's to get homefield advantage. If there's a fifth game, we want our fans to see it."

He became the first pitcher to win 12 straight starts since Minnesota's Johan Santana in 2004, according to STATS LLC. Verlander has a 2.28 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 87 innings over his streak.

"Brilliant, unbelievable, outstanding. Write one down and use it, or use all three," Tigers' catcher Alex Avila said.

Verlander pitched to the minimum 11 batters until giving up a two-out single to Coco Crisp in the fourth. Scott Sizemore singled in the first, but was thrown out attempting to steal.

Verlander has the most wins in a major league season since Arizona's Randy Johnson in 2002. With another victory, he would become the winningest pitcher in a season since Oakland's Bob Welch went 27-6 in 1990.

"He prepares as hard as anybody and can translate it into action. His attention to detail is unbelievable," Avila said. "He's been able to do exactly what he wants to do and can make changes if he has to."

Verlander set a Tigers record by winning 12 straight starts. He is the first Tigers pitcher to win a dozen consecutive decisions since Bobo Newsom won 13 straight in 1940.

"There's no question about it, he's making a case for himself," Leyland said. "He was scoreless again today. That's a special talent doing something special."

Jose Velvarde pitched the ninth to remain perfect in 46 save chances his season.

For Oakland, Guillermo Moscoso (8-9) took a no-hit bid into the sixth but had thrown 90 pitches by then.

Austin Jackson, who had two hits and scored twice, led off the sixth with his 10th home run of the year, a drive that just cleared the center-field fence. Pinch-hitter Brandon Inge doubled in a run against Craig Breslow in the eighth, and Ramon Santiago drove in a run in the ninth with a squeeze bunt.

Moscoso lasted six innings and matched his season high with eight strikeouts.

"I got behind in the count a couple times but I was able to throw my slider for strikes and get out of trouble," Moscoso said. "We got Verlander on the other side and he's having a great year. We tried to do our best but we didn't score early so my job was to stay in the game and go deep."

Notes

  • Oakland has been shut out in five of Moscoso's starts.
  • Tigers INF Carlos Guillen left in the bottom of the fourth because of a strained right calf. He was to be reevaluated Monday.
  • RHP Rich Harden (4-3, 4.76) starts for the A's against the Rangers on Tuesday. He's 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA over his last four starts.
  • RHP Brad Penny 10-10, 5.07) will start for the Tigers at Kansas City on Tuesday. The Tigers have won his last three starts, and Penny is 3-1 over his last seven starts. He lost his only career start in Kansas City.
  • A's OF Hideki Matsui (1-for-19 on the homestand) and INF Cliff Pennington were given the day off.
  • Jonah Hill, who plays Peter Brand in the upcoming Moneyball movie, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was accompanied by Chris Pratt (Scott Hatteberg), Casey Bond (Chad Bradford), Stephen Bishop (David Justice) and the real Scott Hatteberg.
 
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 picks up his major-league-leading 24th win with a shutout in Oakland. (Getty Images)
Justin Verlander picks up his major-league-leading 24th win with a shutout in Oakland. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Detroit

A. Jackson
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Detroit

J. Verlander
IP 8.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 3
K 6
 
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF5221021 .248
Don Kelly, 3B3000020 .235
   a- Brandon Inge, PH-3B1011000 .203
Delmon Young, LF4000021 .271
Miguel Cabrera, 1B3000100 .331
Victor Martinez, DH3000102 .324
Alex Avila, C3110122 .297
Carlos Guillen, 2B1000001 .232
    Ryan Raburn, 2B-RF2010101 .250
Andy Dirks, RF3000002 .246
    Danny Worth, 2B1000002 .278
Ramon Santiago, SS3001002 .266
Totals3235348  
a-doubled for Kelly in the 8th
Batting
2B - Brandon Inge (10, Breslow), Ryan Raburn (20, Outman)
HR - Austin Jackson (10, Moscoso)
SH - Ramon Santiago (11)
RBI - Austin Jackson (43), Brandon Inge (23), Ramon Santiago (29)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Delmon Young 1
DP - Young-Guillen-Cabrera
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Verlander (W,24-5) 8300360 2.29
Jose Valverde (S,46) 1000010 2.41
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 116-66, Jose Valverde 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 4-12, Jose Valverde 1-1
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 28, Jose Valverde 3
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jemile Weeks, 2B4000000 .298
Scott Sizemore, 3B3010110 .241
Coco Crisp, CF4010011 .272
Josh Willingham, LF3000101 .254
David DeJesus, RF3010000 .237
Chris Carter, DH3000031 .121
Brandon Allen, 1B2000111 .213
Kurt Suzuki, C3000001 .241
Eric Sogard, SS3000010 .193
Totals2803037  
Batting
CS - Scott Sizemore (3, 2nd base by Verlander/Avila)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Guillermo Moscoso (2, Missed catch of throw)
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Guillermo Moscoso (L,8-9) 6111281 3.35
Brian Fuentes 1000100 3.79
Craig Breslow 1211100 3.92
Josh Outman 0.2211000 3.70
Andrew Carignan 0.1000000 4.50
IBB - Cabrera by Craig Breslow
Pitches-Strikes - Guillermo Moscoso 110-70, Brian Fuentes 16-8, Craig Breslow 17-8, Josh Outman 16-9, Andrew Carignan 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Guillermo Moscoso 4-7, Brian Fuentes 2-1, Craig Breslow 2-1, Josh Outman 1-1
Batters Faced - Guillermo Moscoso 22, Brian Fuentes 4, Craig Breslow 6, Josh Outman 4, Andrew Carignan 1
Game Information
Attendance - 18405
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Jim Reynolds