Justin Verlander's masterpiece in 5-1 win completes Tigers' sweep of Angels
Justin Verlander retired 23 consecutive batters from the first through ninth innings, giving up one run and three hits in 8 1/3 innings to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 5-1 victory over the Angels in Comerica Park and their first three-game sweep of the Angels in Detroit since July 30-Aug. 1, 1996.
Mixing a fastball that was clocked at 99 mph as late as the eighth inning with a nasty curve and fading changeup, Verlander (2-2) struck out seven, walked none and threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of the 28 batters he faced. Of his 120 pitches, 86 were strikes.
The right-hander gave up a single to Torii Hunter with two outs in the first inning and didn't allow another baserunner until Maicer Izturis' pinch-hit single with one out in the ninth. Izturis took second on defensive indifference and scored on Erick Aybar's single to center, which broke up the shutout and knocked Verlander out of the game.
Angels starter Jered Weaver matched zeroes with Verlander for four innings and was impressive in the first, when he pitched his way out of a runner-on-third, no-outs jam. Austin Jackson led off with a double and took third on a wild pitch, but Weaver struck out the heart of the order: Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera.
Weaver's fastball is rarely clocked above 92 mph, but according to the Comerica Park radar gun, Weaver whiffed Ordonez with a 95-mph fastball and Cabrera with a 94-mph fastball.
The right-hander lost his grip on the Tigers in the fifth inning, though. Alex Avila led off with a single to right and took third on Scott Sizemore's single to right. No. 9 hitter Ramon Santiago singled to right, scoring Avila and advancing Sizemore to third, and Sizemore scored on a wild pitch.
Santiago took second on the wild pitch, third on a groundout and scored on Cabrera's single to center, which knocked out Weaver. Brennan Boesch smacked reliever Jason Bulger's first pitch to right for an RBI double and a 4-0 Tigers lead.
--Mike DiGiovanna in Detroit
Photo: Justin Verlander delivers a pitch against the Angels on Sunday. Credit: Leon Halip / Getty Images