The reckoning of Bruce Chen.
Tigers 6, Royals 3 (Magic # = 10)
The top of the order gave Justin Verlander (31 GS, 199.2 IP, 3.66 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 4.6 WAR) plenty of runs to work with thanks to good nights from Jackson, Hunter, Cabrera, and Fielder against the Bruce Chen. Verlander didn’t dazzle in any sort of Cy Young caliber way, but he gave the Tigers 6.2 solid innings of 3 run baseball featuring 7 strikeouts and no walks and continues to have the best “down year” anybody has probably ever had. The story of this one was the bullpen as Smyly came on and got the final out of the 7th and the first in the 8th before giving way to Veras who got one out but added two baserunners. It was Benoit who entered with four outs left, defying all logic. Somehow, a closer managed to finagle his way into a game earlier than the 9th inning out of Jim Leyland’s bullpen – and somehow – he didn’t blow it! He K’d Lough and then went through the 9th to close it out. The Tigers will try to take the series behind the vertically gifted Doug Fister (29 GS, 186 IP, 3.77 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 4.0 WAR).
The Moment: Benoit comes in with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning and strikes out David Lough.