Tigers 6, Mariners 3
Justin Verlander (12 GS, 79 IP, 3.99 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 1.8 fWAR) was the story entering this game and he was able to do enough to calm the crashing waves. Verlander was much more efficient and kept the hard contact to a minimum as he went 7.2 innings, allowed five hits, a walk, three runs, and struck out seven. He had better velocity than he had in recent starts and looked much less lost out there on the mound. We knew he’d get better than he had been for the last couple of weeks and he did so in a hurry. It wasn’t classic Verlander, but it was more than enough. The offense played Tigers baseball on Friday and did the rest. Cabrera hit a majestic home run to left in the 3rd and Davis his one in the 7th, but it was the one in the middle that really counted. With a man on second and two outs in the 5th, the Mariners decided to walk Cabrera to face Martinez, and a ten pitch at bat later, Martinez made them pay with a no doubt blast to right. Walking Cabrera might have seemed reasonable with a base open, but on average, that move will cost the Marines .23 runs, and boy did it ever. They gave away the platoon advantage and a free base for the right to pitch to a great hitter without the possibility of a double play and it bit them. The Tigers would take it, however, and marched on to their 31st win of the season. They will look to take the series with Drew Smyly (7 GS, 44.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 4.81 FIP, 0.2 fWAR) on the bump Saturday.
The Moment: VMart stays alive by fouling pitches off and goes yard to put the Tigers ahead.