Two of Detroit’s biggest stars came through when it mattered most on Thursday, as Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Miguel Cabrera clobbered a two-run home run at Oakland to lead Detroit to a 3-0 victory and a trip to the American League Championship Series.
Next up for Detroit: the Boston Red Sox.
On September 4, Breitbart Sports projected the Dodgers beating the Tigers in the World Series if it came down to pitching. Both teams are now one step away after Clayton Kershaw pitched a day early to help the Dodgers to the NLCS, and Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander put together back-to-back gems to pull the Tigers back from a two-games-to-one hole to advance to the ALCS. Thursday it was Justin Verlander, who had an “off-year” after signing a $180-million, 7-year contract just before the season started, who was nearly flawless in a 3-0 win.
In Game 4 the A’s took a 3-0 lead to get so close to advancing, but the Tigers rallied to tie the score and then Scherzer made a rare relief appearance to win his second game of the series and send the series back to Oakland for the finale.
That gave Verlander his chance, and he was almost untouchable. He took a no-hitter to the seventh inning before allowing only two hits to turn the ball over to his bullpen with a 3-0 lead. He never allowed more than one Athletic to even be on base.
Some said Verlander was “off” for him with a season that was below his normal Cy Young level, while others said he was saving a little extra for the playoffs.
His 15 innings, 21 strikeouts, six hits and zero runs allowed in his two appearances against the A’s indicates he may have been saving a little.
In Verlander’s last nine starts, the Tigers were shut out four times, scored three runs four times and scored six runs once. The 2.0 runs per game of support over those nine starts has given Verlander little margin for error, and part of the shortfall has been the lack of September home runs from the injured Miguel Cabrera. However, he gave Verlander just enough in the fourth inning. Torii Hunter – hoping to finally get to a World Series toward the end of his brilliant career – reached prior to Cabrera’s homer and the Tigers added a third run in the sixth for the final margin.