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News » Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-05-04

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-05-04

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-05-04
Stat mavens and cynics pooh-pooh it, but most players don't.

A big defensive stop or a pitcher masterfully working out of a jam in a tight game can very often tilt a decision one way in favor of the defensive team.

Justin Verlander was locked in a 1-1 battle Sunday with Cliff Lee. A walk, double and an intentional walk left the bases loaded with Indians in the top of the seventh.

But Verlander, his fastball topping out at 101 mph when he was well over 100 pitches, got a fly out to short right, his 11th strikeout of the game and a force at second to escape the jam with the score remaining tied.

Detroit responded with doubles by the light-hitting Dane Sardinha and Curtis Granderson to break the tie, then got an insurance run on a groundout to second by Placido Polanco and a single up the middle by Magglio Ordonez.

Players are human beings. Outstanding feats stimulate them. You could look in the Detroit dugout after Verlander closed out his last inning and see players smiling and jumping around.

They took that to the plate with them against last year's Cy Young award winner.

Sometimes that infectious attitude doesn't result in anything positive. But over time, it can't hurt.

TIGERS 3, INDIANS 1: C Dane Sardinha and CF Curtis Granderson stroked consecutive leadoff doubles in the seventh inning Sunday to break a 1-1 tie and back up the 11-strikeout pitching of RHP Justin Verlander. 2B Placido Polanco failed on a bunt attempt but then grounded slowly to second to get Granderson to third and he scored on a single up the middle through a drawn-in infield by RF Magglio Ordonez. Verlander gave up just two hits in seven innings. RHP Bobby Seay got two outs in the eighth, RHP Joel Zumaya finished the inning by serving up a lineout to short and RHP Fernando Rodney pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 4, 2009

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