Detroit, MI (WKZO) – It hasn’t been easy for Justin Verlander this year against the Cleveland Indians. The former Cy Young Award winner had allowed nine runs to the Indians over 10 innings in his two previous starts against Cleveland but his third outing against the Tribe was much better. Verlander tossed seven quality innings, allowing three runs – all earned -- on seven hits while striking out six while picking up his fourth win in a row as the Tigers took the first of three from the Cleveland Indians on Friday night 7-3.
Torii Hunter ended a 0-14 streak with three hits and had an RBI single in the second in the middle of a three run inning. Victor Martinez also had three hits and blasted his fifth home run of the year and second in as many days for the Tigers first run in the second. Miguel Cabrera walked with the bases loaded to cap off the scoring in the second for the Tigers. Cabrera later grounded into a double play with runners on first and third and no outs in the fourth inning and while the run scored for the Tigers was their sixth, Cabrera was not credited with an RBI.
Andy Dirks and Brayan Pena added RBI hits for Detroit.
The Indians were only able to get three across the board and they all came in the fifth inning. Michael Bourne singled with the bases loaded for the Indians first run, and two more runs were scored during the next at-bat when Torii Hunter couldn’t squeeze a Jason Kipnis fly ball allowing the final runs of the fifth for Cleveland.
Ubaldo Jimenez got the loss for the Indians after working just three innings and giving up five runs, with just three of them earned.
Joaquin Benoit pitched a scoreless eighth in his 500th career appearance and Jose Valverde made his 600th career appearance by closing out the ninth in a non-save situation but kept it interesting allowing solo home runs to Jason Giambi, his sixth of the year and 435th of his career, and Drew Stubbs and after putting the tying run on board with two outs, he got Nick Swisher to ground out to end the game.
With the win the Tigers gained a game on the Indians in the AL Central and now lead by 3.5 games. Rick Porcello (2-3, 5.21) gets the starts for Detroit on Saturday against Justin Masterson (8-4, 3.57). First pitch is set for 4:10pm.