Verlander Overpowers A’s, Tigers Head to ALCS
In the fifth and deciding game of the American League Division Series, Justin Verlander showed why he’s one of baseball’s premier pitchers.
The Detroit Tigers right hander carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and allowed just two hits in an eight inning gem as the Tigers shut out the Oakland Athletics 3-0 to clinch a spot in the American League Championship Series.
The Tigers will meet the Boston Red Sox in the best of seven series beginning Saturday in Fenway Park in Boston.
Miguel Cabrera gave Verlander all the support he would need by hitting a two run homer in the fourth inning, scoring Torii Hunter, who singled off losing pitcher Sonny Gray with one out. The Tigers added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Victor Martinez led off with a single and was advanced to second on a single by Jhonny Peralta. Dan Otero relieved Gray but Omar Infante’s grounder scored Martinez with one out.
Gray gave up six hits and four walks in five innings.
Verlander retired the first 16 batters he faced before walking Josh Reddick with one out in the sixth. Then in the seventh with two out, Yoenis Cespedes spoiled the no-hit bid with a single up the middle. Reddick’s two out single in the eighth was the only other baserunner allowed by Verlander, who threw 111 pitches in eight innings. He walked one and struck out ten, the fifth time he has had double digit strikeouts in the post-season.
Joaquin Benoit pitched a scoreless ninth to get the save.
Oakland batters struck out 57 times in the five game series, a new ALDS record.