All-Stars lead the way in Tigers' victory
Jul 5, 2012 at 12:05a ET
In a game that was delayed for nearly two and a half hours, Justin Verlander threw a complete game, Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs and Prince Fielder drove in two runs as the Tigers ended the Minnesota Twins' five-game winning streak with a 5-1 victory to delight a sellout crowd of 41,023 at Comerica Park.
Denard Span ended Verlander's chance at a no-hitter with a leadoff single in the fourth and Chris Parmalee hit a solo home run in the fifth, but Verlander needed only 115 pitches for his fifth complete game of the season, a new career high.
"He makes everything look easy," catcher Alex Avila said. "That's a really good offensive team. He just made his pitches. He was nasty today."
Verlander made it look so easy that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was reminded of another Tigers ace.
"You’ve got to have the great arm and you’ve got to have the mentality to get there," Gardenhire said. "It’s a Jack Morris, type thing — finish the game, nine innings. That’s Verlander, and that’s putting him in a lofty status as far as I’m concerned. Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame and he was one of the grittiest pitchers I’ve ever been on the field with.
"As the game got going, Jack got tougher and tougher; this guy’s going at about the same pace. So when I mention him with Jack Morris, that’s showing a lot of respect, because I have a lot of respect for Jack Morris."
If Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington saw any of the game, it might encourage him to give Verlander the nod to start the All-Star Game in Kansas City.
"It would be nice, it would be fantastic," Verlander said. "I'd like to have that on the resume but I know there's some other guys out there having exceptional years."
Speaking of exceptional, not just anyone can hit the ball out to center field in Comerica Park. It's normally something that you see once a year, maybe twice.
But with Cabrera's 429-foot bomb in the sixth, he's now done it three times this season.
"It's hard to get it out to center field here," Cabrera said. "It's too big. When you see a ball go out to center field, it's kind of like, OK, thank God."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland has seen it all before, but Cabrera's talent still leaves him shaking his head.
"He’s a little bit different, needless to say," Leyland said. "He’s awful special. You just don’t find guys that can hit balls like that. That was actually a line drive that he hit to center field. There’s not many people that can do that."
Avila, who takes batting practice with Cabrera every day and gets to watch that show in addition to the show during the game, calls Cabrera the best hitter he's ever seen.
"I've seen Miguel do things that are just … not humanly possible for a baseball player and he seems to do it, and every single day, every single year," Avila said. "It's pretty unbelievable."
Of course, the Verlander-Cabrera show overshadowed Fielder's night but he was the one who got things started offensively for the Tigers when his bloop double drove in Ryan Raburn and Cabrera in the first inning for a 2-0 lead.
"We got the big hit there early by Prince to get one in there and knock in a couple and then Miguel took care of the rest of the night," Leyland said. "It was pretty good."
The stars can't come through every night, but on the Fourth of July, they were shining at Comerica Park.