Tigers 9, White Sox 3

Justin Verlander struck out A.J. Pierzynski and headed toward

the dugout, and his team’s head trainer saved the ball for him.

It was his 1,000th strikeout.

”I had no idea,” the Detroit ace said. ”I’m not really one to

follow statistics like that, so I’m glad somebody was paying


Verlander pitched seven impressive innings through a misty rain,

and Ryan Raburn drove in four runs to lead the Tigers over the

Chicago White Sox 9-3 on Friday night. Verlander reached his

milestone with his eighth strikeout of the game – against his final

batter before he left after seven innings.

”The combination of Verlander and the weather is pretty

tough,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. ”It’s a cold, wet

night and we’re going against a guy who is hitting 97, 98 (mph) on

his fastball and 84 on his changeup. There aren’t too many like


Verlander (2-2) allowed four hits, including two home runs by

Carlos Quentin and another by Paul Konerko. He didn’t walk a


Raburn hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, who have won seven

straight over the White Sox.

Chicago has lost eight of its past nine overall. Mark Buehrle

(1-2) went 5 2-3 innings, allowing six runs and eight hits. He

struck out five and walked two.

Detroit scored two runs each in the second and third, and

Verlander retired the first 11 Chicago batters before Quentin hit

his first of two long home runs, an estimated 427 feet over the

left-field wall.

”It’s nice to have a lead – four, five, six runs – as a

starting pitcher,” Verlander said. ”You can go out there and try

to be a little bit more aggressive with your fastball and try to

get some quick outs.”

Verlander breezed through spring training with a 0.96 ERA,

determined to avoid another rough start after enduring difficult

Aprils in past years. He threw 117 pitches Friday, laboring only

after Detroit had taken a big lead.

The start of the game was delayed 12 minutes because of rain,

but that didn’t seem to bother Verlander. He struck out Juan Pierre

to begin the night, and Detroit broke through early against

Buehrle. After Miguel Cabrera singled in the second, Jhonny Peralta

hit a triple past a diving Alex Rios in right-center. Peralta

scored on Brennan Boesch’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

Raburn’s homer in the third doubled the lead.

Rain was clearly visible up near the light fixtures in the third

and remained throughout the rest of the game, although it was never

hard enough for another delay.

Alex Avila’s RBI double in the fourth made it 5-1, and Avila

doubled and scored on a single by Casper Wells in the sixth.

”Where I’m at with our lineup, whoever’s left on base, I’ve

just got to try and get them in and at least do my part,” said

Avila, who hit eighth Friday.

Quentin led off the seventh with his sixth homer of the season,

this one a 409-footer. Konerko followed with a shot to left that

might have gone just as far had it not hit the pole to make it 6-3.

Verlander recovered and eventually struck out the last two batters

of the inning, getting Pierzynski swinging for No. 1,000.

”That’s a very powerful club. They’re going to obviously hit a

lot of home runs,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ”The key is

to keep people off the base, so they’re not three-run homers,

two-run homers.”

Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth for the Tigers, and Detroit

added three more runs in the bottom of that inning on an RBI double

by Wells and a two-run single by Raburn.

Although the save situation was long gone, closer Jose Valverde

worked the ninth.

Notes: It was Quentin’s 11th career multihomer game. … Cabrera

made a diving stop on Omar Vizquel’s grounder behind first base and

flipped the ball to Verlander to end the top of the sixth. …

Quentin has 24 hits this season, 17 of which went for extra