When Justin Verlander had put only a few strokes on the canvas of what became his career masterpiece, Brandon Inge could already tell what type of art the master aimed to make.

"I knew his game plan," said Inge, injured and unavailable, but alert in the Oakland dugout. "He is trying to get strike one and strike two as soon as possible. He wants to keep his pitch count low because he wants to make it through nine innings.

"No knock on the bullpen, but knowing how Verlander is, he wanted a complete game. He didn't want to leave it to the bullpen. His actions were showing me that he was trying to get us to put the ball in play the first couple of pitches."

With two out in the ninth, Verlander got Seth Smith to hit a grounder to second base. Even before Omar Infante picked the ball up, Verlander thrust both arms in the air.

Infante threw out Smith, and Verlander had done something no Tigers pitcher had ever done: throw a complete-game shutout in the clinching game of a postseason series.

Verlander allowed four hits, fanned 11 and beat the A's, 6-0, in the decisive Game 5 of the division series at the raucous Coliseum. He threw 122 pitches. His "low on fuel" light never came on.