It isn't an official stat, but you have to like Justin Verlander's good start/bad start ratio.

Especially after a good start.

True, there have been a couple of times recently when he's not looked like himself, such as his games in Kansas City and Anaheim, but he was back to being himself in a 4-0 victory on Friday night over the Cleveland Indians.

And the Tigers' defense?

It would be a stretch to say it was back to being its outstanding self — because it's been outstanding only sporadically this season.

But this was one of those times as the Tigers remained one game out of first in the American League Central.

"We are where we are," Verlander said. "I think we play well under pressure — and the rest of the season will be pressure baseball."

The Indians did not cause constant headaches for Verlander but they did put together a couple of second-and-third chances.

Verlander gets much, but not all, of the credit for shutting both of them down.

With runners on second and third and no outs in the fifth, he retired Matt LaPorta on a feeble tapper back to the mound before striking out Ezequiel Carrera for the second out.

"What I'm thinking there is let's not have a big inning," Verlander said. "So be it if those two score, but I can't afford to walk a bunch of guys."