Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland was asked before the American League Division Series finale which pitchers were available in his bullpen. “Verlander” Leyland answered. He wasn’t kidding. Justin Verlander put on another pristine playoff performance blanking the Oakland A’s over eight innings in Game 5 of the ALDS in a 3-0 win on Thursday night in Oakland. And he did it one day shy of last year’s shutout against the A’s under nearly the same circumstances. Verlander didn’t allow his first hit until the seventh inning. He allowed two total striking out 10 with one walk. Oakland hitters couldn’t touch the righty all night long and when hobbled third baseman Miguel Cabrera touched rookie Sonny Gray for a two-run home run in the third inning Verlander had all the run support he would need. With the win Detroit advances to the American League Championship series against the Boston Red Sox which opens on Saturday night at Fenway Park in Boston. It is the first time the two charter members of the American League will meet in the postseason. At 111 pitches Verlander was pulled after eight innings. Joaquin Benoit picked up the save in the ninth inning. After being stymied by Gray in Game 2 the Tigers chased him after five-plus innings on Thursday night. Gray allowed two runs both on the Cabrera home run. He gave up eight hits walked four batters and struck out three. Cabrera’s blast went over the left-field wall at O.co Coliseum. It was his first home run of the postseason and the first since Sept. 17. With another game of mastery against the A’s Verlander passed Christy Mathewson’s record of 28 straight scoreless innings against them in postseason play. He hasn’t allowed a run in the postseason.
Verlander masterful again; Tigers on to ALCS
Detroit Free Press | Oct 11