Verlander, Tigers victorious in opener vs. TwinsPublished 8:51am Friday, July 22, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS — Justin Verlander gave up a triple to start the second inning of a scoreless game, a tricky situation for any pitcher to escape. Except, well, for him.
Verlander threw eight dominant innings, Jhonny Peralta drove in three runs with three hits and the Detroit Tigers beat Minnesota 6-2 on Thursday night for their 10th straight win over the Twins.
Brennan Boesch hit a two-run homer, and Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Peralta — batting fourth, fifth and sixth — were all over Twins starter Carl Pavano (6-7) in the first game of another important four-game series in the four-team AL Central race.
But the offensive production from the middle of the lineup was merely piling on, the way Verlander (13-5) was whipping fastballs and snapping sliders across the plate.
He gave up five hits and one run without a walk, striking out nine.
“Five or six runs for Verlander,” Boesch said, “is like 10 or 12 for anyone else.”
The Tigers moved a half-game ahead of idle Cleveland in the division while the fourth-place Twins fell six games back.
“Where we’re at in the division, every game is important,” Verlander said. “It’s good to get Game One. Hopefully we get three more and get out of here.”
The Tigers teed off on Pavano, who lost only once in his previous eight starts but wasn’t fooling anyone this time.