CLEVELAND (DETROIT FREE PRESS) — All that tinkering appeared to lead to some positive changes for Justin Verlander.
He matched a season-high eight strikeouts and allowed four hits and one walk over seven innings of work. He allowed two runs, one earned. The two runs were the fewest he's allowed since giving up two runs in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota on May 9.
Verlander had allowed seven earned runs in each of his last two starts and at least five earned runs in six of his last seven starts.
The eight strikeouts matched his previous high, which came in a 6-2 win over the Padres on April 12.
Joe Nathan gave up the tying run with two outs in the ninth. Gomes singled to left to put runners on the corners.
PItching coach Jeff Jones then came out for a mound visit before Nathan pitched to Michael Bourn.
Bourn sent a 93 m.p.h. fastball into left field for an RBI single, tying the game 4-4.
Ian Krol led off the 10th with a single to center and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Jackson. Miguel Cabrera delivered an RBI double off the wall in left-center to take the lead.
Lefty Phil Coke came in to pitch the 10th for the Tigers and struck out left-handed batters Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis. After Carlos Santana singled to left, left-handed hitter Lonnie Chisenhall struck out swinging at a slider. Coke earned his first save of the season and the Tigers won, 5-4.
Verlander had put in extra work this week, which might have explained why his effort ended after seven innings and 100 pitches.
Al Alburquerque came in to pitch the eighth with a 4-2 lead. He hit Michael Bourn with a slider and then gave up an RBI double to Asbrubal Cabrera. Blaine Hardy replaced Alburquerque and got three groundouts.
Victor Martinez drove in the first two runs for the Tigers and Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning. It was Davis' fifth home run of the season.
Martinez continued to pound on his former club, hitting a solo home run in the second inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Martinez drove a 94 m.p.h. fastball by Trevor Bauer an estimated 415 feet to right field for his 19th home run of the season.
J.D. Martinez followed Victor Martinez and singled to left to extend his career-best hitting streak to 11 games.
After Miguel Cabrera doubled on a line drive to left and came home on a line-drive single to center by Victor Martinez, tying the game 2-2 in the sixth. Victor Martinez finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and is hitting .369 (72-for-195) with 21 doubles, nine home runs and 46 RBIs in 53 career games vs. Cleveland.