DETROIT - Fans were promised a pitching duel this afternoon at Comerica Park.
And in the fifth career meeting between Justin Verlander and Chris Sale, a pitching duel is what they got.
The “ace-off” between Verlander and Sale lived up to its billing, with each starter pitching deep into the game. Without his best stuff, Verlander limited the Boston Red Sox to three hits. With his best stuff, Sale overpowered the Detroit Tigers.
But in the eighth inning, Andrew Romine -- a late addition to the lineup -- hit his third double in two games. A couple of batters later, Nick Castellanos singled him home as the game-winning run in a 2-1 win over the Red Sox. Sale, so spectacular, took the loss.
The Tigers took care of business, taking three out of four games from the Red Sox.
Down a run entering the bottom of the sixth and with Sale cruising, Ian Kinsler jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Sale and hit it into the left-centerfield seats for his second home run of the season.
Once again, Verlander’s team got the best of Sale’s. The Tigers have won all five matchups between the two.
Verlander fought his command early on and danced into – and out of – trouble in the second inning. In the second, he allowed a leadoff double to Mitch Moreland before walking Pablo Sandoval. Then Castellanos committed his second error of the season at third base. Verlander escaped the inning with minimal damage, though, inducing a groundball double play and lineout to third base.
Like Jordan Zimmermann on Saturday and Daniel Norris on Sunday, he soon settled in, retiring 11 straight from the fourth inning to the seventh, when he walked Brock Holt with two outs.
With his pitch count over 100, manager Brad Ausmus came out to talk to Verlander, was booed and then was cheered when he left him in the game. Verlander finished his day by retiring Sandy Leon.
He finished with seven innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits. He walked two and struck out four.
It was the fifth time since the start of 2016 in which Verlander allowed one or fewer earned runs over seven-plus innings and didn’t get the win, as researched by Mitch Fick of CBS television in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Verlander was relieved by lefty Justin Wilson, who threw a scoreless eighth inning, and Francisco Rodriguez, who picked up his second save in three chances.
Contact Anthony Fenech: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.
Detroit Free Press