Verlander, Tigers trip Athletics in AL Division Series opener
DETROIT — Justin Verlander allowed a home run to the first batter of the game — and quickly shrugged it off.
This hard-throwing ace doesn't usually hit his stride until a bit later.
Verlander shut down Oakland after that early slip, and Alex Avila homered in the fifth inning to lift the Detroit Tigers over the Athletics, 3-1, on Saturday night in the opener of their best-of-five AL playoff.
Verlander allowed three hits in seven innings and matched his career postseason high with 11 strikeouts. As usual, he seemed stronger in the later innings, striking out the side in the sixth and the first two hitters of the seventh. That made up for Coco Crisp's home run that quieted the Comerica Park crowd just one batter into the game.
“I was a little out of synch but was able to get some outs with guys on base and keep the score at one run,” Verlander said. “The adrenaline got me a little bit early.”
Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth, and Jose Valverde struck out two in a perfect ninth for the save.
Oakland's Jarrod Parker allowed two earned runs in 6 1⁄3 innings and was tagged with the loss.
Game 2 is Sunday, with Doug Fister taking the mound for Detroit and left-hander Tommy Milone for Oakland.
It was only the second victory for Detroit in its last seven series openers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Starting 9: As franchise values soar, do owners hold or sell?
- Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
- MLB commissioner: Pirates’ success starts in the front office
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 8, Blue Jays 3
- About face: Pirates’ Burnett now digging the shifts
- Starting 9: Minor league options can lead to March roster madness
- Reliever Caminero’s chances of making Pirates’ roster heating up
- Forbes: Pirates worth $900 million