Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Detroit leads 2-0 (as of 5/20)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 19
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Detroit4
Game 2: Wednesday, May 20
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Detroit5
Game 3: Thursday, May 21
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Rangers 3

(23-16, 9-10 away)

Tigers 5

(22-16, 13-5 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 20, 2009

    Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

    123456789 R H E
    TEX 000010110 3 8 1
    DET 01000400 - 5 10 0

    W: J. Verlander (4-2)

    L: M. Harrison (4-3)

    S: F. Rodney (7)

    Verlander solid as Tigers survive triple play to win

    Associated Press

    DETROIT -- Justin Verlander struggled for one inning Wednesday night and that wasn't quite enough for the Texas Rangers.

    After not allowing a hit for the first four innings, the Detroit Tigers' ace threw 41 pitches in the fifth. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the last one became a bases-loaded groundout by David Murphy, allowing Verlander to escape with the score tied at 1.

    Fast Facts

    • Justin Verlander won his fourth straight decision, throwing six innings, allowing just one earned run while striking out eight.

    • Brandon Inge went 2-for-4 with his 11th home run for the Tigers.

    • The Rangers lost for just the second time in nine games.

    -- ESPN Stats & Information

    Detroit, which hit into a triple play in the fourth inning, scored four times in the sixth, starting with a solo homer by Wilkin Ramirez in his major league debut, and the Tigers went on to a 5-3 win, their fifth straight.

    "That fifth inning killed my pitch count, but I think it was the turning point of the game that I got out of it with only one run," Verlander said. "That gave the offense a chance to break it open."

    Verlander acknowledged his preparation leading to the fifth was a little rushed after the Rangers brought abruptly ended the bottom of the fourth with their first triple play since 2002.

    "I'm usually ready for a team to turn an inning-ending double play, but I didn't even think about them doing that," he said.

    Verlander (6-3) gave up one run and walked two to improve to 4-0 with a 1.02 ERA in his last five starts. He did fall short of becoming the first pitcher in Tigers history to strike out 10 or more batters in four straight starts, finishing with eight.

    "There were a lot of positives again tonight," Verlander said. "I was aware of the strikeout record, but I wasn't trying to do anything special. I haven't tried anything special the last three games, and that's how I've gotten double digits."

    Matt Harrison (4-3) took the loss, allowing five runs and nine hits in five-plus innings.

    Three Detroit relievers finished, with Fernando Rodney pitching the ninth for his seventh save in as many opportunities.

    The Tigers took a 1-0 lead on Ryan Raburn's third homer in the second inning, and they threatened in the fourth when Brandon Inge led off with a double and Raburn walked.

    The runners broke on a 1-0 pitch to Gerald Laird and he lined out to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who flipped to Elvis Andrus. The shortstop stepped on the base, doubling off Inge, then tagged Raburn. Kinsler could have turned an unassisted triple play, but said that he didn't realize it in time.

    "Elvis was screaming for the ball, so I got it to him before I saw where the runners were," Kinsler said. "Something like that is just complete luck. They've got the hit-and-run on, and he hits a line drive right at me. You can't really plan something like that."

    It was the third triple play in the majors this season.

    After the Rangers tied the game in the fifth, Ramirez led off the sixth with a 433-foot homer into the shrubs above the fence in center field.

    "Before the game, I was wondering how great it would be if I could hit a home run for my first hit, so I couldn't believe it when I did it," said Ramirez, who had struck out in his first two at-bats. "As soon I as hit the ball, I knew it was gone."

    Miguel Cabrera followed with a single and Inge made it 4-1 with his 11th homer before the Tigers added a run in the inning on a wild pitch by Jason Jennings. The Rangers cut the deficit to 5-2 in the seventh when Nelson Cruz homered on Brandon Lyon's first pitch.

    Game notes


    Verlander has struck out 52 batters in 35 1/3 innings over his last five starts. ... The last Tiger to homer in his major league debut was Reggie Sanders in 1974. ... Texas OF Josh Hamilton (groin) took batting practice and ran the bases Wednesday, but did not start. He flied out to left as a pinch hitter in the ninth. "We would have had to run for him if he had gotten on, but he's close," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow." ... Rangers RHP Frank Francisco (biceps) had no discomfort while throwing a simulated game Wednesday. ... After the game, the Tigers announced that LHP Nate Robertson (back) would be activated from the DL on Thursday and LHP Luke French would be optioned to Triple-A Toledo.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Game Information

    StadiumComerica Park, Detroit, MI
    Attendance23,417 (56.8% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time2:35
    Weather81 degrees, clear
    Wind15 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Scott Barry, First Base - Angel Hernandez, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Tim Welke