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Big League Stew

The Juice: Verlander owns White Sox, collects 1,000th strikeout

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Nine innings, nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.

1. Got their number: After notching only two wins in his first 13 starts against the Chicago White Sox, Detroit's Justin Verlander is now six for his last six after a dominant 9-3 victory at frigid Comerica Park on Friday night.

Hitting the gun consistently at 97-98, Verlander struck out eight in his seven innings of work. That included the final batter he faced, A.J. Pierzynski, which happened to be career strikeout No. 1,000.

"I had no idea," the Detroit ace said. "I'm not really one to follow statistics like that, so I'm glad somebody was paying attention."

That's precisely what we're here for, Justin. Keep reading.

2. Shattered dreams: Only three outs stood between Florida's Anibal Sanchez and his second career no-hitter. Unfortunately, Colorado's Dexter Fowler broke the bid up with a shattered bat single, just out of the reach of second baseman Omar Infante. That left Sanchez to settle for his second career one-hitter in a 4-1 win over the Rockies, which he gladly accepted.  {YSP:MORE}

3. Errors in the outfield: Dan Haren only allowed five hits in his six innings, but costly errors by outfielders Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells opened the door for the Red Sox to hand him his first loss since Aug. 20, 2010.

Oh, and give a ton of credit to Jon Lester as well. His six scoreless innings extended Boston's starter's streak of allowing two or less runs to seven. That was important because Boston's bullpen needed every inch of wiggle room he afforded them to secure the 4-3 victory.

4. Extra point is up and good: Yovani Gallardo homered and Ryan Braun celebrated his brand new $105 million contract extension with three hits and three RBI in Milwaukee's 14-7 win over Houston. Carlos Gomez, Casey McGehee and Mark Kotsay also contributed three hits a piece for the Crew. At a much cheaper rate, of course.

5. You can predict baseball ... sometimes: San Diego native Cole Hamels shut out the Padres for eight innings in a Phillies 2-0 victory. That's a major league best five shutouts for Philadelphia's staff, and the major league-leading sixth time San Diego has been shut out. Third time in their last five, in fact.

6. Old McDonald had a walk-off: Three days after his squeeze bunt gave Mariano Rivera his first blown save of 2011, Toronto's John McDonald handed Tampa Bay's bullpen their first loss with a two-run walk-off home run. It was the first walk-off tater of his 13 year career and just his 20th overall. Toronto wins 6-4 in 11.

7. Lighting up Francis: Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler, David Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland all homered in the Rangers 11-6 win over Kansas City. Not of all the damage came at the expense of new starter Jeff Francis, but I think this qualifies as his official welcome to the American League, and the Royals official welcome back to reality.

8. Tommy Boy: All Tommy Hanson wanted to do was give his struggling Braves a chance to win. After seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball, he held up his end. And thanks largely to a two-run Chipper Jones double in the fourth, the Braves rewarded his efforts. Braves get a much needed 4-1 victory in San Francisco.

9. Stormy weather: Mother Nature wanted nothing to do with Yankees-Orioles, Indians-Twins or Nationals-Pirates, but despite her best efforts, she couldn't stop the Cardinals from upending the Reds 4-2 in St. Louis. New closer Mitchell Boggs saved his second in a row with an inning and one-third of scoreless relief.

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