Milwaukee (37-31) at Detroit (37-31)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Jun 21, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Enjoying his best season since 2007, Justin Verlander(notes) next faces the team that he made the most memorable start of his career against during that breakout year.

On Sunday, Verlander takes the mound against the Milwaukee Brewers for the first time since pitching a no-hitter against them as the Detroit Tigers try to complete a three-game series sweep.

Verlander’s gem came on June 12, 2007 at Comerica Park, where he struck out 12 and walked four in the 4-0 victory. That was one of a career-high 18 wins he would record that season, and his no-hitter was Detroit’s first since Jack Morris in 1984 and the third by any team in interleague history.

After going 11-17 with an ERA of nearly 5 in 2008, Verlander (7-3, 3.39 ERA) has bounced back for the most part. He faltered in his last start, though, losing for the first time since April 17 after giving up five runs and eight hits over four innings of an 11-2 loss against the Cardinals on Tuesday.

The right-hander, who admitted that the St. Louis heat and humidity bothered him, had won his previous seven decisions and had a 1.92 ERA over those 10 starts.

“I think after the first inning, I was just gassed,” he said. “I couldn’t get my legs underneath me. It was a weird feeling.”

The loss was Verlander’s first in interleague play. He is 8-1 with a 2.80 ERA in 11 starts against the NL, and Detroit is 9-2 in those outings.

The Tigers (37-31) are in position for a sweep after an 9-5 win Saturday. Miguel Cabrera(notes) hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Detroit added two runs in the fifth and sixth. The Tigers finished with 17 hits as four players recorded three each.

Detroit has now won three straight with 25 runs scored after a four-game losing streak during which it plated 11. Marcus Thames(notes) is hitting .462 (6 for 13) with three homers and seven RBIs during the last three games, while Cabrera is 5 for 9 in this series.

Milwaukee (37-31), which began this six-game road trip by sweeping a three-game set in Cleveland, has lost eight of 12 overall. Ryan Braun had four hits, including a solo home run Saturday, but the Brewers were 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position.

Starter Dave Bush(notes) only lasted three innings after giving up five runs. That came after Braden Looper(notes) only went 3 2-3 innings the night before.

The Brewers bullpen has pitched 22 1-3 innings during this road trip, going 2-0 with a 7.66 ERA.

“I was hoping that our bullpen could come in early and pitch like they’ve been doing all season, but that didn’t happen,” manager Ken Macha said.

Looking to make a long start in hopes of giving the bullpen a break, Yovani Gallardo(notes) (7-3, 2.93) will make his first career appearance against the Tigers. The right-hander pitched five innings against the Indians on Tuesday, allowing two runs while striking out eight and walking six in the 7-5 victory.

“I tried to be too fine against a patient ballclub,” said Gallardo, who has won three of his last four starts. “Before I knew it, I was throwing, 6, 7, 8 pitches to almost every hitter. But I was able to minimize the damage and our offense came through for a win.”

Gallardo has not allowed more than two runs in any of his last five starts.

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Starting Pitchers

Y. Gallardo Tex vs. J. Verlander Det
13-12 Record 19-9
3.73 ERA 3.45
204 K 269
94 BB 63
1.31 WHIP 1.18


Sunday, Jun 21