Tigers 7, Phillies 4
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Justin Verlander nearly went from a no-hitter in one start to a no-win situation in the next.
Then Detroit came through in a pinch to get Verlander off the hook.
Verlander lost his bid for another no-hitter early and watched the Tigers come through late, scoring five runs in the seventh to rally and beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 on Sunday.
“I didn’t treat it differently than any other start,” Verlander said.
The Tigers used three pinch-hitters in the seventh, including Gary Sheffield, who hit for Verlander and knocked in a run off Geoff Geary (1-2) that cut it to 3-2. Craig Monroe and Magglio Ordonez followed with consecutive two-RBI hits to complete the rally for a 6-3 lead.
Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 17th save.
Verlander (8-2) who no-hit Milwaukee and struck out 12 on Tuesday night, allowed a one-out single to Abraham Nunez in the second inning to end any possibility of becoming the second pitcher to throw no-hitters in two straight starts.
Johnny Vander Meer is still the only “JV” to throw back-to-back no-hitters.
“I didn’t want to have any of that on my mind,” Verlander said. “I just wanted to win the game.”
Verlander kept his fastball humming in the high 90s throughout his six-inning stint, striking out six with two walks. He gave up seven hits and three runs.
Two of those hits were by Phillies starter Adam Eaton. Eaton had an RBI single in the sixth that made it 3-1 and he seemed poised to beat the Tigers with his arm and bat. Eaton gave up a run in the first, then settled down and was effective over the next five innings.
Then everything went wrong for the Phillies.
“If the ball was down a little bit, it might have been a groundball double play,” Geary said. “I was trying to minimize the damage as much as possible.”
Instead, he gave up the hit that put some steam in the rally.
Exit Zagurski, enter Yoel Hernandez. That made it four different pitchers for four straight batters.
He walked Placido Polanco to load the bases, then Craig Monroe knocked a full-count pitch off Nunez’s glove for a two-RBI single. Ordonez lined a pitch to right for his major-league best 33rd double and a 6-3 lead.
“In the last couple of years in that kind of situation, I’ve learned to relax,” Monroe said. “I was just glad I was able to come through.”
Then came the sound as familiar in Philly as the vendors shouting “Hot dogs!”
The fans weren’t the only ones angry and it showed after the Phillies made it an unusual 1-2-3 eighth.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was ejected by plate umpire Bill Welke in and manager Charlie Manuel was tossed moments later. Third base coach Steve Smith argued from the dugout and was thrown out by first base ump Laz Diaz. Smith sprinted from the steps toward the umps and had to be restrained by Manuel.
Manuel said he protested a check swing on a called ball that Welke never checked with Diaz on for another opinion. Ruiz said he was angry over some of Welke’s calls and was tossed when he started complaining.
“I said a couple of bad words,” Ruiz said. “In English.”
Verlander’s no-hit luck ran out in the second. He walked Aaron Rowand and hit Greg Dobbs. Then Nunez lined a run-scoring single that tied the game at 1. Eaton added an infield single to load the bases with two outs, but Jimmy Rollins struck out swinging to end the threat.
The Tigers went up in the first on Ordonez’s RBI single to center. Guillen’s RBI single in the eighth off Hernandez made it 7-3.
“It was a tough loss, but we didn’t play bad,” Rowand said. “We just didn’t get the ‘W’ at the end of the day.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland originally wanted to give C Ivan Rodriguez the day off. But Leyland said Rodriguez insisted that he play on Father’s Day and instead will take a day off on Tuesday. … A crowd of 45,537 was the eighth sellout at Citizens Bank Park this year and the second-largest crowd in the stadium’s four-year history. Some of the fans in the first few rows outside the open air press box cheered that announcement. … Rowand left the game in the eighth with cramping in his left leg.