Verlander does it with bat, arm in Tigers win over Padres
SAN DIEGO -- Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander made the San Diego Padres pay for a decade-old mistake Saturday night.
Verlander, who was passed over by the Padres on the first pick of the 2004 draft, allowed two runs on eight hits over seven innings plus getting the first two hits of his major league career in the Tigers 6-2 win over the Padres before a sellout crowd of 42,182 at Petco Park.
"We had some opportunities early but couldn't cash them in and then he started whipping out his curve in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings," Padres manager Bud Black said of Verlander, who improved to 22-2 with a 2.56 earned run average in 29 career interleague starts.
"He works his way into a game and then drops the hammer," said Yonder Alonso of Verlander. "He's one of the best there is."
The Padres had the first draft in the 2004 draft and took local high school product infielder Matt Bush, who is regarded as one of the worst draft picks in Padres history. The Tigers selected Verlander with the second pick in that draft
Verlander, who was 0-for-26 with 15 strikeouts and no walks in his hitting career entering Saturday's game, singled through the middle in the second and lined a single to right in the fourth to ignite a two-run inning against Padres right-handed starter Ian Kennedy.
"It felt really good to get that out of the way," Verlander said of his first hit. "The guys are just as happy as I am. These guys have given me a hard time for many years about it -- not having a hit -- and every year it's a new joke.
"I'm just glad those guys aren't going to make fun of me anymore. I looked over there and saw all of my teammates cheering."
On his second hit, Verlander had to beat a throw from right fielder Chris Denorfia, who was playing so shallow that he had a play at first.
"I wasn't too happy about that," said Verlander. "You hit it and it's like 'Ah, yes.' And then, 'I've got to get on my horse and beat this out.' He was playing shallow in right, and I hit it hard. "
Verlander and Rajai Davis scored on Torii Hunter's two-run, two-out single to center -- giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead against Kennedy,
Those two runs gave the Tigers a 4-1 lead against Padres starter Ian Kennedy, who allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings to suffer his second loss in as many starts.
The Tigers scored their first run before Kennedy recorded an out. Davis singled to lead off the game and scored on the first of two straight Ian Kinsler doubles.
The Padres tied the game in the bottom of the first as Verlander struggled through a 31-pitch inning. Denorfia singled and stole second and third ahead of Jedd Gyorko's sacrifice fly.
Doubles by Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera in the third gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead that was extended to 4-1 an inning later. Back-to-back singles by Verlander and Davis and a grounder to the right side by Kinsler set the stage for Hunter.
The Tigers last two runs came on center fielder Austin Jackson's bases-loaded, ground-rule double in the top of the ninth.
The Padres scored their second run in the bottom of the fourth on a lead-off double by Chase Headley and a one-out single by catcher Yasmani Grandal.
The Padres won their first challenge in club history Saturday. In the eighth, second base umpire Mike Winters ruled Detroit's Nick Castellanos was safe on Grandal's pick-off throw to second. However, replays conclusively showed that Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera tagged Castellanos out before he got back to second.
Black had attempted one previous challenge April 2 against the Dodgers at Petco Park on a play at first. But the umpires ruled Black took too long to challenge the play.
NOTES: OF Torii Hunter is 13-for-42 lifetime against the Padres with five home runs and 12 RBIs in just 10 games ... The Padres had the first draft in the 2004 draft and took local high school product infielder Matt Bush, who is regarded as one of the worst draft picks in Padres history. The Tigers selected RHP Justin Verlander with the second pick in that draft ... Padres manager Bud Black said LF Carlos Quentin could begin on-the-field activities as soon as Monday or Tuesday. Quentin has been on the disabled list since the end of spring training with a bone bruise to his left knee.