Verlander, Tigers halt Dodgers’ six-game win streak
DETROIT — The Los Angeles Dodgers got a reminder of what playoff baseball intensity is like Sunday from Justin Verlander.
Verlander (9-8) pitched no-hit ball through five innings and allowed just two hits in the eight innings he worked while Justin Upton smacked a two-run home run to cap a four-run sixth that helped the scuffling Detroit Tigers end the Los Angeles Dodgers’ six-game winning streak with a 6-1 victory.
“I got up in the morning thinking I would try to take a playoff type intensity into the game,” Verlander said after fanning nine and walking one. “I felt I did not want to let them sweep us.”
“If Justin Verlander’s pitching well, it doesn’t matter (who he’s facing),” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “It could be the ‘27 Yankees. He’s going to pitch well. The numbers are going to look pretty good for ‘Ver’ at the end of the game if he’s pitching like that.”
“He was determined to throw the ball and compete,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “That’s why he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball.
“For him to go eight like that; he’s a stopper.”
Dodgers newcomer Curtis Granderson broke up Verlander’s no-hit bid with two outs in the sixth inning when he lined a down-and-in 2-2 slider off the foul pole in right field for his 20th home run, a drive that was his first homer with Los Angeles.
“I yelled at him,” Verlander said of getting clipped by his ex-teammate. “He knows it was all in jest.”
Daniel Stumpf finished the game for Detroit, giving up one hit in the ninth.
Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda (11-5) lost his perfect game bid when John Hicks led off the sixth with a line single to left center on an 0-1 slider and before the inning ended Detroit scored four for a 4-1 lead.
Andrew Romine lined a double to left center, also on an 0-1 slider, and both scored when Dixon Machado drilled a double to left off third baseman Justin Turner’s glove. Two outs later, Upton hit his 26th home run, a drive into the Detroit bullpen in left off a 1-1 slider.
“I know you want to approach every game the same,” said Verlander, still the subject of trade rumors since he reportedly has cleared waivers. “But it’s tough to match that kind of intensity during the course of a season.”
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run double off the wall in right center with one out in the eighth to make it 6-1. Ian Kinsler had singled off reliever Tony Cingrani and pinch-hitter JaCoby Jones walked, nearly outrunning Kinsler to the plate on Cabrera’s double.
Verlander retired six in a row after Granderson’s home run before Austin Barnes singled to right on a 3-1 pitch with two outs in the eighth.
Verlander and Maeda matched no-hit innings through the fifth. Maeda retired all 15 he faced and Verlander set down the first 13 before walking Yasiel Puig in the fifth. He struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
“I didn’t realize until after the fifth that nobody had a hit,” Roberts said. “Kenta pitched good. He matched him pitch-for-pitch. It all happened so quickly in the sixth.”
“Through the first five,” Verlander said, “it was like playoff baseball in that the margin of error is so slim. Every pitch is so important.”
Maeda lasted six innings, striking out seven without a walk. All the hits and runs he allowed were in the sixth.
Despite having their six-game winning streak ended, the Dodgers have still have won 21 of their last 25 and are 52-10 since June 7.
The Tigers stopped a six-game losing streak but still have dropped eight of 10 and 12 of their last 15.
NOTES: Los Angeles LHP Clayton Kershaw will pitch three simulated game innings Monday. If he comes out of that OK he will begin a minor league rehab assignment. ... Detroit 3B Nicholas Castellanos, whose muff of a popup Saturday led to the first Los Angeles run, was not in the starting lineup. “It’s more about getting Andrew Romine into a game,” manager Brad Ausmus said. ... Dodgers OF/1B Cody Bellinger did not start after suffering a right ankle sprain making a catch against the left field wall on Saturday. Manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger might be able to start Monday in Pittsburgh.