Inge HR helps Verlander lead Tigers past Brewers
Settling for another win against Milwaukee would have to do.
In his second start against the Brewers, and with the same plate umpire as in his no-hitter, Verlander pitched into the eighth and Brandon Inge hit a three-run homer to lead the Tigers to a 3-2 win over Milwaukee.
"It was ironic to even have the same home-plate umpire, but you can't go into a game thinking about doing something like that," Verlander said. "That's just something where everything in the world goes your way for a night. Besides, it was all gone pretty quickly."
His only other start against Milwaukee had also been with Ron Kulpa behind the plate. Of course, any thoughts of a repeat ended when Casey McGehee homered with one out in the first.
Verlander, though, didn't allow another run until the eighth inning.
"When I saw him in 2007 with Oakland, he had a fastball and a curveball, and he was pretty good," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. "Now he's got a changeup and a slider. That's how a pitcher takes a step to the next level."
Verlander (8-3) allowed two runs on five hits in 7 2-3 innings. He struck out eight while improving to 8-1 since April 27.
"The way you win in the majors is to have enough hot players to pick up the guys who might not be," Inge said. "Right now, Verlander and (Edwin) Jackson have been carrying us, and there will be a time where we carry them."
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 14th straight save.
Yovani Gallardo (7-4) shut out the Tigers for the first five innings, but allowed Inge's two-out homer to left in the sixth after singles by Miguel Cabrera and Don Kelly.
"That was a great start by Yo — that's as good as we've gotten in a while," Macha said. "He hung a two-out slider and the guy hits a three-run homer. That was about the only thing he did wrong, but we didn't get many chances against the other guy."
Verlander got a break in the top of the fourth when J.J. Hardy hit what looked like a perfect hit-and-run single with two out, but the ball bounced off Mat Gamel's leg for an out.
"He didn't pick up the ball, and you have to do that," Macha said. "When you are running in that situation, you've got to use your other senses, and if you hear the crack of the bat, you have to find the ball."
Before Inge homered, Marcus Thames hit a drive to the deepest part of the park, where Mike Cameron made the catch.
Craig Counsell led off the eighth with a homer, Verlander retired the next two batters before leaving to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd of 41,163.
"That wasn't my best velocity of the season, but I had good life on my fastball, and that was the best changeup I've had all year," he said. "I knew that was going to be a tough team to shut down, and that we probably wouldn't get many runs off Gallardo."
Bobby Seay struck out Prince Fielder to end the inning before giving way to Rodney. Fielder and Ryan Braun were a combined 0 for 8.
"That shows you how good Justin was," Inge said. "That's a team that can easily put up 10 or 15 runs on you, and he held them to two — and don't forget Bobby striking out Prince. That was big."
NOTES: The Tigers optioned rookie reliever Ryan Perry to Triple-A Toledo after the game. They will add a player to the roster before Tuesday's series opener with Chicago. ... Detroit 2B Placido Polanco, who left Saturday's game after being hit in the leg with a pitch, had a previously scheduled day off on Sunday. ... The game was Detroit's first sellout since the home opener. ... Leyland said after the game that he is "looking" at playing Magglio Ordonez on Tuesday, but that he hasn't made a final decision. Ordonez hasn't played since June 17 while battling a season-long power slump.