Up­ton grand slam leads Tigers to win

Tigers ace gets an­other farewell in last start be­fore non-waiver trade dead­line

Windsor Star - - FRONT PAGE - DAVE HOGG

DETROIT Justin Ver­lan­der is prob­a­bly still go­ing to be a Detroit Tiger on Mon­day evening.

The Comer­ica Park crowd gave him a farewell just in case.

In his last start be­fore Mon­day’s trade dead­line, Ver­lan­der (6-7) pitched six shutout in­nings in a 13-1 win over the Hous­ton Astros. He gave up five sin­gles and three walks while strik­ing out six.

The sub­ject of trade ru­mours since last win­ter, Ver­lan­der re­ceived a long stand­ing ova­tion from the crowd of 31,970 when he walked off the mound after the sixth in­ning. He tipped his hat be­fore en­ter­ing the dugout.

“I didn’t tip my hat when the fans did that on Mon­day and I felt bad about it be­cause you never know what is go­ing to hap­pen,” he said. “I wanted to get an­other chance to do it just in case this is it. The fans here have al­ways had my back and I wanted to show them I ap­pre­ci­ated it.”

It wasn’t the last time the fans had a rea­son to cheer. The Tigers only led 3-0 when Ver­lan­der left, but scored 10 runs in the last three in­nings.

“It was great to see our bats come alive like that,” Tigers man­ager Brad Aus­mus said. “We needed that.”

Justin Up­ton matched a ca­reer best with six RBIs for the Tigers, who handed the Astros their first back-to-back losses since June 12 and 13.

“They might be the best team in the Amer­i­can League, but for the last two days we were the best team on the field,” he said.

Up­ton had four hits, including a sev­enth-in­ning grand slam, and scored twice.

Lance McCullers Jr. (7-3), whose dad pitched for the Tigers in 1990, al­lowed five runs on eight hits in five-plus in­nings.

“I’m not where I need to be,” he said. “I’ve gone out there the last cou­ple times and put the team in a bad hole.”

Hous­ton first base­man Tyler White pitched the eighth, al­low­ing a two-run homer to James McCann in his sec­ond ca­reer pitch­ing per­for­mance.

“Our bullpen is not in a good spot right now,” Astros man­ager A.J. Hinch said. “We’re beat up and we’re hav­ing to wear it a bit.”

Ver­lan­der stranded eight bat­ters in the first four in­nings, but needed 90 pitches to do it. McCullers was al­most as good, only al­low­ing one of eight runners to score and leav­ing the bases loaded in the fourth.

Ver­lan­der was per­fect in the fifth and sixth in­nings, need­ing just 20 pitches.

“When he senses the mo­ment, he can still dial up the ve­loc­ity,” Hinch said. “He still com­petes as well as any­one in the league and he won some big bat­tles with our best hit­ters.”

De­spite all the noise, Aus­mus ex­pects he’ll still have Ver­lan­der on his ros­ter Tues­day.

“It’s com­plex to make a trade with some­one who has a no-trade clause and we’re only 24 hours from the dead­line at this point,” he said, adding: “Salary is al­ways an is­sue.”

The Tigers broke through in the sec­ond on an RBI sin­gle by Jose Igle­sias. Miguel Cabr­era made it 2-0 with an RBI dou­ble in the fifth and he later scored on McCann’s sin­gle.

Mikie Mah­took added an RBI dou­ble in the sixth and Up­ton fol­lowed with a two-run dou­ble to put the Tigers up 6-0.

The Tigers added five runs off Tony Sipp in the sev­enth, including Up­ton’s sixth ca­reer grand slam.

Alex Breg­man ended the shutout with a solo homer in the ninth. Hous­ton’s streak of 60 games with a dou­ble came to an end.

Up next, Detroit leaves on a three-city, nine-game road trip that be­gins Mon­day at Yan­kee Sta­dium. Michael Ful­mer (10-8, 3.35 ERA) will face New York’s Luis Sev­erino.

I didn’t tip my hat when the fans did that on Mon­day and I felt bad about it be­cause you never know what is go­ing to hap­pen.


The Tigers’ Justin Ver­lan­der, who has been the tar­get of trade ru­mours, pitched six shutout in­nings in a 13-1 win over the Astros Sun­day in Detroit.


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