Plenty of pitchers would be more than pleased to have Justin Verlander 's numbers, but they're not nearly good enough for the former AL MVP.
He has nothing to scoff at when it comes to his recent outings against the Oakland Athletics , though.
Verlander seeks to win a seventh consecutive start against visiting Oakland on Tuesday night while helping the Detroit Tigers bounce back from a loss in the series opener.
Verlander (12-9, 3.68 ERA) allowed six runs and 10 hits in seven innings of Detroit's 7-6 loss to Minnesota on Thursday to mark the seventh start he's given up at least five runs, which hasn't happened since he did so nine times in 2009.
The right-hander is on pace for his worst ERA since finishing with a 4.84 mark while going 11-17 in 2008.
"It has been a real grind for me all season," Verlander said. "When you look at my numbers and then look at my record, you realize it could be a lot worse."
Verlander's recent starts against the A's, though, couldn't have gone much better. He's won the last six, including Game 1 and Game 5 of last season's Division Series, while posting a 0.63 ERA.
He gave up one run and three hits in six innings of a 7-3 road victory April 13 over Oakland, which had lost four of five prior to winning 8-6 in the opener of this four-game set Monday.
The A's (73-57) trail Texas by a slim margin in the AL West, though they hold a two-game edge on Cleveland for the league's second wild-card spot. Coco Crisp went 3 for 6 with a solo homer - his fourth in five games - while also contributing a diving catch in the bottom of the eighth as Detroit was attempting to rally.
Crisp, who didn't play in Verlander's last start against the A's, is hitting .364 in the regular season off him.
"They were swinging the bats good, and we didn't pitch good," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Our pitchers have been terrific, but they got beat. No big deal."
Victor Martinez went 4 for 5 and Miguel Cabrera homered for the third time in four games, a two-run shot for his 43rd of the season. The AL Central-leading Tigers (77-54) were coming off a three-game sweep of the New York Mets over the weekend.
Detroit looks to bounce back against Oakland starter Tommy Milone , who may need a solid outing to avoid being sent to the bullpen.
Milone (9-9, 4.30) was demoted to Triple-A after giving up six runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings of an 8-3 loss to Texas on Aug. 2, and his return to the club didn't go much better Aug. 18. He allowed three runs - one earned - and six hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-3 win over Cleveland.
The left-hander was recalled after Bartolo Colon went on the disabled list, though he's in danger of being placed in a relief role.
"Getting sent down obviously isn't something I wanted to happen, but it's kind of eye-opening," Milone said. "I just have to go out there and take it one game at a time, and hopefully they stick with me."
Milone has been solid against the Tigers, going 1-0 with a 2.55 ERA in three career starts. His last outing versus Detroit was in Oakland's 5-4 walkoff loss in Game 2 of the ALDS, when he gave up one run and struck out six in six innings.
|August 26, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|August 25, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Right wrist|
|August 21, 2013||Derek Norris||15-Day DL||Fractured left big toe|
|August 14, 2013||Bartolo Colon||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|August 11, 2013||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Left wrist|
|July 25, 2013||John Jaso||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 24, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|August 17, 2013||Omar Infante||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back stiffness|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 31, 2013||Miguel Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Strained lower abdomen|
|July 31, 2013||Luis Marte||15-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
|July 25, 2013||Torii Hunter||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore left Achilles|
DETROIT (AP) -- Tommy Milone pitched five innings Tuesday night and walked away with a complete-game victory.
Not bad at all.
Milone settled down after a slow start and Brandon Moss hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Justin Verlander , leading the Oakland Athletics to a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in a game cut short by rain.
Seth Smith hit a leadoff homer in the sixth, and Oakland had the bases loaded with no one out when the tarp was pulled on the field due to the weather. It was called after an 80-minute delay.
Milone (10-9) allowed three runs in the first, and then pitched four scoreless innings. The left-hander improved to 2-2 with a 4.97 ERA in his last six starts.
"I've had some five-inning complete games in the minors, but I've never had one in the majors," Milone said. "That was a nice break."
Oakland manager Bob Melvin thought about going to closer Grant Balfour when the rain picked up in the fifth inning. But Milone retired the top of Detroit's lineup in order.
"I was thinking about that, because it was really starting to rain hard, and I knew the forecast wasn't good," he said. "I was going to go to the bullpen pretty quickly if Tommy got into trouble."
Detroit dropped its second straight game, but the biggest concern was another sluggish outing for Verlander (12-10), who was charged with four runs, three earned, and four hits in five innings.
The right-hander, who won the AL Cy Young Award and MVP honor in 2011, is 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA in his last four starts. But the Tigers have a comfortable lead in the AL Central and Verlander is hoping to use the next month to figure out what's wrong.
"My deadline right now is the playoffs," he said.
Verlander and Milone each got off to a slow start, combined for 78 pitches during a 45-minute first inning.
Oakland pushed across two runs before Verlander recorded an out. Coco Crisp had a leadoff walked and Josh Donaldson singled. The runners moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Jed Lowrie 's bloop double to right.
Seth Smith had a two-out walk before Verlander retired Alberto Callaspo for the final out. The 44 pitches for Verlander were the most he had ever thrown in an inning.
"Even in that inning, there were times that I felt like I had really good stuff, but I couldn't control it," Verlander said. "I'd get in a rhythm for a couple pitches, and then get out of sync again."
The game was tied before Milone got an out. With a steady rain beginning to fall, Detroit's first four batters reached. Prince Fielder had a two-run single, and Miguel Cabrera came home when Omar Infante 's routine grounder to second went under Callaspo's glove for an error.
Milone then shut down Detroit for the rest of the night.
"I don't exactly know what changed, but something worked," he said. "I couldn't get comfortable in the first inning, especially from the stretch, but once I got back into the windup in the second, I was able to go after guys."
Verlander ran into more trouble when Moss walked with two out in the third and hustled around to score on Yoenis Cespedes ' tying double down the left-field line on an 0-2 pitch.
The Athletics struck again with two out in the fifth. Moss hit a drive to center for his 22nd homer.
"That was probably the hardest rain I've ever pitched in," Verlander said. "I thought I could grip a changeup, but it came out flat and he crushed it."
Bruce Rondon replaced Verlander in the sixth, and Smith hit his second pitch over the scoreboard in right-center for a 6-3 lead. The next three batters reached on two singles and a walk, but then the rain became too heavy for play to continue.
"That worked out really well for us, because we didn't have to use the bullpen," Melvin said. "We did a great job against Verlander - we were patient and we were able to really boost his pitch count. We only got the two runs in the first, but we made him throw 40-some pitches, and that's probably why we were able to add on in the later innings."
Rondon had been checked by trainer Kevin Rand earlier in the inning, and appeared to be favoring his right leg as he came off the field.
NOTES: The Tigers activated C Alex Avila from the concussion disabled list and optioned C Bryan Holaday to Triple-A Toledo. ... Detroit had been hoping to get reliever Octavio Dotel (elbow) back by Sept. 1, but he had to leave Tuesday's rehab outing with Toledo after being hit by a comebacker from the first batter he faced. ... Melvin confirmed Bartolo Colon (groin) will start Thursday afternoon against Detroit. Brett Anderson (foot) is also close to returning from the disabled list, but will go to the bullpen when he is activated.