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Tigers 5, White Sox 0: Game slips away on one pitch

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Gavin Floyd's evening was on the line when he faced Victor Martinez with one out, runners on the corners and clinging to a salvageable 1-0 deficit. He put Martinez's back against the wall with two strikes, but Martinez battled back. He took two out of the zone, fouled off three pitches, and then laid off a good curve in the dirt to work the count full.

On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Floyd threw a pretty weak slider. Martinez responded by becoming the opposite of weak, unloading on the get-me-over pitch and putting it over the picnic benches in right.

Forget a victory -- a chance at even a mildly tense loss evaporated in that one swing of the bat, because Justin Verlander was on the mound. He didn't have his best stuff, but that doesn't necessarily mean much for a guy like Verlander, because his panic move is a 101-mph fastball. He had to turn to it in the second inning instead of the seventh, but that didn't really change the results. Verlander threw seven innings, allowing six hits and pair of walks, striking out six.

Oddly enough, Brent Morel drew both walks, and he was the only player who had a night he could be proud of at the plate, because when Verlander made him swing the bat in the seventh, he split the left-center gap for his 16th double of the year.

Verlander might've been smart to take the bat out of Morel's hands in his first two tries, because Gordon Beckham didn't provide much protection. He went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, including a questionable called third strike with the bases loaded in the fourth.

That was one of three prime opportunities the Sox let go to waste. Dayan Viciedo hit a blistering grounder with runners on the corners and one out in the first -- but it was right at Wilson Betemit, who started an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

And when Verlander gave way to Joaquin Benoit in the eighth, Benoit loaded the bases with a walk, a single and a walk to bring Tyler Flowers to the plate. Flowers struck out on a high fastball, and the Sox finished the night 0-for-6 in the clutch, marking their second straight hitless game with runners in scoring position.

The Tigers weren't much better, going 1-for-11 in such situations ... except Martinez made his count for three.


*Detroit scored their other two runs thanks to defensive generosity on behalf of the White Sox. Miguel Cabrera scored on an bouncer to second with the infield halfway because Beckham double-clutched. Later on, Delmon Young scored from first when Juan Pierre couldn't corral Cabrera's double to the corner.

*Addison Reed pitched a scoreless inning, striking out Cabrera with a fastball.

Record: 73-74 | Box score | Play-by-play