Verlander was able to locate his fastball early, the Tigers' bullpen did its job late and they got just enough offense to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-3, at Chase Field on Monday night.


PHOENIX (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Justin Verlander found something just before his bullpen session that allowed him to pitch better.

Verlander was able to locate his fastball early, the Tigers' bullpen did its job late and they got just enough offense to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-3, at Chase Field on Monday night.

Verlander said he was looking at some pictures of his grips 10 minutes before going out to the field.

"I came across a couple pictures, had nothing to do with my grips, but it was my arm action," Verlander said. "Went out and tried to throw the way I used to throw and immediately when I got on the mound to throw my bullpen to warmup, was able to locate the way that I felt like I should. I wasn't struggling to locate my fastball. I felt pretty easy and that carried over into the game."

Verlander allowed six hits, three walks and three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts for the Tigers.

The Tigers had a 3-0 lead before Verlander gave up his first hit.

Verlander had allowed one walk and no hits over the first three innings before giving up a leadoff single to Aaron Hill in the fourth. Paul Goldschmidt followed with a double to left.

"Hill led off the inning and hit a fastball that was off the plate away, maybe a half an inch to an inch off away," Verlander said. "Then Goldschmidt hit a ball that was down and in just off. Pitches that I wouldn't take back if I could. That happens in a game, but if I'm able to locate my fastball that way, I'll take my chances every time."

With two on and none out, Miguel Montero hit a sharp line drive that deflected off Verlander. Hill came home to score as Ian Kinsler made a good throw to get Montero at first. Mark Trumbo followed with an RBI single to left. With two outs, Martin Prado was credited with a double to left. The ball dropped in and Rajai Davis couldn't handle the ball on the hop. Verlander then intentionally walked Didi Gregorius to load the bases, before getting Arizona starting pitcher Vidal Nuno to ground out to second.

Verlander gave up a solo home run to Gerardo Parra in the sixth inning, which tied the game, 3-3.

Miguel Cabrera broke the tie with an RBI single to center in the seventh inning, which allowed Austin Jackson to score. It was a 425-foot single for Cabrera, who was thrown out as he slid into second after the ball he hit bounced off the center field porch. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus suggested the crew chief review the play to determine whether Cabrera had hit a home run or not. Replay confirmed it was not a home run.

The Diamondbacks stranded the tying run at third in the seventh. With two outs, Verlander gave up a walk to David Peralta. Al Alburquerque replaced Verlander and gave up a line drive single to center to Aaron Hill. With runners on the corners, Goldschmidt grounded into a force.

"It was really important that Alby got us out of that inning," Ausmus said. "(Verlander) had done his job. Again, I wanted Ver to come out with a good taste in his mouth.

"To me, that was a big inning right there."

In addition to the improving to 9-8 this season, Verlander moved past Hal Newhouser in sole possession of third place in career strikeouts in franchise history. Verlander's fourth strikeout of the game – against Goldschmidt in the fifth inning moving him past Hal Newhouser (1,770). Only Mickey Lolich (2,679 from 1963-75) and Jack Morris (1,980 from 1977-90) have more strikeouts for the Tigers.

Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson powered the Tigers to an early lead.

Hunter hit a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw from Nuno, a lefty, to give the Tigers an early lead in the second inning. It was Hunter's 14th home run of the season and gave him 57 RBIs.

Austin Jackson hit a solo home run off Nuno in the top of the third inning to give the Tigers a three-run lead. It was Jackson's fourth home run of the season and first since May 23 against Texas.

Joba Chamberlain had a 1-2-3 eighth inning with one strikeout for the Tigers. Joe Nathan allowed one hit and had one strikeout in the ninth to earn his 20th save.

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