Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/3/12
DETROIT Justin Verlander wasn't about to blameMagglio Ordonez for his loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday. After all, it was Ordonez's 2006 homer that took Verlander to the World Seriesand his 2007 catch that ended Verlander's first no-hitter. The Tigers ace simply pointed out that the lengthy ceremony honoring Ordonezwas one of the things that didn't help his effort. The game started severalminutes later than a normal afternoon game, and Derek Jeter hit Verlander'sfirst pitch for a home run. "I don't think I've ever had to wait that long to take the mound at homebefore," Verlander said after the 5-1 loss. "It is what it is, but Ididn't know when to go on to the field. I'd start out there, and then they wereannouncing the lineups, or they were doing the ceremony for the first pitch,and I'd end up back in the dugout." Verlander ended up yielding five runs three earned in 6 13 innings and sufferedhis third consecutive loss. It is the first time that he's lost three starts ina row since 2008, but neither he nor manager Jim Leyland are worried.Verlander's ERA has only been 4.43 during the losing streak better than RickPorcello, Max Scherzer and Jose Valverde have managed for the entire season. "He looked out of sync today, and I think the delay to the start andhaving a new catcher had something to do with that," Leyland said."He's absolutely fine, though. He wasn't out of sync in the last twostarts, and there were reasons today. Pitchers are very regimented at home, andthat six-to-eight-minute delay probably didn't help." Verlander agreed that he and catcher Omir Santos struggled at times it wasthe first time they had worked together in a game but thought the biggestissue of the day was Hunter Wendelstedt's strike zone. "I was uncomfortable right from the start, because pitches that I havebeen practicing every day suddenly weren't strikes," Verlander said."That meant I had to come in more over the plate than I normally do, andthat's a tough thing to do against the Yankees." Verlander walked a season-high four batters and gave up four extra-base hits,including a massive home run by Alex Rodriguez. The ball hit the brick wall inleft-center between Hank Greenberg and Charlie Gehringer's retired numbers, andwas measured at 447 feet longer than either of Miguel Cabrera's rockets onSaturday night. "There were a lot of pitches that I felt could have gone either way, andthat would have seriously changed some important at-bats," Verlander said."To get a strike, I had to throw a hittable pitch, and it was like thatall day." Verlander said that he never gives himself the benefit of the doubt and says itwas "just one of those days," but he and Leyland seemed to blame mostof his performances on outside factors. On another subject, Verlander said something that most fans will agree with.When asked to assess the first third of the season, he summed it up quickly. "Not good at all." HONORING MAGGLIO Although the on-field ceremony honoring Ordonez's retirement may have run a bittoo long for Leyland and Verlander's tastes, the sold-out crowd of 42,419appeared to have a great time. After Ordonez's family was introduced, along with Mike and Marian Ilitch, DaveDombrowski and Leyland, the gate in right field opened and Ordonez walked infrom his old position. He received a standing ovation from the fans, the Tigersand many of the veteran Yankees. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano led theYankees who applauded Ordonez, and they were joined by manager Joe Girardi,Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mark Teixeira and several others. Ordonez was presented with a painting of his walk-off homer in Game 4 of the2006 ALCS, moments after the homer had been shown on the videoboard in leftfield. He made a short acceptance speech, but had talked quite a bit more withthe media two hours earlier. "I'm here to announce my official retirement from baseball, and I want tothank the organization, with special thanks to Mr. Ilitch and Dave, the guyswho brought me here, and Mr. Leyland, who has supported me all theseyears," Ordonez said. "I don't know what else to say. It's been awonderful seven years in this city, having support from the greatest fans inthe world." Leyland choked up while talking about one of his favorite players. "I think the best thing I can say to Magglio is, over the years, not all ofthe players become your friends, but you've become a friend," the skipper said."I thank you for all the wonderful things you did for me, all the respectyou showed me and all the respect you showed your teammates. You'll bemissed."
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