Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 7/9/13
DETROIT -- Justin Verlander didn't have his best stuff Tuesday night, but for most of the game, he did a balancing act that would have made Nik Wallenda proud. The ending, though, was something that no one wanted to see. Verlander had struggled all night, allowing eight hits and a walk in the first seven innings, but most of the runners had come with two out and he had limited the damage to one run. That left him fairly confident heading into the eighth, having only thrown 100 pitches. Alex Rios, though, started the inning with a single -- making him the first player to ever get four hits off Verlander in the same game -- and Adam Dunn launched a 3-2 fastball into the right-field stands for a 3-1 Chicago lead. "It was a fastball down and in, just where a lefty likes the ball," Verlander said. "I didn't mean to leave it there, and he did what he does. He might strike out a lot, but he'll get you if you make a mistake." The next two batters singled, and Jim Leyland brought in Al Alburquerque. Two pitches later, it was 6-1 as Dayan Viciedo launched a fastball into the crowd for his second homer of the night. That officially ended Verlander's night with seven one-run innings turning into five runs in seven innings plus four batters. "I wasn't crisp tonight, but that's going to happen in this league, especially at this time of year," he said. "Major-league pitchers have to be able to adjust to that, and I thought I did that for the first seven innings. It just finally bit me in the eighth inning." Verlander said that he was struggling with all of his pitches, but he certainly didn't have the extra speed on his fastball that has been the trademark of his career. Instead of reaching back to hit 100 mph in a late-game situation, he topped out at 94 in the eighth inning, and couldn't break 92 to the final batter. It was still only 3-1 when Verlander left the game, but Detroit's bullpen utterly imploded. The White Sox ended up with 10 runs on 15 hits in the final two innings of the game, winning easily despite late homers by Miguel Cabrera and Don Kelly. "That's not a lot you can say about that game," Leyland said. "They had a great night and beat the crap out of us. Period." Leyland didn't make any excuses -- flatly rejecting suggestions that the team might have been tired after playing the last game of an 11-game road trip on Monday night. "I think Justin battled really hard without his best stuff, the bullpen didn't stop anything and they pitched a nice game," he said. "It was just a blah night." Things got so ridiculous that Rios tied an American League record with six hits in a nine-inning game, getting two in the eighth and another in the ninth. Dunn and Jeff Keppinger, who were a combined 0-5 after the seventh, went 5-5 for with a walk in the last two innings. "You aren't going to win many games when a guy gets six hits off of you," Leyland said. "I think I had six hits in the month of August one time." Leyland was in a laugh-so-you-don't-cry mood after the game, also joking about bringing Kelly in for Matt Tuiasosopo to start the eighth inning. "That was a great move, wasn't it?" he said. "I bring in a defensive replacement, and they score 10 runs in two innings. Unfortunately, they weren't hitting the ball to him." The manager was more serious when he announced that Cabrera was going to skip next week's Home Run Derby. Cabrera appeared to tweak his back in the top of the eighth inning while leaping for an errant throw, then hit a long homer in the bottom of the inning. "I don't think he hurt his back any worse tonight, but he's definitely not 100 percent," he said. "That's why he's not going to be in the home-run contest. I couldn't tell him not to do it, but I talked to him and he talked to the trainers, and on their advice, he's not going to do it. It would be ridiculous to send him out there to take all those giant swings to try to hit home runs." The home run Cabrera hit in the eighth didn't have any impact on the game's outcome, but he did become the first player in Tigers history to hit 29 homers before the All-Star break. Cecil Fielder had 28 on his way to a 51-homer season in 1990.
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