Verlander strong as Tigers close out A's, head to ALCS again

7:33 AM, Oct 11, 2013   |    comments
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Oakland, CA ( - Justin Verlander watched the ball skip into center field, walked to the back of the mound and clapped his glove together, calling for it back.

His no-hit bid broken up by Yoenis Cespedes' two-out single in the seventh inning, Verlander went back to work.

The right-hander gave up just two hits in eight shutout innings Thursday night and the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 3-0 to reach the American League Championship Series for the third straight year.

Game 5 of the ALDS was a rematch of Game 2, but this time Verlander (1-0) got the better of A's rookie Sonny Gray.

Miguel Cabrera's first home run in more than three weeks -- a two-run shot in the fourth off Gray (0-1) -- was all the offense Detroit needed with Verlander on the mound.

He struck out 10 and walked one, throwing 76 of his 111 pitches for strikes. and allowed just two singles. With two outs in the ninth, Joaquin Benoit gave up a double to Jed Lowrie and hit Cespedes to bring up the tying run, but Seth Smith flied out to end the game.

The Tigers reached the ALCS for the fourth time in eight seasons. They are the first team to make three straight ALCS appearances since the Yankees won four straight AL pennants from 1998-2001.

They will face the Red Sox on the road in Game 1 Saturday night at Fenway Park in Boston.

The Sports Network

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