Verlander rebounds after rocky first inning
Right-hander retires 13 straight after allowing five quick runs
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera tripled.
That should tell you all you need to know about what a wacky night it was at Comerica Park on Tuesday.
If that's not enough, try this: Justin Verlander allowed five runs to the Dodgers in the first inning -- and cruised to his eighth win.
Verlander bounced back from the rough start to retire the next 13 straight. His recovery, combined with season highs for runs and hits from the offense gave the Tigers a 14-5 win to start the two-game set vs. Los Angeles.
"I think the big thing is, Justin has a bad first inning, but he walks away from this game with a good taste in his mouth, so to speak," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Despite the fact that it was a rough first inning, he walks away from this game feeling like, 'Hey, we won. The team got a win. I won.'
How Verlander fared each inning
"It's easier to go home and sleep at night knowing that."
At one point Tuesday night, Verlander's ERA climbed above 5.00. He hasn't had an ERA above that mark following a game since April 27, 2010. His ERA eventually fell to 4.84 after hanging zeros for five straight innings on Tuesday.
Verlander allowed his opponents to strike in the first inning for the seventh time this season. Early on, he left balls over the middle of the plate -- right in the wheelhouse for any Major League lineup, let alone one with as much offensive potential as the Dodgers.
"The first innings have been a little bit of an issue," Verlander said.
Against Adrian Gonzalez, Verlander left a changeup up in the zone that first baseman gobbled up for a two-run double. Then, to Juan Uribe, Verlander hung a curveball that Uribe took for a two-run homer.
But it was smooth sailing from there, and the Tigers responded with five runs of their own in the second to tie the game.
According to Verlander, it was crucial for him to have quick innings from that point on in order to keep the offensive in its groove and stay in a rhythm himself.
Verlander threw 31 pitches in the first inning alone and seemed destined for a short night. He responded by needing only eight pitches in the second. All but one of the five hits the Dodgers accumulated against Verlander over his six innings came in the first.
Verlander reviews video of himself in between innings during starts, and when asked what he saw from himself after the first inning, he said simply, "Better pitches."
"As a starting pitcher you have to be able to turn the page. It's nice to get those wins," Verlander said. "You don't want them to happen too often."
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.