Verlander joins Lolich as only Tigers with 2,000 K's

Righty strikes out 10 over 7 1/3 solid innings in win over Twins

May 18th, 2016

DETROIT -- Justin Verlander became the second Tigers pitcher in history with 2,000 career strikeouts when he fanned Minnesota's Eddie Rosario in the fourth inning for his seventh strikeout in Wednesday's 6-3 win over the Twins.

As Verlander walked off the mound in the eighth inning, a video popped up on the left-field video board showing his milestones and memorable highlights during his 10-plus years with the Tigers.

Verlander walked to the top step of the dugout and tipped his cap to the fans giving him a standing ovation.

"Man, the first strikeout that they showed against [Travis] Hafner, I looked pretty doggone young," Verlander said. "A lot of great moments along the way. A lot of great moments in this stadium in front of these fans. A lot of great seasons. It really kind of brings all that back to the forefront pretty quickly."

Verlander fanned nearly half of the first 16 batters he faced Wednesday, including Rosario and Miguel Sano in each of their first two plate appearances. In the process, Verlander joined Mickey Lolich as the only Tigers in the 2,000-strikeout club. Verlander is the 76th Major League pitcher to reach the mark. Lolich racked up 2,679 strikeouts in his Tigers career.

Verlander went 7 1/3 innings with 10 strikeouts, six hits, three walks, and three earned runs.

He has gone at least seven innings in each of his last three starts. Verlander said he has slowly been feeling better about his performances as the season has gone on.

"I felt really close a bunch of times early in the season," he said. "There were a couple pitches here and there that were costing me. So I just had to refine it a little bit, and the last three have been good."

Verlander said he is looking to keep up his consistency while trying to save the bullpen arms as much as possible.

Cameron Maybin recalled seeing Verlander throwing in the upper-90s back during his first stint with the Tigers.

"It's special. As long as this game has been around, he's only like the [76th] guy to ever do that," Maybin said. "It says a lot about how special he is. He deserves everything he has accomplished."

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was behind the plate Wednesday for the Tigers.

"I definitely helped him with that," Saltalamacchia said. "I'm expecting maybe a Casio watch out of that."

Saltalamacchia struck out 11 times in 18 at-bats against Verlander before joining the Tigers this season.

Wednesday's 10-strikeout performance was the second outing of the season with double-digit whiffs for Verlander, and the 31st time in his career he's done that. He now has 60 strikeouts in 2016.