If an entire division could give up, the American League Central in 2011 would be the closest thing to it.
Justin Verlander won his major league-leading 23rd game and the Detroit Tigers ripped off their 11th straight win in a 5-0 victory over Chicago. All 11 victories have come against Central Division squads.
Verlander (23-5) went seven innings, giving up no runs on six hits and pushed his season earned run average down to 2.36. He won his 11th straight start, maching Hal Newhouser’s 1946 feat; Detroit as a team last won 11 in a row back in September of 1968.
Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer in the sixth to tack onto a 1-0 lead, and Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, also walking twice for Detroit.
Cabrera’s second walk of the game was a costly one for White Sox starter Gavin Floyd (12-11), who intentionally put the slugger on to get to Martinez. With Will Rhymes at second base on a lead off double, Martinez worked Floyd for a nine-pitch at-bat and belted a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall to give Detroit a 4-0 lead.
Texas beat Cleveland on Tuesday as well, pushing the Tigers’ magic number for clinching the division down to four. Any combination of Tigers wins and losses by the second place team equaling four will win the division for Detroit.
The win leaves Detroit 1 1/2 games behind Boston for second place overall in the American League and temporarily four back of New York (who is playing in Seattle Tuesday night) for the top record in the league.