OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Justin Verlander struck out 11 in a four-hitter to send the Detroit Tigers back to the AL championship series, beating the Oakland Athletics 6-0 in the decisive Game 5 of their division series Thursday night.
After squandering two chances to clinch the series, including blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead in Game 4, Verlander became Detroit's ultimate closer.
The Tigers will face either the New York Yankees or Baltimore Orioles, tied at 2-all heading into their Game 5 on Friday night in New York. Game 1 of the ALCS is scheduled for Saturday.
Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP, was so sharp nobody in the bullpen ever got up to throw. He struck out 22 in his wins on both ends of this nail-biting series.
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Jonathan Toews is going to play his usual minutes. Corey Crawford will be in goal. The lines will look largely the same.
Joe Mauer homered and had three hits, helping the Minnesota Twins snap a 10-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before Minnesota's Joe Mauer broke it up with a one-out single, and that was the only hit the Detroit right-hander allowed in the Tigers' 6-0 victory over the Twins on Friday night.