One big inning gives Byrd win No. 100
Blake doubles in two as Indians bring down Verlander, Tigers
DETROIT -- Paul Byrd's 10-year-old son, Colby, has little in common with his old man.Sure, Colby is a pitcher on his Little League team in suburban Cleveland, and he puffs his cheeks out when he delivers the ball, just like his dad. But the comparisons end there. "He's a big strikeout guy," Byrd said of his son. "He's a little wild. He gives up some walks and strikes some people out." Colby, though, was in attendance when Byrd and the Indians beat the Tigers, 4-2, in the opener of a four-game set Friday night at Comerica Park. So perhaps he learned a thing or two from his pop about the value of an efficient, well-pitched effort. That's the type of effort Byrd turned in on a night in which his offense got him one big inning of support against Tigers ace Justin Verlander. And Byrd's effort was rewarded in the form of his 100th career victory -- a mark that did not go unnoticed by the veteran right-hander. "Greg Maddux isn't feeling any heat or anything," Byrd joked of the game's active career wins leader. "But for me, it's a big deal. For me to win 100 games after starting out as a reliever for four years, getting hurt, getting released, getting claimed off waivers, moving around with different teams ... it's really nice for me." It was nice for the Indians, too, because this is a telltale type of series for two clubs who were expected to battle atop the American League Central standings this season. Instead, they find themselves merely fighting to survive in a division led by the surprising White Sox and Twins. The Indians' survival efforts went a little further on this night. Early on, they were merely trying to survive against the hard-throwing Verlander, who no-hit them his first time through the lineup. "When a guy throws that hard and has his changeup working and is throwing a hard breaking ball," manager Eric Wedge said, "you have to be disciplined, and focus to find a pitch to hit." The Indians found those pitches in the fourth. And they also knew which pitches to lay off, which was the real key to a three-run outburst. With one out, Ryan Garko walked, Jhonny Peralta singled and David Dellucci walked to load the bases. Casey Blake took advantage of a curveball that stayed up in the zone and lofted it into left field for a two-run double to break a scoreless tie.
|"For me to win 100 games after starting out as a reliever for four years, getting hurt, getting released, getting claimed off waivers, moving around with different teams ... it's really nice for me."|
|-- Paul Byrd|
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.