PHOENIX — Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson homered, Justin Verlander moved into third place on Detroit’s career strikeout list and the Tigers opened their interleague series in Arizona by beating the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Monday night.
Miguel Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning with a booming single just below the home run line on the Chase Field porch in left-center.
Hunter had a two-run homer in the second, his fifth in the last 15 games. Jackson added a solo shot. Both were off starter Vidal Nuno (0-2).
Verlander (9-8) allowed three runs and six hits in 6⅔ innings to win for the third time in his last four starts. He struck out five to pass Hal Newhouser on the Tigers’ all-time strikeout list (1,772).
Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th save in 25 opportunities.
Gerardo Parra homered for Arizona.
Nuno, in his third start since coming to Arizona in the trade that sent Brandon McCarthy to the New York Yankees, went 4⅔ innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.
After Parra’s solo homer tied it in the sixth, the Tigers bounced back in the seventh.
Jackson led off with a double. With one out, Cabrera lofted one to deep left center, off the fence on the overhang. Jackson scored but Cabrera was out on a close play trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Crew chief Fieldin Culbreth called for a video review of Cabrera’s hit to make sure it wasn’t a home run.
The two homers put Detroit up 3-0.
Arizona, coming off a three-game home sweep of the Chicago Cubs, scored two in the fourth.
The Diamondbacks blew a chance to tie it in the seventh. Ender Inciarte singled with one out and was picked off by catcher Bryan Holaday. The next two batters, David Peralta and Aaron Hill, reached on a walk and a single.
Gibson challenged the pickoff call on Inciarte but lost.
Gibson has no bad blood with Detroit
PHOENIX — Gibson said he has to treat the Tigers like any other club his team is facing, but he did admit to having a “soft spot” in his heart for his former team.
Gibson played for the Tigers in 1979-87 and again in 1993-95. He also was a television analyst for the Tigers and later a bench coach under former Tigers teammate Alan Trammell, who is his bench coach with the Diamondbacks.
“They’re a good club, we know that,” Gibson said of the Tigers before Monday’s loss. “They’re in first place. They’re loaded. I follow the Tigers because I was a Tiger fan growing up as a young boy. Still have season tickets there since about 1980. When we’re not in the playoffs and they are, I go to the games.”
Gibson said he also follows first-year Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. But Gibson added he’d still like “to beat their butt” like any other team.
Asked if his relationship with the Tigers is damaged at all, Gibson said the biggest issue he had with the Tigers was when former owner Tom Monaghan called him “a disgrace” to the uniform.
“Other than that, I’ve had no conflicts,” he said.
- Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt doubled to boost his major league-leading total to 38. Miguel Cabrera leads the AL with 36.
- Arizona had won a season-high four consecutive home games.