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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Valverde leaves Tuesday's win with lower back tightness

Jose Valverde was potentially one pitch away from closing out Tuesday's matinee win over the Chicago White Sox when he had to be pulled from the game with an injury.

FOX Sports Detroit reported after the game that it was "lower back tightness," according to manager Jim Leyland, who'd gone to the mound with two outs in the ninth, along with head trainer Kevin Rand, almost immediately signaling to the bullpen for a replacement. Octavio Dotel inherited a three-balls, one-strike count against the White Sox's Alex Rios, and walked him on his first pitch.

Alexei Ramirez shot a two-run double down the right-field line to close the margin to 10-8, but Dotel got Dayan Viciedo to fly out to the warning track in right — stranding the potential game-tying runs on base — to seal the save.

Before his back stiffened up, Valverde retired the first two batters of the ninth inning, pushing his streak to nine straight retired, dating back to Don Kelly's save-sealing catch in Seattle. Valverde had worked 1-2-3 ninth innings in his last two appearances, and appeared headed for that same feat when Paul Konerko started the rally with a two-out single. AJ Pierzynski would double off the wall in dead center field, then Valverde would throw four pitches to Rios before exiting.

Joaquin Benoit, the likely closer should Valverde be unavailable, had already been used in the game, pitching a scoreless eighth inning.


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