CLEVELAND -- Alex Avila has caught hundreds of Justin Verlander's innings. Then came Thursday's eighth.
"I told him it was probably one of the most impressive things I've ever seen," Avila said. "That was one of the more dominating innings I've seen from a pitcher ever."
Shin-Soo Choo led off. Verlander struck him out swinging on a 1-2 fastball at 98 m.p.h. Then Jason Kipnis saw three fastballs and swung at and missed all of them. The scoreboard reported they traveled -- in order -- 98, 100 and 101 m.p.h.
Up stepped Asdrubal Cabrera. On 0-2, he took a fastball inside clocked at 102 m.p.h. Then Cabrera took a curve for Strike 3.
"I knew it was probably my last inning," Verlander said. He described his approach: "Here it is -- hit it -- this is everything I've got."
Cleveland right-hander Justin Masterson, who beat Verlander on Thursday, gave this description afterward of Verlander's repertoire of fastball, slider, curve and change-up: "Four Hall of Fame pitches."
In getting swept by Cleveland, the Tigers went 3-for-28 with runners in scoring position. "We'll figure out sooner or later how to get them across the plate," Avila said.
Avila was asked whether players look at the standings at this time of year.
"Not really," he said. "After the All-Star break, you start looking. At the same time, you don't want to dig yourself too deep of a hole. But it's a long season. If you dwell on every single game and at-bat, it will drive you crazy, and you'll dig yourself a deeper hole. The good thing is we have the pitching staff that will continue to pitch well until we figure out how to get those runs across."