CLEVELAND - Justin Verlander's only mistake may have been trying to chest bump Prince Fielder.
"I'm not a little guy," Verlander joked of his encounter with the extra-large Fielder. "But I've seen him take a couple of guys out like it was football."
Verlander survived, and the Tigers didn't lose any ground in the AL Central.
Verlander pitched seven shutout innings, getting huge defensive plays from Fielder and Miguel Cabrera to snuff Cleveland threats, and Detroit stayed within one game of first-place Chicago with a 4-0 win over the downward spiraling Indians on Friday night.
Coming through the way he almost always does, Verlander (14-8) allowed six hits and delivered another dominant performance. But if it wasn't for diving stops by Fielder and Cabrera, big men best known for their powerful bats, the right-hander could have been in trouble.
"Game-saving plays," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Everybody's going to talk about defense, but those guys made terrific plays on the corners."