The American League MVP of 2012 might have just knocked out the American League MVP of 2011.
The division leading Chicago White Sox had already won yesterday behind their Cy Young candidate Chris Sale. The Tigers would have to win to stay one game behind and stay within striking distance before the Detroit/Chicago showdown this week.
He would face the surging Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who were clawing their way back into the playoff hunt after a devastating August.
The tone of the game was set by Mike Trout, the rookie sensation who is also the MVP front runner. In fact he bookended the game with his brilliance.
Trout hit a 1-1 pitch out for a leadoff home run against Verlander. It knocked the Cy Young front runner off of his game and by the time the inning was over, he was down 4-0.
The Tigers never really recovered as C. J. Wilson did not let up an earned run in seven-and-one-third innings. And to cap the game off, Trout took Prince Fielder's home run away with two outs in the ninth inning.
He won with his bat and his glove. His WAR improved to 9.9. Nobody has scored more runs, stolen more bases, hit for a higher average or compiled a larger OPS+ in the American League than Trout.
And Verlander's numbers, while still elite, no longer make him the prohibitive favorite to repeat as the Cy Young winner.
The Tigers fell two back in the Central. The Angels have crept to within two games of the Wild Card. And the Angels are contending thanks in part to the man who should be the MVP this year and the performance of the MVP of last year.