- Associated Press - Sunday, September 18, 2011

OAKLAND, CALIF. (AP) - Justin Verlander won his 12th straight start, pitching three-hit ball over eight innings to become the first pitcher in nine years to reach 24 wins and lead the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers over the Oakland Athletics 3-0 Sunday.

Verlander (24-5) extended his scoreless streak to 17 innings, becoming the first pitcher to win a dozen starts in a row since Minnesota’s Johan Santana in 2004, according to STATS LLC.

Verlander has the most wins in a major league season since Arizona’s Randy Johnson in 2002. With another victory, he would become the winningest pitcher in a season since Oakland’s Bob Welch went 27-6 in 1990.

Austin Jackson homered leading off the sixth, the first hit off Guillermo Moscoso (8-9).

Rays 8, Red Sox 5

BOSTON (AP) _ David Price took a line drive off his chest but stuck around to pitch four solid innings, and Tampa Bay capitalized on wild knuckleballs from Tim Wakefield (7-7) to cut Boston’s AL wild-card lead to two games.

Boston lost for 11th time in 14 games, including defeats in six of seven against the Rays. Tampa Bay trailed Boston by nine games on Sept. 3.

Price took Mike Aviles’ liner off his right shoulder Price pitched the fourth before leaving for what the team said was precautionary reasons.

Matt Joyce had three hits and three RBIs, Jake McGee (3-1) pitched 2 2-3 innings, and Joel Peralta got three outs for his fifth save.

Wakefield threw one wild pitch and Jarrod Saltalamacchia muffed four of his knucklers for passed balls, miscues that contributed to three runs.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 0

TORONTO (AP) _ Mariano Rivera remained at 601 saves as Adam Lind homered twice off Freddy Garcia (11-8) to back Brandon Morrow (10-11).

Morrow allowed four hits in eight innings, struck out eight and walked one. Frank Francisco pitched around an Eduardo Nunez double in the ninth for his 16th save.

New York remained 4 1-2 games ahead of second-place Boston in the AL East.

Rangers 3, Mariners 0

SEATTLE (AP) _ Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer in the fourth off former teammate Felix Hernandez (14-13) as Texas remained 4 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.

Matt Harrison (13-9) won his third straight start, striking out a career-high nine in 6 2-3 innings, and Neftali Feliz got three outs for his 28th save.

Angels 11, Orioles 2

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Erick Aybar went 4 for 4, homered twice and tied a franchise record set by Tim Salmon in 1998 by scoring five runs as the Angels averted a three-game sweep. Vernon Wells also connected for the Angels.

Pitching on three days’ rest, Jered Weaver (18-7) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.

Vladimir Guerrero homered, tripled and had two RBIs for the Orioles, whose four-game winning streak ended. Alfredo Simon (4-9) gave up six runs and eight hits, including three home runs, in five innings.

Indians 6, Twins 5

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Shelley Duncan homered to start a six-run seventh and added a two-run double in the inning as Cleveland completed a three-game sweep and extended Minnesota’s losing streak to eight.

Trailing 3-0, the Indians scored five unearned runs in the seventh with help from an error by first baseman Chris Parmalee. Duncan led off with a homer and also doubled in a pair of runs in the inning.

Minnesota’s Jason Repko left after being hit in the head by a pitch from Justin Masterson (12-10) in the sixth. Repko walked off the field with assistance and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth for his 34th save. Just one of four runs off Carl Pavano (8-13) was earned.

White Sox 10, Royals 5

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A.J. Pierzynski homered twice among his four hits and drove in four runs as Chicago stopped a seven-game losing streak and ended Kansas City’s seven-game winning streak, the Royals’ longest since September 2008.

Paul Konerko and Pierzynski had back-to-back homers leading off the seventh against rookie Louis Coleman.

John Danks (7-12 allowed four runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings. Bruce Chen (11-8) gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.

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