- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 11, 2018

DETROIT (AP) - Justin Verlander drew several big cheers and pitched seven sharp innings in his return to Comerica Park while leading the Houston Astros over the Detroit Tigers 3-2 Monday night.

Verlander struck out 10 in his first game in Detroit since being traded to Houston in August 2017. The World Series champion Astros opened a three-game lead over Oakland atop the AL West.

Verlander (15-9) made his major league debut with Detroit in 2005 and ranks among the top 10 on several of the team’s career pitching lists.

The 35-year-old righty received a long standing ovation after a video tribute was played as he walked in from the bullpen, and another when he came out to warm up for the first inning. Both times, he tipped his cap and waved to the crowd.

Verlander allowed two runs on six hits and one walk, improving to 98-50 at Comerica Park. Max Scherzer is second in career wins at the stadium with 46, while Jordan Zimmermann leads current Tigers with 14.

The Tigers put two runners on in the seventh, but Verlander struck out JaCoby Jones and Jeimer Candelario to escape with a 3-2 lead. He received a third standing ovation after the inning, having thrown 104 pitches.

Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 16th save, including seven with Houston.

Francisco Liriano (4-10) allowed three unearned runs in six innings.


CHICAGO (AP) - Lorenzo Cain had four hits, Mike Moustakas scored on Carl Edwards Jr.’s wild pitch in the sixth inning and Milwaukee edged Chicago to pull within one game of the NL Central leaders.

Orlando Arcia and Jonathan Schoop each drove in a run as Milwaukee (83-62) won for the seventh time in eight games. It’s the closest the Brewers have been to the division lead since they trailed the Cubs by a game on Aug. 5.

Wade Miley (4-2) pitched five effective innings before Corbin Burnes, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress closed it out for wild card-leading Milwaukee. Hader struck out six straight batters and Jeffress got three outs for his 11th save.

Back home after a soggy weekend in Washington, Chicago (83-60) lost for the fifth time in seven games.

Jon Lester (15-6) exited in the sixth with lower back tightness. He allowed eight hits in his first loss since Aug. 11.


DENVER (AP) - Trevor Story hit a three-run homer during a six-run fifth inning, German Marquez struck out 11 over seven masterful innings and Colorado routed Arizona to increase its lead in the NL West.

The Rockies moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost at Cincinnati. The Diamondbacks now trail by 3 1/2 games. This is the latest the Rockies have been alone atop the division since 1995.

David Dahl put the game out of reach with his first career grand slam in a seven-run seventh. Arizona has allowed 10 or more runs four times this season - three of those to Colorado.

Story provided the big blow with his 32nd homer on a fastball from Silvino Bracho after the reliever took over from starter Zack Godley (14-9).

Marquez (12-9) had his third straight double-digit strikeout performance. Charlie Blackmon, Tony Wolters and DJ LeMahieu each had three hits for Colorado, which bounced back after dropping two of three to the Dodgers last weekend.


CINCINNATI (AP) - Scooter Gennett had four hits and three RBIs, Joey Votto hit a two-run double on his 35th birthday and Cincinnati improved to 5-0 against Los Angeles this season.

Eugenio Suarez homered for the last-place Reds, and Jose Peraza scored three runs. That helped Cincinnati overcome Chris Taylor’s two-run homer and Yasmani Grandal’s solo shot.

The Dodgers dropped 1 1/2 games behind first-place Colorado in the NL West when the Rockies routed Arizona.

Jared Hughes (4-3) got Yasiel Puig to line into a bases-loaded double play to end the seventh after an 11-pitch at-bat and added a perfect eighth to get the win.

Gennett went 4 for 5 to boost his batting average to .320 with his sixth multihit game in his last nine appearances.

Alex Wood (8-7) was knocked around for seven runs, six earned, and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.


ST. LOUIS (AP) - Matt Adams hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to rally St. Louis past Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals, who overcame deficits of 4-0 and 6-4, moved two games ahead of the Dodgers in the race for the second NL wild card.

Josh Harrison, Colin Moran and Starling Marte homered for the Pirates, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.

Adams homered off Edgar Santana (2-3) to erase a 6-4 deficit. John Brebbia (2-3) picked up the win.

Carlos Martinez, a former starter, earned his third save in three chances. He gave up a run-scoring double to Josh Bell with two outs but got Francisco Cervelli to ground out to deep shortstop to end the game. The play was reviewed, but Cervelli was ruled out.

St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright, making his first start since May 13, gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings. He retired the last eight batters after giving up three runs in the third.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run homer off Brad Hand with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Tampa Bay beat Cleveland to set a team record with its 12th straight victory at home.

Cleveland ace Corey Kluber was chased in the second inning, but the Indians rallied before blowing a late lead. They started play with a magic number of five to clinch their third consecutive AL Central championship. Second-place Minnesota was at home against the New York Yankees.

Tommy Pham singled before Choi went deep against Hand (0-1).

Kluber lasted just 1 2/3 innings - matching his season low - and gave up four runs and five hits. The right-hander and Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell are tied for the most wins in the majors with 18.

Jake Bauers homered for the Rays, who moved with 7½ games of Oakland for the second AL wild card with 19 games left.

Jamie Schultz (2-0) worked a scoreless ninth to get the win.

Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller, reinstated from the disabled list after being out since Aug. 27 with a left shoulder injury, struck out two during a perfect sixth inning.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Gary Sanchez had three hits, including a mammoth home run, J.A. Happ tossed six shutout innings and New York extended its mastery of Minnesota.

The Yankees increased their lead over idle Oakland to three games for the first AL wild card.

New York has beaten Minnesota nine straight times, including last year’s wild-card game, outscoring the Twins 66-23. The Yankees are 20-4 in the last 24 meetings since July 25, 2015.

Happ (16-6) allowed six hits. Acquired from Toronto on July 26, the left-hander is 6-0 with a 2.70 ERA in eight starts for New York.

Kyle Gibson (7-13) allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. He was one batter from throwing six shutout innings before Sanchez sent a 460-foot homer into the third deck in left field.

Before that, Sanchez was 3 for 29 since coming off the disabled list Sept. 1.

New York’s first eight batters reached base in a six-run seventh. Miguel Andujar had a two-run double.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Sean Newcomb pitched six strong innings, Ozzie Albies sparked the offense with two extra-base hits and Atlanta defeated San Francisco.

The Braves moved five games ahead of Philadelphia atop the NL East with their fourth win in five games.

The Giants lost their ninth straight, matching their worst skid since 2006.

Newcomb (12-8) allowed a run and three hits. He struck out eight and walked none. A.J. Minter earned his 14th save.

Albies was 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI triple and two runs. Kurt Suzuki went 3 for 3.

Dereck Rodriguez (6-3) gave up two runs, one earned, in 6 1/3 innings.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Ronald Guzman homered, Joey Gallo drove in three runs and Mike Minor threw six solid innings to help Texas end a four-game losing streak with a win over Los Angeles.

Guzman hit a two-run homer in a four-run second against a wild Jaime Barria (10-9), who had thrown 12 consecutive scoreless innings.

Minor (12-7) continued his second-half success, allowing one run and eight hits as the Rangers stopped the Angels’ four-game winning streak.

Jose Leclerc pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th save.

Shohei Ohtani had two hits and an RBI for Los Angeles. Mike Trout made a couple of fantastic catches in center field.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - White Sox reliever Jeanmar Gomez threw away a bunt in the 10th inning, giving Kansas City a win over Chicago.

Brian Goodwin led off the Royals 10th with a double. Alcides Escobar bunted and Gomez (0-2) made a wild toss over third baseman Yolmer Sanchez, letting Goodwin score.

Jake Newberry (2-0) pitched one inning.

Whit Merrifield homered on the first pitch from White Sox starter Lucas Giolito. Ryan O’Hearn hit a solo homer in the sixth that made it 3-all. Adam Engel and Daniel Palka homered in the Chicago third against Jakob Junis.

Jose Abreu, activated from the disabled list before the game, had three hits for the White Sox.


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