Right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander hasn’t received much run support lately, but the Tigers scored seven runs for him in one of his final starts of the year. Behind left fielder Tyler Collins’ three-run blast in the fifth, the Tigers beat the Texas Rangers, 7-4.
The loss is the Rangers third in a row, and it drops them to just two games in front of the Houston Astros, who were winning, 2-1, in the sixth inning when this went to print. If the Astros hold on, the Rangers will have just a 1.5 game lead in the division with six games to play.
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Shortstop Dixon Machado led off the fifth with a single and then he went to second on center fielder Anthony Gose’s double. Collins hit his homer in the next at-bat to break a 1-1 tie. The Tigers added two more runs in the frame on catcher James McCann’s single. Just as Machado and Gose did, designated hitter Victor Martinez singled and then third baseman Nick Castellanos double him to third. McCann’s single scored Martinez and Castellanos as the Tigers took a 6-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Verlander was his dominant self. He allowed just one run on six hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two. The only run he allowed was a solo bomb to former Tiger Prince Fielder.
The bullpen, however, made things interesting as they usually do. Blaine Hardy gave up a run in the seventh and Ian Krol only recorded one out and yielded two runs in the ninth. Neftali Feliz came out of the bullpen to get the last two outs and earn his 10th save of the season.
Detroit will have two more chances to make Rangers fans nervous on Tuesday and Wednesday. Two more wins would make things very interesting for the Rangers this weekend, who have to play the third place Los Angeles Angels in a four-game series starting Thursday. The Angels are 2.5 games behind the Rangers and were tied in their Monday night game against the Oakland Athletics as this went to print.