Detroit at Tampa Bay

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Detroit (73-61) «000001003480
Tampa Bay (72-62)010000002360

Everett's tie-breaking hit in ninth beats Rays, lifts Verlander, Tigers

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Justin Verlander got his 16th win of the season -- barely.

Verlander tied New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia for the AL lead in victories, Adam Everett hit a tiebreaking RBI single during a three-run ninth and the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (16-7) allowed one run and four hits over eight innings. He has won three consecutive starts.

"I'm not worried about 16, I'm worried about one, and that's today," Verlander said. "And even if I didn't get the win today, if we came away with the 'W' I'd be more than happy."

The Tigers expanded their lead to six games over Minnesota, which lost 5-2 to Cleveland.

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Detroit closer Fernando Rodney allowed two runs in the bottom half of the ninth before nailing down his 32nd save.

Carlos Pena hit an RBI single with one out and Evan Longoria drove in another run with a double before pinch-hitter Willy Aybar grounded out with runners on second and third.

During the postgame celebration on the field, Rodney threw the game ball toward the stands and it ended up in the press box. No one was hit by the ball, which Rodney said he was throwing to the fans.

"Feeling the moment," Rodney said. "A little celebration."

Detroit manager Jim Leyland said he didn't see the throw, but planned to check into it. Rodney, after making 35 pitches, will not pitch on Saturday.

"I think he was a little more sluggish than normal," Leyland said. "I'm going to give him a day off for sure. He deserves it."

Tampa Bay rookie Jeff Niemann, who has a team-best 12 wins, gave up one run and six hits in 7 2/3 innings. The Rays, six games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race, have lost six of nine.

"Verlander and Niemann were the key," Leyland said. "They were both brilliant."

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon feels Niemann should be the AL Rookie of the Year.

"I don't know who is better right now," Maddon said. "He's been fantastic."

Pinch hitter Ryan Raburn opened the ninth by drawing a walk from J.P. Howell (7-5) and went to second one out later when pinch hitter Marcus Thames walked. Everett then gave the Tigers a 2-1 advantage when he lined a single to left on the first pitch.

Curtis Granderson had a run-scoring single off Randy Choate and Placido Polanco hit a sacrifice fly against Russ Springer later in the ninth to make it 4-1.

"You want to quit and scream, but there's tomorrow, too," said Howell, who is 1-3 with a 6.42 ERA in his last 14 outings. "There's another opportunity tomorrow for you to improve."

Longoria put the Rays ahead 1-0 on an RBI double in the second.

Niemann retired 10 in a row before Miguel Cabrera tied it at 1 with a towering solo homer to left.

Tigers catcher Gerald Laird helped keep the speedy Rays in check, throwing out two runners attempting to steal second. Tampa Bay leads the majors with 169 stolen bases this season.

"He's got to be the best thrower in the league right now," Leyland said.

Notes

  • Detroit has decided to have Verlander stay on his normal schedule and start Wednesday's game at Kansas City. With an off day Monday, there was an option to give him an extra day of rest.
  • Rays CF B.J. Upton (sprained left ankle) could return early next week.
  • Leyland plans to have RHP Jeremy Bonderman (blood clot) make his first appearance in a low-leverage situation.
  • Jackson, traded by Tampa Bay to Detroit during the offseason, is scheduled to start Sunday's game against the Rays.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Justin Verlander notches his 16th win to tie for the AL lead with CC Sabathia.  (AP)
Justin Verlander notches his 16th win to tie for the AL lead with CC Sabathia. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

M. Cabrera
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Tampa Bay

C. Pena
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF5011030 .256
Placido Polanco, 2B4011000 .273
Clete Thomas, RF4000132 .246
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4121002 .339
Aubrey Huff, DH3020000 .245
   a- Magglio Ordonez, PH-DH1000011 .279
Carlos Guillen, LF2010100 .249
   b- Ryan Raburn, PH-LF0100100 .272
Brandon Inge, 3B4000015 .232
Gerald Laird, C3000012 .220
   c- Marcus Thames, PH0000100 .243
    Wilkin Ramirez, PR0100000 .286
    Alex Avila, C0000000 .308
Adam Everett, SS4111002 .241
Totals3448449  
a-struck out for Huff in the 8th
b-walked for Guillen in the 9th
c-walked for Laird in the 9th
Batting
2B - Aubrey Huff 2 (28, Niemann, Niemann)
HR - Miguel Cabrera (28, Niemann)
SF - Placido Polanco (4)
RBI - Curtis Granderson (61), Placido Polanco (61), Miguel Cabrera (84), Adam Everett (39)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Cabrera (26)
Team LOB - 8
Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander (W,16-7) 8411170 3.29
Fernando Rodney (S,32) 1222220 3.41
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 125-84, Fernando Rodney 35-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 7-8, Fernando Rodney 1-0
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 27, Fernando Rodney 7
Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS2100220 .335
Carl Crawford, LF3100101 .306
Ben Zobrist, 2B4000022 .283
Carlos Pena, 1B4131000 .228
Pat Burrell, DH4000014 .238
Evan Longoria, 3B4022011 .277
Gabe Gross, RF3000021 .247
   a- Willy Aybar, PH1000002 .252
Dioner Navarro, C3000001 .225
Fernando Perez, CF3010010 .333
Totals3136339  
a-grounded out for Gross in the 9th
Batting
2B - Carlos Pena (25, Verlander), Evan Longoria 2 (40, Verlander, Rodney)
RBI - Carlos Pena (99), Evan Longoria 2 (96)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria (33)
CS - Jason Bartlett (6, 2nd base by Verlander/Laird), Fernando Perez (1, 2nd base by Verlander/Laird)
Team LOB - 4
Tampa Bay Rays
Jeff Niemann 7.2611261 3.67
J.P. Howell (L,7-5) 0.2133220 2.83
Randy Choate0100000 4.15
Russ Springer 0.2000010 3.54
IBB - Guillen by Jeff Niemann
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 115-76, J.P. Howell 21-10, Randy Choate 1-1, Russ Springer 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 5-12
Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 31, J.P. Howell 5, Randy Choate 1, Russ Springer 2
Game Information
Attendance - 18596
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Eric Cooper