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Tampa Bay at Detroit

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Tampa Bay (4-1) «000000004450
Detroit (4-1)100010000260

Rays stun Verlander, Tigers with rally

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Last week, the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to win against Mariano Rivera.

On Wednesday, they beat Justin Verlander -- after the Detroit ace had looked untouchable for most of the afternoon.

"They are never going to give up," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Say what you want about this team, but they play nine hard innings."

Ben Zobrist hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the top of the ninth Wednesday, and Tampa Bay scored four runs in its final at-bat to beat Verlander and the Tigers 4-2. Verlander took a one-hitter into the ninth and hadn't allowed a run all season before the Rays broke through.

Verlander allowed a run on a wild pitch, then Evan Longoria tied the game at 2 with a single to left on Verlander's 104th and final pitch.

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The Tigers (4-1) lost for the first time this season.

"Once a couple guys got on, really the first time I've cranked it up like that -- and lost a little bit of my consistency that I'd had all day," Verlander said. "It's inexcusable. This loss rests solely on my shoulders today."

Daniel Schlereth came on and allowed a walk to load the bases, and Zobrist singled up the middle off Jose Valverde.

James Shields (1-0) allowed six hits and two runs in eight innings. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his third save.

"We know now what kind of team we have," Shields said. "We don't fear anyone, because if we keep fighting, we'll win more than our share."

For most of the day, Verlander was marvelous. He took a no-hitter into the fifth and had thrown just 81 pitches through eight.

But pinch-hitter Jeff Keppinger started the ninth with a single, and Desmond Jennings added another one an out later.

"When you go against Verlander, if you get the ball in between the giant white lines, you've accomplished something. You know he's going to beat you most of the time, but you just hope he makes a mistake and you can take advantage," Jennings said. "Kepp gave us a lot of confidence. We hadn't been doing anything before that, but he got a hit and we got things going from there."

Carlos Pena drew a walk -- with ball four skipping past catcher Alex Avila for a wild pitch that made it 2-1.

Verlander's final pitch to Longoria was clocked at 100 mph, but the star third baseman was able to hit a sharp single through the left side of the infield, and neither Detroit reliever was able to stop the rally until it was too late.

"I got away from what I'd been doing all day," Verlander said. "I'd been playing to those guys' aggressiveness, getting them out in front on off-speed stuff and then just got away from it there in the ninth for no reason."

Verlander allowed four runs and four hits in 8 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven. Verlander, last year's AL Cy Young and MVP winner, pitched eight scoreless innings against Boston last week. He didn't get the win that day either -- Valverde squandered the lead, although the Tigers did win that game.

Wednesday was Verlander's first regular-season loss since July 15.

"Kepp was the whole key to the inning. If Verlander gets him out, the game's over," Maddon said. "He shuts the door on you in that situation, but getting a hit there made the whole difference. I think, after that, Verlander started to tune up the velocity and he lost a bit of command in the process."

Shields, who finished third in last year's Cy Young voting, allowed an RBI single in the first to Miguel Cabrera. He also balked in a run in the fifth.

Shields bounced back from a shaky first start, when he allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings against the New York Yankees.

The Rays are 4-1 for the first time in franchise history. They beat Rivera in their season opener, part of a three-game sweep of the Yankees. The Tigers were trying to start 5-0 for the first time since 2006, when they won the American League pennant.

Notes

  • Detroit LHP Drew Smyly will make his major-league debut Thursday when he takes the mound against Tampa Bay RHP Jeff Niemann. The Tigers announced they will purchase Smyly's contract before his start and designate OF Clete Thomas for assignment.
  • Detroit's Andy Dirks doubled in the fifth and scored on the balk by Shields.
 
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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Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist soak in the improbable win that comes against Justin Verlander, who is stellar for the most part. (AP)
Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist soak in the improbable win that comes against Justin Verlander, who is stellar for the most part. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

B. Zobrist
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Tampa Bay

J. Shields
IP 8.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 1
K 5
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF4110010 .286
Carlos Pena, 1B3100110 .389
Evan Longoria, 3B4111010 .471
Matt Joyce, LF3000020 .250
   a- Elliot Johnson, PH-LF0000100 .000
Ben Zobrist, RF4022000 .278
Stephen Vogt, DH4000003 .000
Jose Lobaton, C2000201 .143
Sean Rodriguez, 2B2000010 .091
   b- Jeff Keppinger, PH-2B2110003 .333
Reid Brignac, SS3000011 .100
Totals3145347  
a-walked for Joyce in the 9th
b-singled for S. Rodriguez in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Evan Longoria (3), Ben Zobrist 2 (3)
CS - Jose Lobaton (1, 2nd base by Verlander/Avila)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Pena-Brignac, Lobaton-Brignac
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James Shields (W,1-0) 8622150 5.54
Fernando Rodney (S,3) 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 105-67, Fernando Rodney 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 9-8
Batters Faced - James Shields 29, Fernando Rodney 3
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF4110011 .500
Brennan Boesch, RF4000011 .174
    Clete Thomas, RF0000000 .000
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4021000 .471
Prince Fielder, 1B3000101 .333
Jhonny Peralta, SS4010001 .316
Alex Avila, C3000023 .333
Andy Dirks, DH3110001 .364
Ramon Santiago, 2B3000012 .000
Don Kelly, LF3010000 .333
Totals3126115  
Batting
2B - Andy Dirks (1, Shields)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera (9)
CS - Jhonny Peralta (1, 2nd base by Shields/Lobaton)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Avila-Santiago
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Verlander (L,0-1) 8.1444270 2.20
Daniel Schlereth0000100 4.50
Jose Valverde 0.2100100 6.75
WP - Justin Verlander (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 104-70, Daniel Schlereth 6-2, Jose Valverde 23-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 7-10, Jose Valverde 1-1
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 30, Daniel Schlereth 1, Jose Valverde 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28180
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 46
Umpires - Home - Cory Blaser, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - Ed Rapuano