PITTSBURGH – Justin Verlander pitched only one inning of the Detroit Tigers’ 11-6 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates because of soreness in his right shoulder.
Despite the short outing, Verlander (10-11) took the loss after giving up five runs — four earned — four hits and two walks.
“Just didn’t feel great,” the ace right-hander said. “Disappointing on a night that the team really needed me.”
Verlander threw 40 pitches and bunted in the second inning before he was removed. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI in Detroit on Tuesday.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous,” Verlander said. “I’ve never been through this before.”
Verlander said there wasn’t any sharp pain in his shoulder, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus took him out as a precautionary measure.
“The ball wasn’t really coming out of his hand,” Ausmus said. “So after watching him finish the inning I decided I didn’t want to risk him getting seriously injured.”
Ausmus was concerned about Verlander right from the beginning.
“I was actually immediately worried from the start of the game,” Ausmus said. “Quite frankly, looking back, I almost wish I would have taken him out when I went out with (trainer) Kevin Rand.”
After Verlander gave up an early lead, Travis Snider hit two home runs, and Starling Marte drove in three runs as the Pirates coasted to the victory.
The loss, coupled with Kansas City’s 3-2 win over Oakland, dropped the Tigers a half-game behind the now first-place Royals in the AL Central Division.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases against Verlander with one out in the first, and Marte cleared them with a triple down the left field line. Snider drove Marte home when his grounder to first took an odd hop, and Victor Martinez couldn”t glove it.
“I was very pleased with the way we were able to respond when they scratched a run for us in the first,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “We answered.”
Royals 3, Athletics 2
In Kansas City, the Royals won their eighth straight game and took over the AL Central lead when Yordano Ventura outdueled Sonny Gray.
The victory, coupled with a loss by Detroit in Pittsburgh, gave the long-suffering Royals a division lead at the latest point in a season since 2003.
Norichika Aoki entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh and scored, but didn’t register an at-bat.
Mariners 11, Blue Jays 1
In Seattle, Felix Hernandez allowed one run in seven strong innings and Robinson Cano helped provide him with a jolt of run support.
The Blue Jays’ Munenori Kawasaki was 0-for-4 in his first game against his former team.
Opening the most anticipated August series in Seattle since 2007, Hernandez (13-3) made his 16th straight start of at least seven innings while allowing two earned runs or less. Hernandez needed just 96 pitches to get through seven and his only mistake was Jose Bautista’s solo home run in the fourth.
Cano ignited a seven-run sixth with his 10th homer.
Rays 7, Rangers 0
In Arlington, Texas, Drew Smyly allowed three hits in his first win since the David Price trade, Matt Joyce had a two-run single, and the Rays beat the Rangers.
Smyly struck out nine in a career-high 7⅔ innings to beat the Rangers for the second time this season.
Twins 4, Astros 2
In Houston, Joe Mauer had two hits in his return from the disabled list, including a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning.
A pair of walks by Josh Fields left runners at first and second with two outs in the ninth when Mauer’s groundball single to left field scored Jordan Schafer. Brian Dozier also scored on the play.
Brian Duensing got the last two outs of the eighth inning for the win.
Chris Carter and Jose Altuve both had solo homers for Houston and Jake Marisnick had a career-high four hits.
Orioles 11, Yankees 3
In Baltimore, Chris Davis hit a two-run homer after replacing an injured Manny Machado, and the AL East-leading Orioles defeated New York to send the Yankees a season-high seven games out of first place.
After Davis put the Orioles ahead in the fifth inning, Nelson Cruz connected with a man on in the seventh and Jonathan Schoop added a three-run shot in the eighth to turn the game into a rout. Cruz now has 31 homers, tied for the major league lead with rookie Jose Abreu of the White Sox.