Justin Verlander became the season’s first 20-game winner, pitching through six innings in the Detroit Tigers’ 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Verlander (20-5) gave up four runs and eight hits with six strikeouts and three walks to become the first pitcher to win 20 games before the end of August since Arizona’s Curt Schilling in 2002.
Luke Hughes had a home run, double and three RBIs for Minnesota, while Jason Repko hit his first homer of the season.
Verlander exited in the bottom of the seventh after the Tigers scored twice in the top of the inning to break a 4-4 tie and ensure their ace was slated to record the victory.
The six innings equaled a season low for Verlander, a 20-game winner for the first time — and the first time by a Tiger since Bill Gullickson in 1991.
“It feels great,” Verlander told reporters. “There’s been times I’ve picked these guys up, there’s been times they’ve picked me up. To get to 20 [wins] at this point in the season, obviously you can’t do it all on your own. You’ve got to have a lot of help.”
Alex Avila and Miguel Cabrera hit solo homers for the Tigers in the second inning off of Carl Pavano (6-11) and Cabrera added an RBI single in the seventh for a 6-4 lead.
Red Sox 9, Athletics 3, 1st game
Red Sox 4, Athletics 0, 2nd game
In Boston, David Ortiz hit a two-run homer as four Boston pitchers combined on a three-hitter to complete a sweep of a rain-delayed day-night doubleheader against Oakland.
In the opener, Jason Varitek hit a two-run homer and Jon Lester allowed three hits in six innings. That game was delayed — _ 45 minutes after the sixth inning and 2 hours, 15 minutes after the seventh.
There was a one-hour delay in the top of the fifth in the nightcap. The first game had been moved up to room for the second game that was rescheduled to avoid Hurricane Irene’s effects.
Ortiz went 5 for 8, driving in four runs in the doubleheader.
The Red Sox, 8-3 in their past 11 games, increased their AL East lead to two games over New York.
In the second gamet, the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second against Graham Godfrey (1-2) when Ortiz hit his 27th homer.
Rays 6, Blue Jays 5
In Toronto, B.J. Upton barely missed a home run in the sixth inning, then hit a three-run shot in the seventh as Tampa Bay edged Toronto.
Upton’s 18th homer put the Rays ahead 6-2, as Tampa Bay held on despite two late home runs by Toronto.
Upton led off the sixth with a long drive to left that landed just a few feet foul. Upton reached when Shawn Camp (1-3) hit him with the next pitch on the leg.
There was no doubt about Upton’s drive off Jesse Litsch the next inning. It landed in the second deck in left and scored Sam Fuld and Evan Longoria after both walked.
Rodriguez and Johnson both had three hits for the Rays.
Jeff Niemann (9-5) won for the fifth time in six starts. He allowed three runs and five hits in 6-1/3 innings.
In other AL games, it was:
‧ Indians 8, Royals 7
‧ White Sox 3, Mariners 0
‧ Angels 8, Rangers 4
AP, LOS ANGELES
Matt Kemp hit a game-ending home run in the 11th inning for his 100th RBI of the season to giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a 7-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
The Dodgers overcame two two-run homers by Troy Tulowitzki to win their fifth straight.
James Loney tied the game in the ninth on a homer off the first pitch from Colorado’s Rafael Betancourt, who recorded his fourth blown save in seven attempts. Kemp drove an 0-2 pitch from Jason Hammel (7-13) into the right-field pavilion for his 31st homer of the season, ending a game that lasted 4 hours, 39 minutes.