Led by a masterful pitching performance from Justin Verlander and the bat of Austin Jackson, the Detroit Tigers overpowered the Chicago White Sox 8-1 at Comerica park on Friday.
The Tigers maintain their 5.5 game lead in the American League Central over Cleveland, who edged Kansas City 5-4. Chicago falls to third in the division, one game behind Cleveland and 6.5 back of the front running Tigers.
“It’s always nice to win the first one, especially against an interdivisional team that’s trying to catch up to us,” Verlander said. “Hopefully, we come in here tomorrow and win another one.”
Jackson scored the first of three Tigers’ runs in the first inning as Detroit jumped to an early lead.
Jackson’s two-run home run and Jhonny Peralta’s three-run triple in the fifth inning added five runs to the Tigers lead for Verlander, who earned his ninth consecutive win and league leading 21st overall with a masterful performance.
Tyler Flowers ended Verlander’s shutout bid with a solo home run to lead off the eighth inning.
Verlander allowed seven hits and struck out six before leaving the game with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth.
Joaquin Benoit recorded the final two outs of the eighth holding Chicago at bay.
“It was kind of a neat night really,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Justin picked the guys up, and the guys picked Justin up, and that’s a nice combination.”
White Sox starter John Danks, who had won five of his six previous decisions, was charged with all eight Tigers runs allowing nine hits and two walks while striking out four.
Rangers 10, Red Sox 0
In Boston, Derek Holland allowed two hits in seven innings and got his usual strong support as Texas hit three homers against Boston.
The Rangers’ first homer came on a three-run shot by Ian Kinsler in the second. In the fifth, David Murphy hit a solo homer and Elvis Andrus added a two-run blast after a single by Craig Gentry.
The Rangers came in scoring 7.29 runs per game for Holland (13-5) — a major-league best for a pitcher — but he didn’t need much backing, holding Boston to a pair of singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez. Neither made it to second base as Ellsbury was caught stealing and Gonzalez was stranded when Kevin Youkilis struck out.
Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2
In New York, Ivan Nova won his 11th straight decision with some help from a rangy outfield as Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking single in the fifth inning to lift New York over Toronto.
Nova (15-4) was nearly unhittable for seven innings after giving up two runs with none out in the first and Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer in the third for New York, which returned early Friday from a successful trip to Boston.
New York returned early Friday from a successful trip to Boston.
Gardner, Andruw Jones and Curtis Granderson all made impressive plays to help the Yankees improve to 12-0 in Nova’s last 12 starts.
In other AL play, it was:
‧ Twins 13, Angels 5
‧ Orioles 3, Rays 2
‧ Indians 5, Royals 4
John Mayberry drove in three runs with a homer and a sacrifice fly on Friday as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Florida Marlins 5-3 to climb 42 games above .500 for the first time in the franchise’s 129-year history.
The Phillies, whose record of 88-46 is the best in the majors, were 41 games over in 1976. They reached the new pinnacle with their fifth consecutive win.