Verlander shaky but Tigers survive
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | May 15,2014
BALTIMORE — Rajai Davis homered, and Detroit overcame a rare shaky performance by Justin Verlander to complete a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 7-5 victory Wednesday.
The Tigers have won 12 of their last 15 games, including eight in a row on the road. Baltimore has lost four straight.
Verlander (5-2) allowed a season-high five runs on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks in six innings. He still improved to 7-0 in eight outings at Camden Yards. But it was the first time in 15 games a Detroit starter allowed more than three runs.
Davis hit his third home run and had two RBIs for the Tigers.
Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz had two hits, including his 11th home run. Adam Jones went 3 for 5 with an RBI and extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Staked to a 6-0 lead, Verlander was cruising until the fifth, when he allowed five runs with two outs. He gave up consecutive RBI singles to Jones and Chris Davis before Cruz hit a three-run homer to left that cut the deficit to 6-5.
Davis gave Detroit some breathing room with his solo shot in the sixth. Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th save. He hasn’t allowed a run in six straight appearances.
Kevin Gausman (0-1) was making his first start for the Orioles since June 13, 2013, and lasted just four innings.
He allowed five runs on six hits with two strikeouts, two walks and a wild pitch.
Detroit opened a 2-0 lead in the third on a two-out, two-RBI single by Miguel Cabrera. He is batting .391 with 53 RBIs in 51 career games against Baltimore.
The Tigers extended the lead to 5-0 in the fourth with some aggressive base running and timely hitting. After a double steal, Bryan Holiday had an RBI single. Danny Worth followed with a drag bunt up the first base line for another run, and then Davis hit a long sacrifice fly to center.
Verlander threw behind Cruz in the fourth, prompting home plate umpire John Tumpane to issue a warning to both benches. On Monday, Orioles starter Bud Norris plunked Torii Hunter in the rib cage after allowing a go-ahead, two-run homer to Ian Kinsler in the eighth, which caused both dugouts to empty, though no punches were thrown.
Don Kelly’s RBI single off Miguel Gonzalez in the fifth increased the lead to 6-0.
Dodgers 3, Phillies 0
PHILADELPHIA — Garrett Richards tossed a five-hitter over seven sharp innings and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 Wednesday to sweep a two-game interleague series.
Mike Trout went 1 for 4 with a triple, walk and stolen base. The two-time All-Star finished his first homecoming series 2 for 9. Trout grew up in nearby Millville, New Jersey. More than 4,000 people from the small town came to see him Tuesday night and there were plenty of fans wearing No. 27 Angels jerseys in the stands again.
Richards (4-0) struck out eight, had no walks and lowered his ERA to 2.42. Ernesto Frieri pitched a perfect eighth and Joe Smith finished off the five-hitter for his fifth save in seven tries.
Phillies starter A.J. Burnett (2-3) labored through five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. He struck out six and walked five.
The Angels have won five of six to move a season-high three games above .500 at 21-18. The Phillies have lost three straight and seven of nine to fall a season-worst four games under .500 at 17-21.
The Angels got a run in each of the first three innings. Richards did the rest.
Albert Pujols hit a two-out double in the first and scored on a single by Raul Ibanez. The former Phillies All-Star heard familiar “Rauuuul” chants when he came to the plate. Ibanez helped the Phillies win the NL pennant in 2009 and was a fan favorite during three seasons in Philadelphia from 2009-11.
Efren Navarro hit an RBI single with two outs in the second to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
Erick Aybar ripped an RBI double to right-center in the third to make it 3-0. But Burnett escaped more trouble with the bases loaded and no outs. He struck out Grant Green and retired Luis Jimenez on a third-to-first double play.
Richards pitched out of his only jam in the sixth after Chase Utley’s second double of the game put runners at second and third with one out. Richards then struck out Ryan Howard and retired Marlon Byrd on a soft liner.
Trout led off the seventh with a triple off reliever Mike Adams. He dove headfirst into third base and got up to cheers. Adams left him there, though. He fanned Pujols and Ibanez, walked Aybar and retired Hank Conger on a pop-up.
The Phillies are 6-11 at home. They’ve scored two runs or less at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park five times in 17 games. They’re 1-8 in interleague play.
Royals 3, Rockies 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Much-maligned Mike Moustakas hit a three-run double in the second inning, and Jason Vargas and the Kansas City bullpen made the meager offense work in a 3-2 victory Wednesday over the Colorado Rockies for a two-game sweep.
Vargas (4-1) did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and did not allow a run until Drew Stubbs belted a two-run homer to left in the seventh that made things interesting.
Louis Coleman got the Royals out of the inning without any more damage, and Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect eighth before Greg Holland survived a shaky ninth for his 10th save.
After giving up a one-out single to Carlos Gonzalez and walking Nolan Arenado, Holland got Justin Morneau to hit a grounder to second. The ball was fielded cleanly and Kansas City got the runner there, but Morneau barely beat the throw to first base to keep the game going.
Holland promptly struck out Stubbs to leave the tying run on third base.
Jhoulys Chacin (1-1) allowed the three runs that Moustakas drove in but otherwise pitched well for Colorado. He allowed seven hits and a walk over six gritty innings.
The Rockies came into the two-game series swinging the best bats in the majors, but they were silenced by some stingy pitching. James Shields was their foil in a 5-1 Royals victory in Tuesday night’s opener, combining with the bullpen on a 12-strikeout performance.
Vargas was just as tough, striking out a season-high eight in 6 2-3 innings.
One of those strikeouts proved to be especially important: Troy Tulowitzki was left looking at a called third strike in the fourth inning.
The leading hitter in the major leagues argued with plate umpire Dan Bellino over the location, which appeared down and in, and continued their one-sided conversation when he had reached the dugout. Bellino responded by ejecting him.
D.J. LeMahieu took his spot in the lineup.
And when the Rockies had runners on the corners in the sixth, it was LeMahieu rather than Tulowitzki at the plate. He struck out to end the inning.
The Royals had won once in 18 games when scoring three runs or fewer this season. A big reason for their anemic offense had been Moustakas, who entered hitting .147 and who had been the subject of much speculation regarding his future in the big leagues.
Royals manager Ned Yost gave the former first-round pick a vote of confidence this week, though, and Moustakas responded with his bases-clearing double in the second inning and another double in the fourth. He also hit a ball to the warning track in the sixth.
Nats 5, D-Backs 1
PHOENIX — Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore each lined two-run singles in the ninth inning to break open a close game, helping the Washington Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Wednesday.
Nationals starter Doug Fister locked into a pitcher’s duel with Brandon McCarthy before Washington poured it on in the ninth.
Washington loaded the bases against Brad Ziegler (0-1) and Desmond ended the right-hander’s scoreless streak at 18 1-3 innings with a single through the hole on the left side. Moore made it 5-1 with a broken-bat single up the middle.
Jayson Werth homered and Tyler Clippard (4-3) tossed one scoreless inning for Washington.
Aaron Hill homered and made several spectacular plays at second base for the Diamondbacks.
White Sox 4, A’s 2
OAKLAND, Calif. — Jose Abreu hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to help the Chicago White Sox snap a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
Gordon Beckham homered on the first pitch of the game for the White Sox, who rallied against Oakland’s bullpen to end a seven-game losing streak at the Coliseum.
John Jaso and Josh Donaldson hit solo homers off Andre Rienzo for the Athletics, who were in line for a season-best seventh straight victory before the bullpen meltdown in the eighth cost Tommy Milone a chance at a win.
Beckham and Conor Gillaspie started the rally with one-out singles against Fernando Abad (0-1), and Abreu greeted Luke Gregerson with a no-doubt drive to left field for his 15th home run of the season.
Abreu, a rookie slugger from Cuba, is the fourth player in major league history to hit 15 homers in his first 42 games, joining Wally Berger, Kevin Maas and Wally Joyner.
Ronald Belisario (2-3) got four outs for the win and Matt Lindstrom pitched the ninth for his sixth save in nine chances.