Rays Rally In 9th To Beat Verlander, Tigers 4-2
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NOAH TRISTER,AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Ben Zobrist hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth inning, and the Tampa Bay Rays scored four runs in their final at-bat to beat Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers 4-2 on Wednesday.
The Tigers (4-1) lost for the first time this season.
Verlander (0-1) took a one-hitter into the ninth and hadn’t allowed a run all season, but he gave up one on a wild pitch. Evan Longoria then tied the game at 2 with a single to left on Verlander’s 104th and final pitch.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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. … Detroit’s Andy Dirks doubled in the fifth and scored on the balk by Shields.
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