NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Justin Verlander equaled his longest outing of the season, pitching eight solid innings to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
A day after the AL Central-leading Tigers added star left-hander David Price to their rotation, Verlander (10-9) showed signs that he might be rounding into form. He allowed two runs and eight hits, striking out five without a walk. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 4.66.
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 27 chances, retiring Charlie Blackmon on a flyout with two on to end it.
Franklin Morales (5-6) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out two.
The Rockies have lost five of six. Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez left the game after aggravating his sprained right ankle making a sliding catch in the fifth.
Detroit scored three runs in the fifth, with Rajai Davis’ two-run single through a drawn-in infield breaking a 0-0 tie. Ian Kinsler added an RBI double to make it 3-0.
Verlander has won 14 straight regular-season decisions against National League teams. He took a shutout into the seventh inning Friday before allowing an RBI single to Wilin Rosario. With men on first and third, Josh Rutledge hit a grounder to third, and Brandon Barnes scored on a close play at the plate.
Verlander then struck out the next two hitters to end the threat, and Victor Martinez gave Detroit an insurance run with an RBI single in the seventh.
Barnes struck out swinging on Verlander’s 101st and final pitch. Verlander had thrown eight innings only one other time this season, on April 6 against Baltimore.
Rockies: Gonzalez slid into the wall while making a terrific catch on Martinez’s foul flyball, then limped off the field. He was replaced by Barnes.
Right-hander Jordan Lyles (broken left hand) is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday, and manager Walt Weiss says he could be slotted in to pitch at some point next week.
Tigers: Detroit activated left-handed reliever Patrick McCoy from the DL, but he did not pitch. He was sidelined since July 6 because of a pulled right hamstring.
Rockies: Left-hander Tyler Matzek (2-5) will start Saturday night against Detroit. He pitched seven scoreless innings in his most recent start, July 26 against Pittsburgh. He also made a relief appearance Tuesday.
Tigers: Rick Porcello (12-5) tries for his 13th win, which would match his total for all of 2013.
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