DETROIT - Justin Verlander shut down the White Sox after the third inning, and the Detroit Tigers backed their ace with timely hitting in a 4-2 victory over Chicago on Friday night in the opener of a big three-game series.
Detroit inched closer to the top of the AL Central. The Tigers trail the first-place White Sox by a half-game. Detroit was six back after a loss to the Chicago Cubs on June 12.
Verlander (11-5) allowed four hits in eight innings, including a two-run homer in the third by Alejandro De Aza. He struck out six and walked two. Jose Valverde finished for his 18th save.
Jake Peavy (7-7) struck out the first five batters he faced and seven overall, but Detroit scored three runs in the third.
BLUE JAYS 6, RED SOX 1
BOSTON (AP) — Aaron Laffey pitched seven shutout innings and Colby Rasmus drove in two runs, lifting the Toronto Blue Jays over the Boston Red Sox.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Toronto, and was just its sixth in its last 15 games.
Boston, which entered the game leading the majors in runs, had won four of five.
Laffey (2-1) scattered eight singles and worked out of trouble in the third and seventh innings. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter.
Josh Beckett (5-8) was plagued again by a rough opening inning and took the loss. He gave up five runs — four earned — and seven hits, striking out seven and walking three.
ORIOLES 10, INDIANS 2
CLEVELAND (AP) — Jim Thome hit his 610th career homer to move into seventh place on the career list and the Baltimore Orioles pounded out a victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Thome passed Sammy Sosa on the career list with a towering 418-foot shot off Derek Lowe (8-8) to open the fourth inning.
Ryan Flaherty had a three-run homer and Mark Reynolds doubled home two runs in a six-run third for Baltimore, which won its third straight.
Miguel Gonzalez (2-1) gave up seven hits over 6 2-3 innings in his third career start. The right-hander struck out five and is 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA on the road.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Jack Hannahan homered for Cleveland, which has lost six of its last nine.
RAYS 4, MARINERS 3, 14 INNINGS
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Ben Zobrist snapped a 14th-inning tie with an RBI double and B.J. Upton homered and drove in two runs to lead the Tampa Bay Rays over the Seattle Mariners.
Carlos Pena singled off Tom Wilhelmsen with one out in the 14th, then slid into home plate just ahead of catcher John Jaso's tag after Zobrist doubled down the right field line to end the 4 hour, 46-minute marathon.
Jake McGee (3-2) pitched two-thirds of an inning to escape a jam in the top of the 14th and got the win. The run off Wilhelmsen (3-2) ended the reliever's streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings over 20 appearances.
TWINS 2, ROYALS 1, 11 INNINGS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Joe Mauer went 3 for 4 and scored the winning run in the 11th inning to lead the Minnesota Twins past the Kansas City Royals.
Mauer, a career .359 hitter at Kauffman Stadium, led off the 11th with a double off Jonathan Broxton (1-2) and he scored on Josh Willingham's groundball single to right.
Casey Fien (1-0) worked two perfect innings to pick up his first major-league victory. Glen Perkins worked around Alcides Escobar's leadoff double in the bottom of the inning to pick up his fifth save in eight opportunities.