DETROIT- Justin Verlander pitched seven solid innings, Victor Martinez homered and the Detroit Tigers beat Cleveland 7-5 on Friday night to take a 31/2-game lead over the Indians atop the AL Central.
Martinez and Torii Hunter had three hits each for the Tigers in the opener of this three-game series. Detroit led 5-0 before Cleveland scored three runs in the fifth off Verlander.
That was all the Indians could manage against the Tigers’ ace. Verlander (8-4) allowed three runs and seven hits on the night. He walked two and struck out six.
Detroit’s Jose Valverde came on with a four-run lead in the ninth. He allowed solo homers to Jason Giambi and Drew Stubbs but held on.
Ubaldo Jimenez (4-4) allowed five runs — three earned — in three-plus innings.
BLUE JAYS 6, RANGERS 1: Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run double, Neil Wagner earned his first major league win and host Toronto won for the ninth time in 13 home games.
Melky Cabrera homered, scored twice and drove in two runs for the Blue Jays.
Texas batters struck out 13 times against five Blue Jays pitchers as the slumping Rangers lost for the seventh time in 11 games. Making his second start of the season, Blue Jays right-hander Esmil Rogers allowed one run and three hits in four innings.
Aaron Loup struck out four of the five batters he faced, Wagner (1-0) pitched 11/3 innings, Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Steve Delabar fanned two in the ninth.
Rangers rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-5) lost for the fourth time in his past five decisions.
OAKLAND 4, WHITE SOX 3: Josh Donaldson hit his first career grand slam, Josh Reddick made a homer-saving catch in the ninth inning, and Oakland rallied from a three-run deficit to win at Chicago.
Donaldson’s ninth home run of the season came in the sixth inning and helped Oakland right-hander Jarrod Parker (5-6) earn his fourth win in five decisions.
Reddick made a leaping catch to take away a home run from Chicago’s Conor Gillaspie with one out in the ninth to preserve the win.
Chicago’s Chris Sale (5-4) hadn’t given up more than two earned runs since April 11.
ROYALS 4, ASTROS 2: Billy Butler drove in Eric Hosmer with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and host Kansas City won its third straight.
RAYS 2, ORIOLES 1: Chris Archer pitched seven strong innings and Desmond Jennings hit a two-run homer to lead host Tampa Bay over Baltimore.
Archer (1-1) limited the Orioles to Manny Machado’s third-inning RBI single and Ryan Flaherty’s fifth-inning double in his second start of the season.
CARDINALS 9, REDS 2: Adam Wainwright pitched seven innings for his ninth win, and every Cardinals starter had a hit in a victory against host Cincinnati that gave St. Louis a four-game lead in the NL Central, its largest of the season.
Wainwright (9-3) gave up two runs and seven hits as the Cardinals improved the major leagues’ best record to 40-21.
BREWERS 5, PHILLIES 4: Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI single with one out in the ninth inning, and host Milwaukee ended Philadelphia’s five-game winning streak.