DETROIT — Justin Verlander made it seem like old times at Comerica Park, drawing several big cheers and pitching seven sharp innings in his return to his former home while leading the Houston Astros over the Detroit Tigers 3-2 Monday night.

Verlander struck out 10 in his first game in Detroit since being traded to Houston in August 2017. The defending World Series champion Astros opened a three-game lead over Oakland atop the AL West.

Verlander (15-9) made his major league debut with Detroit in 2005 and ranks among the top 10 on several of the team’s career pitching lists.

The 35-year-old righty received a lengthy standing ovation after a video tribute was played as he walked in from the bullpen, and another when he came out to warm up for the first inning. Both times, he tipped his cap and waved to the crowd.

Verlander allowed two runs on six hits and one walk, improving to 98-50 at Comerica Park. Max Scherzer is second in career wins at the stadium with 46, while Jordan Zimmermann leads current Tigers with 14.

The Tigers put two runners on in the seventh, but Verlander struck out JaCoby Jones and Jeimer Candelario to escape with a 3-2 lead. He received a third standing ovation after the inning, having thrown 104 pitches.

Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 16th save, including seven with Houston.

Francisco Liriano (4-10) allowed three unearned runs on four hits and four walks in six innings. He struck out seven in his longest outing since July 4.


REDS 10, DODGERS 6: Scooter Gennett had four hits and three RBI, Joey Votto hit a two-run double on his birthday and Cincinnati improved to 5-0 against the Dodgers with a win at home.

Eugenio Suarez added a solo home run for the last-place Reds, and Jose Peraza had two hits and scored three runs. That helped Cincinnati overcome Chris Taylor’s two-run homer and Yasmani Grandal’s solo shot.

Gennett, second in the NL in hitting going into the game, went 4 for 5 to boost his batting average to .320. Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich began the night leading the league at .316.


YANKEES: Outfielder Aaron Judge took on-field batting practice Monday for the first time since breaking his right wrist July 26.

The five-round session included home runs to all fields by the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year.

“It went really well. Another big step for him to get out on the field,” said Manager Aaron Boone, who called the performance “putting on a show.”

Assuming Judge feels good Tuesday, Boone said he anticipates Judge will take more swings, potentially during group batting practice, but Boone could not put a timetable on Judge’s return.

CUBS: Closer Brandon Morrow and outfielder Jason Heyward took small strides toward rejoining the team before the end of the regular season.

“I’m fine,” Morrow said Monday, one day after throwing a light bullpen session and before he went to play catch. “So far, so good. I didn’t wake up feeling terrible. It’s good.”

Heyward, who hasn’t played since suffering a strained right hamstring on Aug. 30, ran outside for the first time under the supervision of the Cubs medical staff. He has continued to play catch and take batting practice.

ANGELS: First baseman Albert Pujols will undergo surgery to remove a bone spur in his throwing elbow Wednesday, just two weeks after having season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

The recovery time for both procedures is four to six weeks, which should give the 38-year-old slugger enough time to complete his normal offseason workout regimen in preparation for 2019.

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