ST. PETERSBURG (CBS) The Rays entered tonight’s game without a single win against the Detroit Tigers in three attempts this season, and Justin Verlander wasn’t about to let Tampa Bay take their first win against his Detroit ball club.
The Tigers won by a final score of 5-2 Monday night, which dropped the Rays to 69-57 on the season and eight games behind Boston in the AL Wild Card race.
Jeff Niemann (8-5) went head-to-head with Verlander the entire night, but Detroit’s 19 game winner had the upper hand in a pitching duel that featured two hard-throwing right handers.
Both pitchers gave up homers early in the game. Matt Joyce took Verlander deep in the first inning to put the Rays up 1-0. The very next inning Alex Avila hit a two-run homer off of Niemann to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Verlander found his comfort zone after giving up the home run in the first and went on to strike out eight and allowed only one run through seven innings. He got his club the win and leads the majors with 19 wins on the season.
Niemann had another great outing tonight, but the Rays’ bullpen worsened the damage in the eighth and ninth innings as Detroit scored three insurance runs to secure the win.
As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, B.J Upton was forced to leave the game in the eighth after injuring himself on an attempt at a fly ball in right-center field.
Lets hope the Rays can break the seal against the Tigers as they continue the four-game series tomorrow at 7:10 ET at Tropicana Field.