Justin Verlander’s worst start with the Houston Astros might have been OK if not for Wilson Ramos.
Ramos drove in four runs in the first two innings against Verlander and the host Tampa Bay Rays went on to a 5-2 win over the Astros on Saturday.
“I wasn’t sharp, but also I didn’t have luck on my side,” Verlander said. “I made an adjustment during the third inning that I thought was good, but it was too little too late.”
Verlander (9-4) gave up the most runs (five) and hits (nine) of any of his 23 starts since his trade to Houston late last summer. He struck out eight in a season-low five innings after coming in with a major league-leading 1.82 ERA — though it was 4.34 in six June starts. The Astros have lost his last three starts.
Matt Duffy finished with three hits, including two in the first two innings, to help the Rays win for the seventh time in eight games to move to .500 (41-41) for the first time since June 1.
Blue Jays 4, Tigers 3: Justin Smoak led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run as host Toronto handed Detroit its 11th straight loss.
This is the Tigers’ longest losing streak since an 11-game skid in August 2003, the year they lost 119 times. The Tigers last lost 12 straight in 1996. Three of the 11 defeats, including the past two, have been one-run losses. The Tigers are 13-13 in one-run decisions.
Seunghwan Oh (4-2) worked one inning for the win. Randal Grichuk also homered for the Blue Jays, who have won 10 of 11 at home.
Angels 6, Orioles 2: Albert Pujols’ RBI double highlighted a five-run eighth inning, and visiting Los Angeles extended Baltimore’s latest losing streak to seven games.
Gametime temperature was 93, and the humidity was unforgiving. Sweating profusely, starter Tyler Skaggs asked out after using 79 pitches to get through five innings.
“It’s definitely one of the hottest games I’ve thrown in a long time,” Skaggs said. “I was just tired. I told [manager Mike Scioscia] I rarely come out and say this, but I’m exhausted.”
Playing their 3,000th game under Scioscia, the Angels trailed 2-1 before using three hits, three walks and a hit batter to take control against the free-falling Orioles.
A’s 7, Indians 2: Journeyman Edwin Jackson pitched neatly into the seventh inning as host Oakland got its season-high sixth straight victory.
Jackson (1-0) signed a minor league contract with the A’s on June 6 and is now with his record-tying 13th major league team. He gave up only two hits in 6 2⁄3 innings. He struck out six and walked none in his second start for Oakland.
Matt Olson, Dustin Fowler and Josh Phegley homered to help the A’s win for the 12th time in 14 games. They’ve won seven straight against Cleveland and nine of their last 10 against the Indians in Oakland.
Jackson has won 10 consecutive decisions over the Indians, a streak dating to 2008. His string against the Indians is the longest since Charlie Hough beat them 13 straight times from 1984-88.
Cubs 14, Twins 9: Jason Heyward had four of his team’s 20 hits, Ben Zobrist had three RBIs and host Chicago had a pair of five-run innings in sweltering conditions. Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario, Bobby Wilson and Max Kepler all left early because of heat illness.
There was a short break in the sixth after Wilson drew a walk. A couple of cups of water were brought out for him to sip and douse himself to cool off. Wilson eventually scored and was replaced at catcher after the inning ended with the score tied at 9.
Reds 12, Brewers 3: Michael Lorenzen hit the second grand slam by a Reds pitcher in a week — and his third homer in his last three at-bats — as Cincinnati ended a seven-game losing streak against Milwaukee.
Lorenzen’s pinch-hit grand slam off Jacob Barnes in the seventh inning completed an eight-run rally, Cincinnati’s biggest of the season. Lorenzen’s fifth career homer drew a curtain call from the crowd of 24,640.
Tyler Mahle struck out a career-high 12 batters in 5 2⁄3 innings, three shy of the Reds’ rookie record. David Hernandez (3-0) pitched the top of the seventh.