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The potential tying run was on third with one out in the fifth inning, and Justin Verlander was suddenly in pain. A routine throw back to the pitcher had gone astray, and the Detroit ace hurt his non-throwing shoulder lunging to stop it.
It looked like the kind of freakish bad break the Tigers could ill afford.
“With a guy on third and the ball coming back on the ground, I’ve got to try to stop it,” Verlander said. “So I went down to get it, and my body just wasn’t prepared for that. All my weight landed on my left arm, and just kind of jarred my shoulder a little bit. I felt it for a little bit and then it went away.”
Verlander was able to stay in the game, and not only did he pitch out of that jam, but he went eight innings to help Detroit beat the Kansas City Royals 6-2 on Monday night and remain one game behind the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.
The Tigers were swept in a doubleheader by Minnesota on Sunday but steadied themselves behind their top pitcher. Verlander (16-8) had little trouble with the Royals, who knocked him around for eight runs and 12 hits last month.
Verlander threw 114 pitches, 89 for strikes.
A day after the Nationals misplayed a pair of fly balls in the midday glare, Werth wound up with a two-out, two-run double when Brewers centre fielder Carlos Gomez lost a ball in the sun to spark a big fourth inning, and Washington beat Milwaukee to cut its magic number for winning the NL East to five.
WHITE SOX 5, INDIANS 4: Adam Dunn homered twice, including a clutch three-run shot in the eighth inning, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians to maintain their one-game lead in the AL Central.
Dunn drove an 0-2 pitch from Vinnie Pestano (3-3) over the wall in right-centre with runners on the corners and two out in the eighth, putting Chicago ahead 5-3. Kevin Youkilis kept the inning alive with an infield single before Dunn connected for his 41st homer of the season.
Yadier Molina added a solo shot as the Cardinals moved 3 ½ games in front of Milwaukee and Los Angeles for the second NL wild card.