Verlander strong in return to Detroit

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 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.

Reds 10, Dodgers 6

CINCINNATI — Scooter Gennett had four hits and three RBIs, Joey Votto hit a two-run double on his birthday and Cincinnati improved to 5-0 against Los Angeles this season.

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.

Los Angeles had just taken two of three in a weekend series at Coors Field that left the Dodgers a half-game behind first-place Colorado in the NL West. The Rockies played later Monday against visiting Arizona.

Rays 6, Indians 5

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run homer off Brad Hand with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Tampa Bay beat Cleveland to set a team record with its 12th straight victory at home.

Cleveland ace Corey Kluber was chased in the second inning, but the Indians rallied before blowing a late lead. They started play with a magic number of five to clinch their third consecutive AL Central championship. Second-place Minnesota was at home against the New York Yankees.

Tommy Pham grounded a single to right field before Choi went deep against Hand (0-1).