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Verlander takes aim at win No. 24 in Oakland

Justin Verlander tries to become the first Tigers pitcher game series with the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum.

Verlander's latest masterpiece came on Tuesday in Chicago, as he scattered six hits over seven scoreless innings to run his record to 23-5, while lowering his earned run average to 2.36.

"There's positives and there's negatives," said Verlander. "The positives are there were no runs on the board; the negatives were I was just a hair off. However, it's probably the best I've felt in the last few starts. I really felt like I was getting back into that rhythm I've been trying to find for a while now."

The right-hander, who has completed six innings in every start this season, leads the majors in wins, innings (236) and strikeouts (238) and with a win today would become the first 24-game winner since Arizona's Randy Johnson went 24-5 in 2002. There hasn't been an American League hurler to get 24 victories since Oakland's Bob Welch won 27 in 1990.

Another victory today would also make Verlander the first Tiger to win 10 consecutive road starts since Denny McClain won 16 in a row from April 21- August 16, 1968.

Verlander, though, lost to Oakland back on April 16 when he allowed four runs (three earned) and eight hits in six frames. He is only 4-5 lifetime against them with a 3.00 ERA in 10 starts.

One night after clinching their first division title in 24 years, the Tigers were handled by Gio Gonzalez and found themselves on a the wrong end of a 5-3 decision.

Coco Crisp drove in two runs while Jemile Weeks had three hits and an RBI for the Athletics, who had lost three of four coming into the game. Gonzalez (14-12) gave up eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts in seven innings to win his second straight start.

"He really believes he can hit anybody," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin about Weeks. "He thinks he's going to get a hit every time he's up and he's a fighter so he does a lot of the time."

Don Kelly hit a two-run double while Jhonny Peralta drove in the other run for the Tigers, who fell to 13-3 in September. Rick Porcello (14-9) went seven innings and was tagged for three runs on nine hits to take the loss.

"I knew I had to start today regardless of what happened last night," said Porcello. "We still have games to win out here and we can't let up just because we won the division."

Heading to the hill for the A's today will be righty Guillermo Moscoso, who is 8-8 on the year with a 3.44 ERA. Moscoso did not earn a decision his last time out, but won his two previous assignments.

Moscoso lost his only other start to the Tigers, allowing seven runs (six earned) in just 4 2/3 innings back on July 19.

The A's have won five of their nine matchups with the Tigers this season.