Justin Verlander pitched only one inning of the Detroit Tigers' 11-6 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates because of soreness in his right shoulder.
Despite the short outing, Verlander (10-11) took the loss after giving up five runs — four earned — four hits and two walks.
"Just didn't feel great," the ace right-hander said. "Disappointing on a night that the team really needed me."
Verlander threw 40 pitches and bunted in the second inning before he was removed. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI in Detroit on Tuesday.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous," Verlander said. "I've never been through this before."
Verlander said there wasn't any sharp pain in his shoulder, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus took him out as a precautionary measure.
"The ball wasn't really coming out of his hand," Ausmus said. "So after watching him finish the inning I decided I didn't want to risk him getting seriously injured."
Ausmus was concerned about Verlander right from the beginning.
"I was actually immediately worried from the start of the game," Ausmus said. "Quite frankly, looking back, I almost wish I would have taken him out when I went out with (trainer) Kevin Rand."
After Verlander gave up an early lead, Travis Snider hit two home runs, and Starling Marte drove in three runs as the Pirates coasted to the victory.
The loss, coupled with Kansas City's 3-2 win over Oakland, dropped the Tigers a half-game behind the now first-place Royals in the AL Central Division.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases against Verlander with one out in the first, and Marte cleared them with a triple down the left field line. Snider drove Marte home when his grounder to first took an odd hop, and Victor Martinez couldn't glove it.
"I was very pleased with the way we were able to respond when they scratched a run for us in the first," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "We answered."
Snider knocked in two more in the eighth inning off Phil Coke with his eighth homer, a two-run opposite-field shot after the Pirates scored a run on Russell Martin's sacrifice fly.
Martin hit his sixth home run of the year in the sixth inning, and Ike Davis followed with his eighth.
Snider was 3 for 5 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Miguel Cabrera after Rajai Davis reached on infield hit, moved to second on a sacrifice and stole third.
Detroit scored three runs in the sixth to get within 8-4 and knock Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke out of the game.
Cabrera, Martinez and Hunter started the inning with consecutive hits, and Cabrera scored on Hunter's double. Alex Avila drove Martinez home with a single, and Hunter scored when Don Kelly hit into a fielder's choice.
Locke (4-3) was responsible for four runs, eight hits and four walks in five-plus innings.
Davis drove in a pair of runs with a double to right-center in the eighth.
Tigers: Detroit placed RHP Joakim Soria on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, retroactive to Sunday.
Pirates: Pittsburgh placed CF Andrew McCutchen on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken rib. The move is retroactive to Aug. 4. ... 2B Neil Walker (back) was out of the starting lineup for the sixth straight game. ... RHP Gerrit Cole returned to Pittsburgh after making his third rehab start Sunday. He has been on the DL since July 5 with a strained right lat. There is still no timetable for his return to action.
Tigers: LHP Robby Ray (1-1, 4.70 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo to start on Tuesday in Detroit's second of two games in Pittsburgh. In one start this season against Minnesota on May 11, Ray pitched six shutout innings.
Pirates: RHP Edinson Volquez (9-7, 3.70 ERA) starts for the Pirates after allowing one hit in seven shutout innings against Miami on Thursday. Volquez hasn't fared well against Detroit in two career starts, allowing eight runs in 9 2-3 innings.
In addition to Soria's placement on the disabled list, the Tigers optioned left-handed relievers Patrick McCoy and Blaine Hardy to Triple-A Toledo. Taking their places are RHP Justin Miller and LHP Ian Krol.
The Tigers also purchased the contract of RHP Kevin Whelan from Toledo and released LHP Casey Crosby. Detroit's relievers have compiled a 4.38 ERA this season, the fifth-worst in the majors.
RHP Rick Porcello's start has been pushed pack to Friday. Detroit will start RHP Buck Farmer on Wednesday, and RHP Max Scherzer is slated to start on Thursday.