DETROIT (AP) Cody Anderson threw seven innings of two-hit ball to outpitch Justin Verlander, and the Cleveland Indians beat the skidding Detroit Tigers 4-0 on Sunday.
Francisco Lindor snapped a scoreless tie with a two-run triple in the sixth, helping the Indians win for the eighth time in 11 games. They began the day six games behind Texas for the second AL wild card, though there are three teams between them.
Detroit (62-74) has dropped 13 of 16 and matched a season worst at 12 games below .500.
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Anderson (3-3) entered with a 14.04 ERA in two starts against AL Central opposition, but barely broke a sweat in his first shot at the Tigers. He walked two and struck out three.
Anderson hadn't had a scoreless outing since his major league debut on June 21, when he tossed 7 2-3 innings against Tampa Bay.
Verlander (4-6) allowed three runs and seven hits with two walks in seven innings, but was done in yet again by a lack of run support. The Tigers are averaging only 2.8 runs per nine innings with Verlander on the mound, as opposed to 4.46 runs with anyone else pitching.
Neither team had a hit until Dixon Machado's bunt single off Anderson in the fourth. Verlander, who took a no-hit bid into the ninth two starts ago, lost this one with two outs in the fifth when Abraham Almonte tripled over Anthony Gose's head in center field.
The Tigers had runners on first and second with no outs in the fourth and fifth, but Miguel Cabrera and James McCann hit into rally-killing double plays.
Cleveland put together a rally in the sixth when Michael Martinez singled and Jason Kipnis hit a grounder up the middle that Andrew Romine tried to turn into a 4-6-3 double play. Martinez beat the flip to second, and after a short review, Kipnis was ruled to have beaten the relay to first, putting two on with none out.
Lindor tried to get a bunt down, but on a 1-1 count, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus went to the mound to talk to Verlander.
His next pitch was a fastball over the middle of the plate, and Lindor drove a two-run triple into the right-center gap. He scored on Carlos Santana's one-out single, making it 3-0, but Verlander got out of the inning without further damage.
That was more than enough for Anderson and the Cleveland bullpen. Detroit managed one baserunner in the last four innings.
Martinez drove in the final run with an RBI single in the ninth.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (shoulder) didn't report any day-after soreness from his bullpen session on Saturday, so he remains scheduled to start Tuesday in Chicago. Carrasco, out since Aug. 22, will replace Corey Kluber (hamstring) in the rotation.
Tigers: 2B Ian Kinsler, who had played in 133 of Detroit's first 135 games, was scheduled for a day off Sunday. Kinsler, though, pinch-hit for Romine in the eighth. . J.D. Martinez, who was hit on the left triceps by a pitch Saturday, was in the lineup after reporting no ill effects.
Indians: Cleveland opens a three-game series in Chicago with a holiday afternoon game against the White Sox. Trevor Bauer (10-11, 4.56 ERA) is scheduled to face White Sox ace Chris Sale (12-7, 3.29), who has a 3.86 ERA in 23 games against the Indians - his highest vs. any AL Central opponent.
Tigers: Detroit remains home for a Labor Day afternoon game against Tampa Bay in the start of a three-game series. Randy Wolf (0-3, 6.11) will pitch against Rays LHP Drew Smyly (2-2, 3.11), sent from Detroit to Tampa Bay last season as part of the David Price trade. Smyly will be facing his former teammates for the first time.