CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Detroit ace Justin Verlander picked up his 100th career win by pitching the Tigers to a 4-3 win over division rivals Cleveland on Thursday.
Verlander's Major League-leading 17th win of the season gave Detroit a three-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central and halted Cleveland's run of 13 consecutive home wins over their rivals.
Cleveland had won the opening two games of the series.
"It was a great series," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We came in trying to shorten up the distance (in the standings) and we did. The goal was to sweep them, but if you can't sweep them, two out of three isn't bad."
Verlander allowed three runs on three hits, walking three and striking out 10 over seven innings on the way to his milestone 100th victory.
"It's exciting to get there, but in the big scheme of things it doesn't mean all that much," Verlander said. "It's not like 100 wins was ever a goal. There's other things going on here with this team.
"Obviously, this win was special because of the other circumstances surrounding it."
Detroit scored in the first inning, aided by a throwing error that allowed Austin Jackson to reach base safely, and stretched the lead to 4-0 in the second.
Carlos Santana got the Indians on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the second, while a pair of walks issued by Verlander in the third proved costly as Asdrubal Cabrera drove both runners in with a double to trim the Tigers' lead to 4-3.
However, Verlander snuffed out the threat of an Indians comeback before giving way to Joaquin Benoit, who pitched a perfect eighth inning. Jose Valverde then pitched the ninth for his 33rd save of the season.
Fausto Carmona took the loss for Cleveland, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out six.
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Greg Stutchbury and Peter Rutherford)