Justin Verlander, meet Cy Young.
|Verlander: First to 19|
Verlander became the first pitcher to notch 19 wins this season, as the Tigers downed Tampa Bay, 5-2. After giving up a leadoff home run to Matt Joyce in the bottom of the first inning, it was lights out from then on, with Verlander allowing just two more hits, three walks and no runs over seven full innings, striking out eight Tampa batters.
The numbers the detroit ace has put up thus far have him well ahead of the rest of the field. Verlander's ERA of 2.28 is second only to LA's Jered Weaver at 2.10. Verlander leads the baseball universe with 212 strikeouts. The next closest in the AL is Seattle's Felix Hernandez with 185 and his 19 wins are two better than C.C. Sabathia's 17. By comparison, no pitcher in the NL has more than 15 wins.
Detroit's triumph over the Rays was their fourth straight win, while Cleveland has lost four straight - three of them to the Tigers - and fallen into a second place tie with the White Sox in the AL Central, 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers.
Verlander has won his last seven starts and is 19-5 on the season.
|Gonzalez: 22 HRs|
In Colorado's 9-5 win over Houston, Gonzalez collected two hits in five at-bats - a double and his 22nd home run - to energize the Rockies as the season slowly turns toward the final month of the regular season.
Since returning from a short stint on the DL, Gonzalez has hit seven home runs and driven in 23 RBI over a 16-game stretch. He's hit safely in ten straight games and has driven in at least one run in each of his last seven.
The Rockies, notable for making late-season runs, won its third straight while Arizona, in first place in the NL West, lost their sixth straight. The Rockies are 8 1/2 games back, but, for Gonzalez and his Colorado teammates, the season is just beginning to get interesting.