Justin Verlander pitched seven solid innings, Victor Martinez homered and the Detroit Tigers beat Cleveland 7-5 on Friday night to take a 3 1/2-game lead over the Indians atop the AL Central.
Martinez and Torii Hunter had three hits each for the Tigers in the opener of this three-game series. Detroit led 5-0 before Cleveland scored three runs in the fifth off Verlander.
That was all the Indians could manage against the Tigers' ace in losing their fifth straight game. Verlander (8-4) allowed three runs and seven hits on the night. He walked two and struck out six.
Detroit's Jose Valverde came on with a four-run lead in the ninth. He allowed solo homers to Jason Giambi and Drew Stubbs but held on. Nick Swisher grounded out with a man on second to end it.
Ubaldo Jimenez (4-4) allowed five runs - three earned - in three-plus innings.
Cleveland lost its ninth straight road game.
Detroit is trying for its third straight division title, and the Indians have emerged as the top early t...