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MLB

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Associated Press
Detroit center fielder Rajai Davis kicks the ball away on a hit by Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison who got to second on the play in the first inning.

Pirates cruise to victory over sliding Tigers

– Travis Snider hit two home runs, and Starling Marte drove in three runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates coasted to a 11-6 win against the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

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 Justin Verlander with one out in the first inning, 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.

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.

Verlander (10-11) left after one inning with right shoulder soreness. He gave up five runs – four earned – on four hits. He walked two and struck out three.

“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 today.

“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.”

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.

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