DETROIT — Ryan Raburn hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning and the Detroit Tigers held on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 Wednesday, avoiding a series sweep.
Justin Verlander (13-7) gave up one run and six hits while striking out seven over six innings. Ryan Perry pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and Jose Valverde allowed a run before earning his 22nd save in 23 chances.
Matt Garza (11-7) gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He is winless in three starts since his no-hitter July 26 against Detroit.
Miguel Cabrera hit a leadoff double off Garza in the second inning and scored on Brandon Inge's single. Matt Joyce's single in the sixth made it 1-all after Evan Longoria led off with a triple.
The Tigers ended up needing their two-run cushion.
After Valverde got the final out of the eighth inning, he let B.J. Upton walk to lead off the ninth. Upton stole a base, advanced on an error and scored on John Jaso's grounder. Tampa Bay's comeback hopes ended when Dan Johnson hit a flyout to end the game, giving the Tigers just their seventh win since the All-Star break a month ago.
Tampa Bay started the three-game series trailing AL East-leading New York by 2 1/2 games and made up some ground by winning the first two games at Detroit while the Yankees dropped two straight.
Garza retired the side in order in the first inning, looking just as dominant as he was in his last start against Detroit, then allowed the Tigers to get a pair of hits in each of the next two innings.
Detroit could've had a bigger lead if it took advantage of more opportunities to score, such as the two chances Jhonny Peralta had with the bases loaded — in the third and fifth innings — only to waste them with lineouts to infielders.
The Rays plan to start James Shields, Andy Sonnanstine and Jeremy Hellickson in their next three games against Baltimore, making David Price's next start Monday against Texas. … After an off day, Detroit will travel to play the Chicago White Sox and Yankees.
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