Verlander, Collins lead Tigers past slumping Rangers 7-4
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Thirteen days after the Texas Rangers roared past the Houston Astros to grab first place in the AL West, they find themselves trying to fend off a counterattack in their bid to claim their first division title since 2011.
Justin Verlander allowed one run in six innings, and Tyler Collins' three-run home run sparked a five-run fifth as the Detroit Tigers beat Texas 7-4 on Monday night, handing the Rangers their third straight loss.
It's Texas' longest losing streak since mid-August. Monday's action left the Rangers with a lead of 1 1/2 games over the Astros, who beat the Mariners. Texas led by 4 1/2 games last Friday.
''Worry doesn't do anything,'' said Rangers DH Prince Fielder, who accounted for all four RBIs and was the only Ranger with multiple hits - a single, double and his 23rd home run of the season.
''It just makes everything seem bigger than it is.''
Verlander (5-8) limited the Rangers to the one run on Fielder's fourth-inning homer and six hits, walking two while striking out five. He was the second marquee starter to beat Texas in two days following Houston's Dallas Keuchel on Sunday.
''When you face the caliber of pitchers that we faced the last couple days, they make it tough,'' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Collins, who graduated from Justin Northwest High School about 45 minutes from Globe Life Park, pulled his fourth homer of the season down the right field line to break a 1-1 tie.
Collins said he got tickets for 20-25 friends and relatives. He said they sat ''in the only loud section when the opposing team hits a home run.''
Colby Lewis (17-9) allowed six runs on 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since June 5.
''They went out there and did their job when they needed to,'' Lewis said of the Tigers, who are trying to avoid finishing last in the AL Central.
After Fielder's homer, the Rangers loaded the bases with none out in the fourth. Verlander got Elvis Andrus to fly out to shallow right, Rougned Odor to strike out swinging on three pitches and Chris Gimenez to look at a called third strike on a 3-2 fastball at 96 mph.
''It was tremendous by Verdy to get out of that and for us to come back and tack some runs on,'' Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. ''It was kind of a momentum killer for the opponent.''
Neftali Feliz earned his fourth save with Detroit and 10th overall this season. Feliz was Texas' closer during the pennant winning years of 2010-11. The Rangers released him in July, and this was his first appearance at Globe Life Park as an opponent.
Two Rangers who have battled recent injuries returned to play. OF Leonys Martin, out with an injured hand, entered in the seventh inning for his first Rangers appearance since Aug. 3. C Robinson Chirinos, fighting a shoulder injury, entered in the eighth inning for his first action since Sept. 9.
Tigers: DH Victor Martinez experienced soreness in his left quad running from first to third in the fifth inning and was replaced in the sixth. Ausmus said it's unlikely that Martinez will play Tuesday night.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (left middle finger) threw a bullpen session and will make his scheduled start Thursday at home against the Los Angeles Angels.
Tigers LHP Daniel Norris (1-1), acquired from Toronto in July in the David Price trade, pitched five perfect innings against the Chicago White Sox in his previous start, replaced after 63 pitches. The Tigers are 5-1 in his starts.
Texas LHP Cole Hamels (11-8) threw only 87 pitches in six innings last Thursday in the Rangers' 8-1 win at Oakland. The Rangers have won each of his last eight starts.