Ryan Raburn’s sixth-inning home run was the difference-maker in the Detroit Tigers 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
Raburn’s two-run shot helped Justin Verlander (13-7) win for the first time in four starts. Verlander lasted six innings, allowing just one run on six hits and three walks while fanning seven to help Detroit salvage a win in the seven-game season series against Tampa Bay.
Matt Joyce went 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Rays, who were looking to record the first season sweep of an AL club in franchise history. Matt Garza (11-7), who no-hit the Tigers almost three weeks ago, is winless since, as he yielded three runs, seven hits and three walks in 5 2/3 frames.
After falling behind 1-0 in the second inning, Evan Longoria helped Tampa Bay tie it up in the sixth, leading off the inning with a triple into the right-center field gap. Joyce followed with a single to right for a 1-1 game.
Raburn broke the tie in the home sixth with his two-run blast, his fourth home run of the season.
Tigers closer Jose Valverde picked up his 22nd save of the season, his first since July 25, but not before he ran into some trouble in the ninth inning. B.J. Upton worked a leadoff walk and attempted to steal second. Catcher Gerald Laird sent the throw into center field, allowing Upton to reach third.
Jason Bartlett was retired on a shallow fly ball to right, and John Jaso followed with an RBI groundout to first. Dan Johnson’s fly out to right ended the game.
The Rays are off on Thursday and will be back in action Friday when they host the Baltimore Orioles in the first of a three game series at Tropicana Field.