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Justin Verlander Tries To Lead Tigers To 2nd Straight Win

(Sports Network) - Justin Verlander takes aim at win No. 15 this evening when the Detroit Tigers continue their four-game set at the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Verlander won for the second time in three starts on Sunday against Cleveland, holding the Indians to a run and seven hits in eight innings. He also struck out eight and improved to 14-8 on the season to go along with a 3.65 earned run average.

"If we're going to make a run at this thing, all of us need to throw well," Verlander said. "We (starting pitchers) need to give us a chance to win night in and night out. It was bigger for the team, not as much for me personally."

Verlander beat the Jays the last time he faced them, but has not fared well against them, going just 1-2 in four starts with an 8.22 ERA.

The Tigers got back to .500 in the opener of this set on Thursday, as Max Scherzer sparkled over eight innings and Jhonny Peralta blasted a three-run homer during a six-run fourth, helping Detroit to a 7-1 win.

Gerald Laird added a two-run shot off Toronto starter Ricky Romero during the big inning as the Tigers won for the sixth time in seven games. Peralta added a fourth RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning.

Scherzer (10-9) allowed six hits, walked one and fanned eight batters to win his third consecutive start.

"Right now for me it's about going out there and executing pitches, throwing strike one and getting ahead of hitters," Scherzer said. "Tonight I thought I did a good job of that and the team came through."

Jose Bautista clubbed his major league-leading 41st homer of the year, connecting off Scherzer in the seventh, but Toronto lost for the sixth time in nine contests.

Romero (10-8) was charged with four hits and six runs -- three earned -- over 5 2/3 frames. It was the southpaw's first loss in his last six starts, as he tied a season-high with five walks.

"Ricky had one really bad inning out there that certainly cost us the game," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "Of course, we lost as a team tonight because we did not play good defense and certainly did not hit the ball well."

Toronto will hand the ball tonight to righty Shaun Marcum, who is 11-7 with a 3.70 ERA. Marcum, though, has lost three of his last four starts and absorbed the loss on Sunday in Boston, as he allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings.

Marcum has faced the Tigers six times (three starts) and is 2-1 against them with a 4.71 ERA.

Toronto has split its four matchups with the Tigers this season after taking five of the eight matchups between the teams a year ago.