DETROIT -- The night after Tigers starter Alfredo Simon dominated the Rangers with a one-hitter, Colby Lewis returned the favor, tossing seven shutout innings as Texas held on for a 2-0 victory on Friday night at Comerica Park.
Bolstered by three double plays turned behind him, Lewis scattered six hits and only one walk to earn his 14th win of the season, matching a career high and moving him into a three-way tie for most in the American League. He got all the offense he needed from recent acquisition Will Venable, who tallied his first hit and RBI with his new club on a double in the second inning. Designated hitter Prince Fielder added a sacrifice fly in the third after Delino DeShields reached on a bunt single and advanced to third on a throwing error from Detroit starter Justin Verlander.
"We capitalized on our scoring opportunities," said Rangers manager Jeff Banister. "Terrific game by Colby Lewis and some really nice defense. I would say that was a pitching and defense night for us."
Verlander retired 13 straight after DeShields' single, and the righty also lasted seven innings as he improved his ERA to 1.67 over his last six outings. However, despite surrendering two earned runs or fewer in eight of 12 starts this year, Verlander has just one win to show for it.
"I do feel better. I've been throwing the ball better than at any point last year," Verlander said. "Obviously I'm pleased with the results, with all the work that I've put in. But it comes down to winning."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Night of firsts: In the second inning, Venable recorded his first hit and RBI since being traded from the Padres with a run-scoring double to center field that plated Elvis Andrus. Fielder's sacrifice fly in the third marked the designated hitter's first RBI against Detroit since being dealt to Texas after the 2013 season. Fielder also singled to lead off the ninth inning. More >
Two for one: The Rangers turned a pair of double plays in the late innings to preserve their lead and Lewis' lengthy start. In the sixth, Victor Martinez lined into the shift in shallow right field, and Rougned Odor fired to second base to pick off Miguel Cabrera. J.D. Martinez led off the seventh with a single, but Nick Castellanos followed with a sharp grounder to shortstop Elvis Andrus for another twin killing.
"[Lewis] was able to squelch any of the run-scoring opportunities," Banister said. "He got some really nice defensive help, also."
Tough-luck loss for Verlander: Two plays cost Verlander in his hard-luck loss. The first was an 0-2 count that went full on Venable in the second inning after Verlander tried to get the call on back-to-back pitches -- first on the outside corner, then inside. Plate umpire Brian Knight ruled both off the plate, extending the at-bat for Venable to hit the full-count offering. An inning later, Verlander threw over to first four times on DeShields, the last one sailing to right field to put DeShields in position for Fielder's sacrifice fly.
A woman sitting behind the Tigers' dugout was hit by a sharp foul ball off the bat of Anthony Gose in the bottom of the eighth inning, prompting a delay of approximately seven minutes as she was attended to by paramedics. Detroit players assisted medics by tossing towels into the stands. The woman was eventually transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital for further evaluation, and the Tigers said she remained conscious while EMT's tended to her.
"The ballgame got put into perspective for us," Banister said. More >
The Tigers looked to have scored a run in the fourth inning when Cabrera came home from second base on a single to left field, but Banister immediately challenged the play. A one-minute, 51-second review showed catcher Bobby Wilson had applied the tag before Cabrera's foot touched the plate, and the call was overturned.
"That's a game-changer for us," Banister said. "That's a different ballgame if he scores there."
Cabrera was involved in another challenge in the sixth inning when he appeared to have been doubled off second base following a Victor Martinez line drive into the shift. Andrus struggled to find the bag following a relay from Odor, prompting Tigers manager Brad Ausmus to ask for a review, but the initial call that Cabrera was out stood after 4 minutes and 57 seconds. Ausmus was ejected for arguing following the ruling.
"I didn't argue anything," Ausmus said. "I wasn't going to argue whether he was out or safe. My only question was: Did they call him out on the initial touch of the bag, or did they call him out when [Andrus] went back to touch the bag? To me, it's premature."
BY THE NUMBERS
Tigers great Alan Trammell filled in on Ausmus' coaching staff at first base for the second time this season, as third-base coach Dave Clark attended his daughter's wedding. Unlike last time, however, Trammell wore number 3, his old number from his playing days. "We felt since we were at home, it was the right thing to do," a Tigers official said. Ian Kinsler, who adopted the number when he came over from Texas two years ago, supposedly advocated for Trammell wearing it, though Kinsler couldn't change numbers himself. The result was a rare situation in which a player and a coach wore the same number in a game.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers:Yovani Gallardo, who has allowed at least three earned runs in five of his last six starts, takes the hill for Texas on Saturday at 6:08 p.m. CT. Though this is the righty's ninth year in the Majors, J.D. Martinez is the only Tiger with more than five career plate appearances against him.
Tigers: Randy Wolf will make his first Major League appearance since last June when he takes the mound Saturday in a 7:08 p.m. ET start. The Tigers acquired Wolf in a Minor League trade with the Blue Jays on Thursday after placing Daniel Norris and Anibal Sanchez on the disabled list.