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Published: Monday, 4/28/2008

Verlander struggles as Angels clip Tigers


DETROIT - Torii Hunter hit an RBI triple in the fourth inning and added a two-run double in a four-run sixth to help chase Justin Verlander, lifting the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-2 win over the Detroit Tigers last night.

Erick Aybar also drove in three runs, helping Anaheim win the three-game series.

The Angels have won 10 of 14, giving them a league-high 16 wins to keep pace with the Oakland Athletics in the AL West heading into their series that starts tonight in Anaheim.

Detroit had won nine of 13 after starting 2-10, but Verlander has not turned things around on the mound.

Verlander (1-4) gave up six runs, seven hits, and four walks in 52/3 innings, coming off his first win. He has allowed four runs or more in five of his six starts.

"This is a tough lineup for him," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "It's a tough lineup for any pitcher."

The Tigers were able to unleash their top lineup for the first time this season.

"It's nice - if they hit," Leyland said. "If they don't, it won't make a difference."

Detroit designated hitter Gary Sheffield continued to struggle, striking out in his last two at-bats to extend his hitless streak to 16.

"I still think he's one of the feared and respected hitters in the game," Leyland said.

Jared Weaver (2-3) allowed two runs, four hits, and four walks and struck out five over 61/3 innings to win for the first time in four starts.

He was replaced by Justin Speier with two outs in the seventh inning, then the next two batters drove in runs.

Edgar Renteria hit a sacrifice fly, and Ivan Rodriguez followed with an RBI double to make it 6-2. Verlander got off to a strong start, striking out two in the first inning and giving up only one hit in the first three-plus innings.

The Angels got to him in the fourth when Casey Kotchman hit a two-out single and scored on Hunter's triple to right, which perhaps should've been caught by Magglio Ordonez.

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